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Press Release - March 12, 2003

Heritage's New York Signature Sale #806 Realizes Over $4.1 Million

DALLAS, TEXAS: Heritage Comics Auctions sale #806 was held in New York City March 6-9. Heritage sold 2,707 out of 3,391 lots offered, for a total sell-through of 79.82%, at prices totaling $4,139,746.91. As of today, orders were still pouring in at Heritage's "After Auction Bargains" section, where unsold items are available first-come first-served at consignor reserve, plus the Buyer's Premium. The final tally is expected to rise even higher.

John Petty, Heritage's Director of Auctions, stated that the sale of the White Rose collection was "wildly successful. This spectacular collection brought in well over $900,000. We are very pleased with the outcome, especially with the current uncertain economic climate and the looming threat of imminent war. In a market where plenty of people are getting out of this business, we continue to post record results."

There was a healthy round of applause when the X-Men #137 two-page splash sold for $55,200.00. According to Assistant Director of Acquisitions, Fred McSurley, "The bidding activity on these John Byrne pages blew quite a few people away and greatly surpassed all expectations. Not only was this the highest price ever realized for Byrne X-Men pages, no Byrne cover from that time period has ever brought that much! Only at a well-publicized auction like this could that piece have reached such dizzying heights."

The Movie Poster portion of the auction sold well over half a million dollars of posters with approximately 90% of the 572 lots sold. Some of the highlights included the "Wolf Man" One Sheet which sold for $24,150, "Mickey Mouse 1935 Technicolor" Stock One Sheet brought $34,500, the "Wizard of Oz" Title Card realized $14,950, and Walt Disney's Goofy in "How to Play Baseball" found a new home for $17,250.

Sale 806 showcased the first of three portions of its Famous American Illustrators artwork sale. In its opening foray into the world of Illustration Art auctions, about 60% of the 308 lots sold, realizing well over a quarter of a million dollars. Some of the auction's high points included a Gil Elvgren oil painting on canvas entitled, "A Squirrely Situation," which engendered a healthy round of bidding, and sold for $14,950.

The Harold W. McCauley oil on canvas, the original illustration art for the September, 1942 cover of "Fantastic Adventures" magazine, realized $15,525.

Frank Earle Schoonover, student of Howard Pyle, painted another auction highlight, originally used for the July, 1935 issue of "American Boy" as an illustration for the story, "Beaver Woman's Vision." This oil on canvas went for $10,925.

The early Vargas also generated a heated bidding match. Alberto Vargas, best known for his Vargas Girls of "Playboy" magazine, rendered this beautiful early art deco image in watercolor and mixed media, and titled it, "Moonlight on the Hudson." This shining star is a moody piece featuring a platinum blonde beauty, pondering shimmering waters, and sold for $14,800.

Marvel Comics #1 (Timely, 1939) CGC VF+ 8.5 Cream to off-white pages. Price Realized = $126,500.00.
Publisher Martin Goodman rolled the dice on the new medium of comic books and came up a winner when he published Marvel Comics #1. This super-key features the first appearances of the Human Torch (by Carl Burgos), the Angel (by Paul Gustavson), and Kazar, as well as the origin and first newsstand appearance of the Sub-Mariner (by Bill Everett) and is graced with an unforgettable cover by the inimitable pulp artist Frank R. Paul. One of the most expensive comic books in the world, and the genesis of the entire Marvel Universe; this fact is not lost on many collectors as the few available copies that do surface tend to disappear fast from the market. This one is solid and tight, and definitely qualifies as high grade. As one of the scarcer key issues, finding an unrestored copy is quite a challenge. Some minor feathering at the spine seems to be the only thing keeping this spectacular book out of the near mint range. Flat and clean with vibrant colors and great pages, this is a truly outstanding example of this seminal book, and it compares quite favorably to the famed Pay Copy. It may be a very long time before another copy this nice comes up for sale. Overstreet 2002 VF 8.0 value = $116,000; NM 9.4 value = $250,000. Est. 75,000-up.

Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) CGC FN- 5.5 Off-white pages. Price Realized = $120,750.00.
More than a comic book, more than a superhero, this is a true piece of American pop cultural history. This first appearance and origin of Superman introduced an important American icon that has endured over the decades, becoming one of the most recognizable fictional characters in literary history. Making an impact on American and even world culture that Superman's creators (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) could not possibly have imagined, Superman has conquered not only the comic book and comic strip pages, but has been featured in books, movies, TV shows, toys, games, lunchboxes, cereal fact, there are very few places one can look and not find the Man of Steel. No other book in all of comic fandom can elicit the visceral response that an Action Comics #1 can. To hold a copy in your hands is to hold the ultimate gem in the comic collecting crown. Every collector dreams of owning this jewel, making this the most prized possession in the hobby. This particular copy is superb with only minor defects, which include two very small scratch marks in the upper right hand corner of the cover in the logo area and some very minor spine wear. The colors on the front cover are deep, rich, and brilliant. Keys such as this are extremely scarce in mid-grade or higher in unrestored condition. In fact, there are only two unrestored copies that CGC has graded higher to date making this copy truly remarkable and desirable. This is perhaps one of the best values around: it is the pinnacle of the comic collecting world, it is unrestored, and has only the most minimal of defects making it an exceptional opportunity for an collector. As of this writing, this is the third highest unrestored copy of this book to be graded by CGC. Overstreet 2002 FN 6.0 value = $105,000. Est. 125,000-up.

Frank Frazetta - Original Painting, "Savage World" (1967). Price Realized = $120,750.00.
Some pieces of art stand as the definitive works of their creators. Van Gogh's Starry Night, Seurat's A Sunday in the Park on the Island of La Grande Jatte, or Munch's The Scream are all examples of creations that have bestowed artistic immortality on the artists who painted them. In much the same way, Savage World brings together on one canvas all that is best about Frank Frazetta. The dynamic imagery, the brilliant use of color, the savagery of the cavemen contrasted with the raw sensuality of their female captive, even the plodding menace of the great beasts who stalk the primitive hunters...all of these elements are perfectly rendered by the man many have called the King of twentieth century illustration. Brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed, Frazetta easily draws the viewer into another time and place, creating a fantasy world that reveals hidden levels and inner depths that become more and more apparent on each viewing. First published as the wrap-around cover of Monster Mania #2 and simultaneously released as a print, the piece was repainted by Frazetta in 1981 while working on the animated feature Fire and Ice. It was later published in the 1985 release, Frazetta Book V. Measuring an imposing 22.5" x 35" overall, the piece is in excellent condition and is signed and dated by the artist in the lower right. A classic work by a modern master, this will be the prize addition to any collection of fine art. Est. 100,000-up.

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel, 1963) CGC NM+ 9.6 Off-white pages. Price Realized = $92,000.00.
This is simply a superb copy of the very first edition of Spider-Man in his own title. Next to Amazing Fantasy #15, this is the second-most-demanded Silver Age comic. This is the first Fantastic Four crossover into another title, as Spider-Man tries to join their group. The cover is by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, but interior art is all by Spider-Man's co-creator, Steve Ditko. According to the CGC census as of this writing, there is one copy in 9.8, and this copy is tied with one other for the second-highest grade. You've seen the movie; here's your chance to own one of the finest comics on the planet! Overstreet 2002 NM 9.4 value = $28,000. Est. 100,000-up.

Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white pages. Price Realized = $86,250.00.
"And so a legend is born, and a new name is added to the roster of those who make the world of fantasy the most exciting realm of all!" -- Stan Lee Stan's hyperbole strays little from the truth as Spider-Man debuts and reveals his origin in this Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko/Stan Lee classic. Because of the continued popularity of Spider-Man, and the difficulty of finding this comic in the highest grades, Amazing Fantasy #15 has become the preeminent Silver Age comic. This is an outstanding copy, which has the sharp corners and the "look" you would expect of a 9.4. According to the CGC census as of this writing, there are five copies grading 9.4 and one grading 9.6. It sounds like there's not nearly enough high-grade copies to go around, so don't be a timid teen like Parker. But toss a web around it like Spidey. Overstreet 2002 NM 9.4 value = $42,000. Est. 125,000-up.

John Byrne and Terry Austin - Original Art for X-Men #137, page 2 and 3, "The Fate of the Phoenix" (Marvel, 1980). Price Realized = $55,200.00.
More has probably been said and written about X-Men #137 than virtually any other comic book of the period. In conjunction with Marvel's 40th anniversary in the fall of 2001, this issue of X-Men was voted by fans to be the third greatest Marvel comic of all time. With this special double-size issue, Marvel began a new era of comic book heroism, as the death of Jean Grey completely rewrote the rules about what was possible in the Marvel Universe. Here is a spectacular page, one that shows every X-Man from the ongoing story, pencilled by fan faves John Byrne and Terry Austin. Overall size is approximately 16" x 22" with an image area of 15" x 21". Some slight overall yellowing does nothing at all to detract from the overwhelming beauty and historical significance of these two grand pages. Here's your chance to own a piece of Marvel history. Est. 10,000-up.

Detective Comics #38 (DC, 1940) CGC VF/NM 9.0 White pages. Price Realized = $46,000.00.
Batman without Robin? The Caped Crusader managed eleven issues of the title without the Boy Wonder, and in more recent times, has returned to solo work. But beginning with this issue, the Boy Wonder is introduced and the Batman/Robin team is born. It's hard to imagine the hundreds of stories in such titles as Detective Comics, Batman, and World's Finest Comics from the Golden Age to the Modern Age without Robin. Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson combine for classic cover and interior artwork, and this copy is second to only one other copy CGC has reviewed. Among the Top 100 Golden Age Comics in the 2002 edition of the Overstreet Price Guide, this comic tied for 14th place (and is on the rise). One of our most prized offerings for this auction. Overstreet 2002 NM 9.4 value = $45,000. Est. 35,000-up.

Bob Kane - Original Comic Strip Art for Batman dated 10/29/43 (Detective Comics, Inc./McClure Newspaper Syndicate, 1943). Price Realized = $43,700.00.
A very rare find, indeed, this is the the fifth strip from the introductory week of this historic strip, which includes a detailed cutaway view of the Batcave. Rendered in pen & ink and blue pencil (to indicate shading), this piece measures approximately 24.5" x 9.5" overall, with an image area of approximately 22.75" x 5.75". In excellent condition, there is a pasteover missing in the final panel, so that the original text is visible. The art is signed by Bob Kane in the upper left, although Jerry Robinson's influence and contribution is clearly evident. Est. 40,000-up.

Marvel Mystery Comics #9 (Timely, 1940) CGC VF 8.0 Off-white pages. Price Realized = $40,250.00.
Undeniably a holy grail issue for many Timely collectors, this book is downright impossible to find in nice shape. Trying to obtain a copy of this book that does not have a completely split spine or restoration is a daunting task. As the highest graded copy certified by CGC, this book has caused quite a buzz in the collecting community; we have received more inquiries about this particular copy than any other book in the auction. The colors on this book are extremely bright and vivid, and you could literally lose track of time and spend hours gazing upon it - transfixed by its sheer beauty. This Sub-Mariner versus the Human Torch battle issue has always ranked as a favorite among fans and there is no better copy available. Art by Bill Everett, Carl Burgos and Paul Gustavson. This book was purchased from George Olshevsky as the Chicago copy, although CGC has not noted that information on the label. Overstreet 2002 VF 8.0 value = $11,000; NM 9.4 value = $28,000. Est. 35,000-up.

Mickey Mouse Stock Poster (United Artists, 1935). Price Realized = $34,500.00.
One Sheet (27" X 41"). In 1935 when United Artists began to produce Mickey Mouse cartoons in color, they released this stock poster using the artwork from the 1932 poster but with the "Technicolor" banner. Very Fine on Linen. Est. 30,000-40,000.

Gillette Elvgren (1914-1980) Original Pin-up Painting (1969).
Gil Elvgren's women were a feminine phenomenon. They embodied the wholesome hometown beauties suddenly grown up, still possessing their girlish charm but brimming with sensuality. His women exhibited a delightful precociousness in their innocent exposures and momentary predicaments. Elvgren's genius was his consistent ability to honestly capture that moment. Beginning with the Louis F. Dow Calendar Company in the late 1930s, he created a series of mutoscope cards and pin-up calendars that were enormously popular. Shortly thereafter he began working with Haddon Sundblom, a relationship that would greatly influence and enhance his artistic evolvement and career. It was during this period that Elvgren, along with his mentor Sundblom, created some of the most exquisite and enduring ads ever conceived for the Coca-Cola Company. Brown & Bigelow immediately recognized Elvgren's unique talents, and by the mid-1940s he began producing pin-up images exclusively for the company. An equally advantageous agreement for both, it was a relationship that would last until the he retired nearly thirty years later.

Though he had many contemporaries who painted in a similar style and medium, Gil Elvgren had no equals. His Brown & Bigelow paintings remain some of the finest and most fondly remembered pin-up images ever created. The resurgence in the popularity of pin-up art began over a decade ago; with it came a wider recognition and respect for Elvgren's work and a whole new generation of fans. A fabulous and quintessential Elvgren image, this painting was created for Brown & Bigelow in 1969 and titled, Squirrely Situation. Rendered in oil on canvas, it measures 30 x 24 and is signed lower left. This painting was reproduced in Gil Elvgren All his glamorous American Pin-ups (Martignette & Meisel), page 195, fig. 472. A Brown & Bigelow ink blotter showing the published painting is included. Est. 11,000-up.

Harold W. McCauley (1913-1983) Original Magazine Cover Art (1942).
A student of J. Allen St. John and one of the leading artists of his day, Harold W. McCauley created brilliant covers for Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, Imagination, and other publications of the period. Original paintings by the artist are exceedingly rare, and this is an extraordinary example of McCauley's work for Ziff-Davis during the 1940s. Published as the cover for the September, 1942 Fantastic Adventures, and the story, Goddess of the Fifth Plain, the futuristic landscape, mythical beast, and typically gorgeous McCauley girl, all mesh marvelously to produce a classic pulp image. In addition to his innovative contributions to science fiction and fantasy pulps, McCauley created scores of eye-catching advertising images. They usually included a sinuous and glamorous beauty, dubbed "The Mac Girl," which brought him numerous assignments and considerable fame. Rendered in oil on canvas, it measures 30 x21, and is signed lower right. There is an area at the upper middle-right (approximately 1.5 inches in length) where a very thin portion of the blue background has chipped away. It in no way affects the central characters, or the overall effect of this outstanding composition. An issue of the Fantastic Adventures magazine is included. Est. 10,000-up.

Heritage is planning its next Signature Auction #807 for July 17-20, 2003 in San Diego in conjunction with Comic-Con International. The consignment deadline is June 6, or when the sale is full, whichever occurs sooner. This, Heritage's seventh Signature auction, will feature the original GI Joe prototype, more file copies from Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee, an outstanding selection of underground original art, as well as additional comics from the fabulous White Rose collection. Additionally, Heritage is proud to present the second installment of the Famous American Illustrators collection containing over 1100 pieces of original artwork by over 100 artists, including Norman Rockwell.

For more information about the New York sale #806 and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

HCA specializes in rare, high-grade comic books, as well as vintage comic and animation art, illustration art, movie posters and comics-related collectibles.
Prospective consignors and sellers of top-end comics material and original art are invited to call Ed Jaster at 214-252-4288 or Fred McSurley at 214-252-4293 to discuss their rare comics and original illustration and comic art. Or visit and click on the "consign" tab. Or simply email or

Movie poster consignors, please call Grey Smith at 214-668-6928 or email

To order the next three sale catalogs, visit Heritage's website to pay by credit card, or send a check or money order payable to Heritage Comics in the amount of $100 (a fraction of Heritage's actual cost-to-produce the catalogs) to: Norma Pedrero, c/o Heritage Comics, 100 Highland Park Village, 2nd Floor, Dallas, TX 75205.

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