Published: December 4, 2007
Heritage Auction Galleries’ auction of Vintage Comic Books and Original Comic Art on November 15‱6 realized $2,842,372 for 1,714 lots. It also saw two new world records set: one for the sale of a Charles Schulz original Peanuts strip and one for original cover art by underground comic artist Robert Crumb.
The original cover art for Crumb’s underground comic, Mr Natural #1, sold for $101,575, making it the first Crumb original †and the first underground original from any artist †to break the $100,000 barrier. Schultz’s baseball-themed Sunday page, dated April 10, 1955, realized $113,525.
“This particular piece is the first Peanuts original ever to sell in the six-figure range,” said Ed Jaster, vice president for Heritage. “The demand for Schulz’s Peanuts art has been steadily growing over the last several years. In the last six years, Heritage has sold 61 Peanuts dailies and 30 Peanuts Sundays.”
“Overall, this was a very strong auction for Schulz art,” said Jaster, “with a total of nine pieces †eight dailies and a Sunday †realizing a total of $279,630. Prices like these are a testament to the enduring popularity of this iconic artist.”
The auction also heavily spotlighted original art, and it was in this category the top lot was found. Carl Banks’ paintings have been very successful in part auctions, according to Jaster, and in this sale his “Return to Plain Awful” was the top lot of the weekend at $119,500. Additionally, “Disputed Claim,” another Donald Duck painting, sold for $89,625.
“Just as impressive was the $101,575 realized by Robert Crumb’s original art for the cover of the landmark Mr Natural #1,” Jaster said. “The leading artist of the underground comics movement, Crumb’s art has also been appreciating steadily over the last few years, and we expect interest in his work to continue to skyrocket.”
From Modern Age art, a page from The Killing Joke by Brian Bolland brought $31,070, and Alex Schomburg’s image of “Captain America, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner,” painted as the cover of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #10 in 1980, brought $38,837.
Jaster said that “comics also performed well, especially Golden Age keys, such as Flash Comics #1, which brought $33,460,” and Marvel Comics #1, the Larson pedigree (Timely, 1939), which sold for $89,625. “Interest was also apparent in high-grade Silver Age works, as seen by the $2,868 realized for a copy of Superman #140, a price representing nine times current Guide value.”
Heritage’s next Vintage Comic and Comic Art auction will be February 27′9, at the galleries, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th floor. For information, www.ha.com or 800-872-6475.
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