Published: October 11, 2011
The original John Romita Sr “Amazing Spider-Man #49” cover art, featuring Spider-Man dueling the dual menace of Kraven the Hunter and the Vulture brought $167,300 on August 18 as the top lot in Heritage Auctions’ $4.45 million Signature comics and comics art auction. All told, the auction had a 96.5 percent sell-through rate by value and 98 percent by total lots.
The top comic book came in the form of a restored copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938), offered without reserve, which realized $149,375.
Meanwhile, a copy of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) was the object of vigorous bidding before closing at $83,650, almost exactly double the Overstreet Price Guide value for the issue. “The mood among collectors seems to be to grab strong copies of major key issues before they get even more expensive,” said Ed Jaster, Heritage vice president and director of illustration art.
Original Carl Barks’ artworks, especially those featuring Uncle Scrooge McDuck, have been bringing very good prices at auction in the last year as the Kerby Confer Collection has made its way back to the collecting public. This auction proved that the demand for the best examples continues to be high, as fully five of the top ten lots in the auction came from the paintbrushes of the legendary Carl Barks, totaling more than $500,000 in all.
Barks’ “Red Sails in the Sunset Donald Duck,” 1974, recreating one of his covers from Walt Disney Comics and Stories #108, enticed a collector at $113,525; while his “Golden Cities of Cibola,” 1975, a recreation of a scene from his tale, The Seven Cities of Cibola (originally published in Uncle Scrooge #7), brought $101,575. “Halloween in Duckburg,” 1973, a bewitching painting spotlighting Witch Hazel in her element, based on the cover of the first issue of Donald Duck (#26), provided fireworks at $83,650, and the 1975 oil painting “I Found It! I Keep It!,” featuring Scrooge chipping out a rich vein of glittering gold with a shotgun by his side, brought a final price of $65,725.
Great original comic cover art was in evidence beyond the marquee Spider-Man cover, as demonstrated by the $89,625 price realized for Victor Moscoso’s original wraparound cover art for Zap Comix #4 (Apex Novelties/Print Mint, 1969).
“Up until now Robert Crumb was the only underground artist whose originals had commanded this kind of price,” said David Tosh, consignment director at Heritage, “but this is a classic of the Underground genre and the cover to one of the most important and groundbreaking comic books, as they pertain to matters of free speech in America.”
Those collectors who wanted the original Spider-Man #49 cover art, but were priced out, had a chance at another Romita piece, this one a cover re-creation from 1994 of The Amazing Spider-Man #100, which eventually went to a determined bidder for $77,675.
Original daily comic strip art has become a hotly anticipated section and it was led by two key Sunday strips: George Herriman’s hand-colored Krazy Kat Sunday comic strip original art, dated June 25, 1922, which brought $53,775, and a Charles Schulz’s Peanuts Sunday comic strip original art, dated April 3, 1955, a classic featuring Linus, Lucy and Snoopy, with a final price of $47,800.
All prices include a 19½ percent buyer’s premium.
For more information, www.ha.com or 800-872-6467.
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