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Press Release - September 15, 2002

Heritage to Begin Auctioning Vintage Toys

Dallas, TX: Heritage Auctions has begun including vintage character toys in their famous popular culture Signature auctions. Heritage is the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer with 2002 auction sell-through expected to exceed $75 million. Their $5 million October 10-13 comic book, comic art and movie posters auction at the Dallas Comicon includes the following character toys:

Image: The Blue Knight of Milan and The Black Knight of Nurnberg (Aurora, 1956). Some of the earliest Aurora model kits, and, according to many, some of the best, the"Knights" series transported young model builders back to the days of chivalry and romance as they pieced together and painted these extraordinary replicas. The two kits offered here are in superb condition. The Black Knight is fully complete; in fact, the parts have not been removed from the plastic bag in which they were shipped and are still attached to their trees. Two black feathers for the helmet, are still retained in the box. The instruction sheet is included and, save for a 2.5" crease in the upper right corner, is in excellent condition. The box itself could hardly be nicer. With only the slightest wear at the corners and a small piece of tape on each long side, this is a rare find. The Blue Knight is still wrapped in the cellophane in which it was packed and, aside from an impact dent in the upper right corner, is in excellent condition. Recapture a bit of the past with these amazing kits.

Image: Batman, Robin and Dick Tracy Model Kits (Aurora, 1964, 1966, 1968). Most guys who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s share a common memory of building and painting Aurora model kits. Cars, planes, trucks...every model company had those. What made Aurora special was their legendary character kits. Like monsters? You could build Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Godzilla, and plenty more. How about cavemen and dinosaurs? Maybe "Prehistoric Scenes" were more your speed. But for most people reading this catalog, it's the comic and superhero kits we most fondly remember. This sale offers three original Aurora kits, each in its original box. The Batman kit has been partially built up and painted, but is complete to the best of our knowledge. The box shows normal corner wear, and the instruction sheet, which is included, is in excellent condition. The Robin kit is a real gem, still wrapped in its original cellophane. In excellent condition, this box could have come off the store shelf yesterday. Finally, the Dick Tracy kit is complete and unassembled, but many of the pieces have been separated from their trees. The instruction sheet and the box are in excellent condition, with just the slightest wear showing on the lower left edge. This is an excellent opportunity to pick up three landmark kits and start, or expand, an Aurora collection.

Image: Tarzan Model Kit (Aurora, 1967). For many of us who grew up in the 1960s, Aurora Model kits were an important part of our childhoods. We would spend hours assembling and painting these plastic treasures, which we proudly displayed for years afterward until our Moms threw them out. Offered here is an incredibly rare find: the 1967 Tarzan model kit mint in a still-wrapped box. With the original cellophane still intact, this kit looks like it just came off the dime store shelf. There is some very minor wear at the corners, and the residue of a price tag in the upper right corner, but these are minor defects that are only apparent upon close examination. This is a beautiful kit in pristine shape, sure to bring back memories of younger days.

Image: Batman State Theatre Mask (DC, 1942). In 1942, the State Theatre and the Philadelphia Record Newspaper teamed up to make this Batman mask to promote and advertise the coming release of the new Batman serial and the new daily and Sunday comic strips. Batman had officially taken the country by storm by 1942 and everyone wanted a piece of the action. With the new serial coming out and the comic strip ready to hit the paper, these Philadelphia-based companies took full advantage of the craze and offered this unusual Batman mask, knowing full well that every kid in the city would have to have one. One side promoted the serial coming to theatre, the other side promoted the coming comic strip for the newspaper. The mask is in excellent condition, with only very light wear, and has never been used. The holes for the string are not worn or damaged, there is no creasing, and the colors are still very vibrant. There are less than 10 examples of this mask known to exist. No Batman collection is complete without this rare piece.

Image: Captain Marvel Patch (Fawcett, 1943). This World War II Navy Jacket Chest Patch was produced in 1943 and features the same artwork as the cover of Captain Marvel Adventures #27. The patch is approximately 5 1/2" in diameter and is unused, with brilliant colors. Seldom, if ever, offered for sale, this is one of the most desirable of the many Captain Marvel premiums from the era.

Image: Captain Marvel Wrist Watch (Fawcett, 1948). This 1948 Captain Marvel Wrist Watch is mint/unused in a high grade, full color, plastic box with a flip top . The watch was issued in 1948 by Fawcett Publications, originally sold for $7.95, and still has the original price tag. It has never been worn, and the band is in perfect condition. The watch has a classic pose of Captain Marvel, the artwork was used on the cover of Captain Marvel Adventures #27. This collectible watch is similar to the larger version packaged in a larger cardboard box, also released in 1948, but has some minor differences in the size of the face and hands. Both versions are very scarce and have C. C. Beck artwork.

Image: Captain Marvel Wrist Watch (Fawcett, 1948). This Captain Marvel wrist watch is mint/unused in a full color, high grade cardboard box. This Swiss watch, manufactured in 1948 by Fawcett Publications, originally sold for $5.95, and still bears the original tag. The watch has never been worn, the band is in mint condition. The face features a classic pose of Captain Marvel taken from the artwork that was used on the cover of Captain Marvel Adventures #27.

Image: Captain Marvel Jr. Boxed Figure (Fawcett, 1946). This rare 6 1/2" figure of Captain Marvel Jr. was produced in 1946 by the R. W. Kerr Co. Plastic Molders & Fabricators, Hastings, NE. It's made of an unknown blend of resin-like materials, but advertised as "all plastic," and hand colored. This figure was actually offered for sale (most were offered as premiums), and was packaged in a full-color graphics box designed by C. C. Beck in his charming style, recognizable style. These figures are rarely offered in mint condition, and almost never in a very fine/near mint box. The figure and box are incredible--truly remarkable pieces of Americana by Fawcett.

Image: Mary Marvel Boxed Figure (Fawcett, 1946). Like the Captain Marvel Jr. statue we are offering, this rare 6 1/2" figure of Mary Marvel was produced in 1946 by the R. W. Kerr Co. Plastic Molders & Fabricators, Hastings, NE. It's made of an unknown blend of resin-like materials, but advertised as "all plastic," and hand colored. This figure was actually offered for sale (most were offered as premiums), and was packaged in a full color graphics box designed by C. C. Beck. These figures are rarely offered in mint condition, and almost never in a very fine/near mint box. You could be waiting a very long time before two more of these Fawcett boxed statues are offered for sale at the same time.

Image: Mary Marvel Wrist Watch (Fawcett, 1948). This Mary Marvel wrist watch is mint/unused in a full-color plastic box. Like the other watches we are offering in this sale, this Swiss watch was issued in 1948 by Fawcett Publications and still has the original sale tag of $7.95. There is some slight wear and minor rubbing on this box, and a small 1/8" x 1/2" hole in the upper right corner. The watch has never been worn, and the band is in perfect condition. It is similar to the larger version packaged in a larger cardboard box, also released in 1948, but has some minor differences in the size of the face and hands. Both versions are very scarce and have C. C. Beck artwork.

Image: Captain Marvel Wrist Watch (Fawcett, 1948). Here is a Mary Marvel wrist watch in mint/unused in a nice full-color cardboard box. This Swiss watch was issued in 1948 by Fawcett Publications. It has never been worn, and the band is perfect. It features a classic pose of Mary Marvel flying in that unmistakable C. C. Beck style.

Image: Amazing Spider-Man Movie Diploma (Columbia Pictures, 2002). This one-of-a-kind piece is the actual diploma that was used in the making of the recent Columbia Pictures mega-hit film "Spider-Man." Issued by Midtown High School to Peter Benjamin Parker, this diploma is a genuine piece of Americana. There is a small scrape on the top of the outer cover, and if you watch the film, you can actually see this damage occur! Captured on film, this nick only serves to verify the authenticity of this unique piece. Be the first one on your block...make that the only one on your block, to own this interesting, irreplaceable prop from the most successful movie in American history.

Image: Adventures Of Superman, Armed Services Edition (DC, 1942). This is the condensed version of the hardback book from 1942, "The Adventures of Superman," and was made and distributed solely to the members of the Armed Forces. The book has paper covers and the real difference in this small paperback-style edition and the original hardback edition is the absence of pictures. The size was reduced to fit into pockets or backpacks and the pictures were left out to keep the size manageable. Considering the conditions and locale of the military personnel, it's no wonder the book is rare, particularly in this condition. Some slight edge wear. Very faint crease on front cover. Condition: FN/FN-.

Image: Unique Superman Syroco Prototype Statue (DC, 1942). Adolph Holstein, a skilled European immigrant woodcarver, founded the Syracuse Ornamental Co. (later Syroco) in 1890. Unable to keep up with demand for his intricate carvings, Holstein developed a process to mass-produce replicas of the carvings by compressing a mixture of wood, flour, waxes, and resins into molds. In 1942, Syroco released their most popular and successful figure - SUPERMAN. This is believed to be the actual hand-carved prototype figure used to make the mold for the Superman statues produced by Syroco Incorporated. This carving is 5 1/2" tall and stands on a thicker base than the production figure. The prototype, while substantially the same as the production statue, exhibits a wealth of small detail that adds grace and depth to the depiction of the Man of Steel. The prototype was reportedly given to a long time female employee of the company, who in turn, gave the statue to her nephew who sold the statue to a collector he met at the Chicago Comicon. With relatively few known copies, the production figure itself is scarce. This prototype carving, however, is unique and is in phenomenal condition. The only defect is a small chip off the right-hand corner of the cape that is barely noticeable unless you look very closely. Without the actual Syroco to compare with, you might not notice it at all. This incredible statute of the legendary American icon, Superman, is a unique and singular piece that will be the pride and centerpiece of only one person's collection. Height: 5 1/2"; width: 3 1/2", depth: 2".

Image: Superman Syroco Statue (DC, 1942). Adolph Holstein, a skilled European immigrant woodcarver, founded the Syracuse Ornamental Co. in 1890. Unable to keep up with demand for his intricate carvings, Holstein developed a process to mass-produce replicas of the carvings by compressing a mixture of wood, flour, waxes, and resins into molds. In the 1930s and 1940s, the company changed its name to Syroco Inc. and manufactured a line of novelty items and figurines of popular entertainers, personalities, and comic strip characters, which sold in roadside souvenir shops. In 1942, Syroco released their most popular and successful figure--SUPERMAN. The Superman statues were not offered for sale; instead, they were a promotional item from DC Comics for Superman comic books to distributors and retailers. And, even more interesting, the production was limited to only 100 pieces, of which only 10-12 of these statues were actually fully painted. The remaining statues were brown with a red logo and cape. Syroco (sometimes referred to as Sirocco) statues are very fragile and are very rarely found unbroken or repaired. This statue is 5 1/2" tall, and one of the original 10-12 fully-painted figures. It is in perfect condition, no breaks, cracks, or repairs. This statue, with its limited original production, is one of the rarest of the vintage Superman collectibles. The original paint on this example that we are offering for sale is much superior to the one that is pictured on the cover of the December, 1991 issue of Comicbook Marketplace magazine with the caption: "Extremely Rare." In the accompanying article entitled "Comic Character Memorabilia," John Snyder refers to the Superman Syroco as "one of the most famous, desirable and rare of all Superman collectibles."

Image: Wonder Woman 1" Litho Button (DC, 1942). This is probably the rarest piece of Wonder Woman memorabilia from the era--a 1" litho button featuring Wonder Woman and Sensation Comics. The button was offered through the May 1942 issue of Sensation Comics only, never through retail outlets, and never offered again. This button looks great, vibrant colors, very minor rust, and all original. The button face has some waving when you run your finger over the surface, there is no indication of what caused it; the waving is not noticeable when you look at it, and is only noticeable to the touch. The button shows beautifully; it's an incredible display item. This litho button is virtually never offered for sale, and is listed in the Hake's Guide as "rare."

Image: Wonder Woman String Puppet (DC, 1977). 1966 was a great year for toys; the 2nd explosion of comic-related toys was in full bloom. This is a mint in-box example of a great-looking hand puppet of Wonder Woman, which doesn't appear to have been removed or played with. The box is very solid with vibrant colors and square corners. There is some minor scuffing and wear on the box, and a couple of minor sticky spots, but we have never seen another one of these that even remotely compares. The hand puppet is considered to be one of the most difficult Wonder Woman collectibles to find and secure from the era, and this is a sensational example.

Image: Captain Action: First Issue Box (Ideal, 1966). Spurred by the unprecedented success of Hasbro's G.I. Joe line of 12" action figures and accessories (before Joe, "dolls for boys" was an unheard-of concept), the Ideal company launched a superhero-based imitation called Captain Action. The concept behind Captain Action was simple--a crimefighter in his own right (with a costume that included colorful tights, a captain's hat, jagged sword, and laser pistol), CA could, in an instant, assume the costume and powers of many other well-known superheroes, including Batman, Superman, the Phantom, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Green Hornet, and more. Captain Action remains unique in toy history for the sheer breadth of licensing agreements that the company secured to give CA a range of costume options, cutting deals with Marvel, DC, King Features, and more. Offered here is a breathtaking example of the original Captain Action figure, complete with his first-issue box, from a warehouse find. The figure is absolutely mint, C10, with perfect face paint and no tears, rips, or runs in the uniform; all accessories are sealed in their original bag, mint condition with no melts whatsoever. The box is structurally perfect, but must be graded down to C9.5 for very, very light color wear. Includes the original brochure, which has light-to-moderate wear. Given Captain Action's relatively brief stay in the marketplace (the line never achieved G.I. Joe-level success, and was gone from toy shelves by the end of the '60s), examples this beautiful are rare indeed.

Image: Captain Action: Action Boy (Ideal, 1967). After a year or so on the marketplace, Ideal decided to give the stalwart Captain Action a sidekick, and introduced Action Boy, Cap's beret-wearing partner. Offered here is a stunning, near-perfect example of the figure in its first-issue box. All accessories (including the panther!) are in mint condition, still sealed in their original baggie, and the set also includes the rarely-seen comic book (these were easily lost by kids, and rarely stayed with the figures) in near-mint condition. The box is C9 with outstanding color and sharpness, marred only by two very light creases in the bottom corners. Part of a well-known warehouse find of a few years back, this is one of the best examples of Action Boy to come on the market in a long time, and probably one of the best in existence.

Image: Captain Action: Doctor Evil (Ideal, 1966). Long before Austin Powers debuted at the Cineplex, the original Doctor Evil landed on earth to bedevil the crime-fighting Captain Action. With an exposed brain, plenty of extraterrestrial weaponry, and a fear-inducing pair of flip-flop sandals, the malevolent Doctor was the perfect foil for the upstanding Action. No figure is more coveted among Captain Action collectors, and Doctor Evil is virtually impossible to find in such perfect condition, and especially with all his accessories intact. Part of that warehouse find mentioned above, this is an absolutely breathtaking example of the bad Doctor. The figure and costume are in mint condition, and all accessories are accounted for and in perfect shape, but the original baggie has been lost. The first-issue box is C9, with only very minor wear. The holy grail for Captain Action collectors, you are not likely to find a better Doctor Evil offered at public sale.

Image: Captain Action: Lone Ranger Uniform Set (Ideal, 1966). The Masked Rider of the Plains is one of the most beloved Captain Action uniform sets; this is the slightly more common blue variation (the first-issue LR had a red shirt and black pants) and is in gorgeous condition. Although the white hat has acquired a light foxing over the years, the paint on the other accessories is razor-sharp, and looks as fresh as the day they rolled out of the Ideal factory. The box is factory-sealed and in C8 condition--it looks virtually perfect, but the logo tab in the upper-right corner has been bent and creased (a very common flaw in these sets).

Image: Captain Action: Captain America Uniform Set (Ideal, 1966). One of the most popular CA sets, and also the one with the weirdest accessories. Who told the Ideal people that Captain America has a laser rifle and pistol? Box is C8, factory-sealed, but the Capt. Action logo on the right side has been bent and slightly torn. Contents are mint.

Image: Captain Action: The Phantom Uniform Set (Ideal, 1966). Always a popular favorite, especially since there was never much merchandise created for Lee Falk's mysterious jungle crime fighter. Factory-sealed, this is the rare 1967 re-issue with the stereo-vision ring included. Box is C8, has a small tear below the "C" in Captain, and a bump in the upper-right corner.

Image: Captain Action: Flash Gordon Uniform Set (Ideal, 1966). The all-white construction makes this a really tough uniform set to acquire in nice condition -- this one is downright pristine. Box is factory-sealed, C9, has a slight bump in the top-right corner, otherwise gorgeous.

Image: Captain Action: Steve Canyon Uniform Set (Ideal, 1966). Milton Caniff's square-jawed hero was perhaps the most unusual character to be optioned for Ideal for their Captain Action line, if only because he lacked the true marquee value of a Superman or Batman. Still, the military accessories are well-produced, and this is another of the tougher sets to find in high grade. The box is C9, with light overall wear, and a small stain on the left margin.

Image: Captain Action: Aquaman Uniform Set (Ideal, 1966). The King of the Sea makes for one of the cooler Captain Action uniform sets. Factory-sealed, with a C10 box, this is as good as they get.

Image: Super Queens: Wonder Woman (Ideal, 1967). Fueled by the initial success of their Captain Action line, Ideal tried to branch out with a similar idea for girls, and introduced the Super Queens a year later. The first (and only) series included four super heroines: Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Mera (Aquaman's wife). Each came dressed in their well-known super-outfits, as well as a separate set of street clothes. Unfortunately, the idea was not well-received and the Super Queens sold poorly, and were cancelled before a second series could be launched. Because of their short time on the toy shelves, they have become highly collectible and are exceptionally rare, more so than any of the Captain Action items. Offered here is the Wonder Woman/Diana Prince edition, in mint condition, and, remarkably, still sealed in its original shrinkwrap. The box shows some very slight buckling around waist level from its long years in the shrinkwrap, but is still in spectacular condition, remarkable considering the rarity of these figures. The small plastic baggie holding her anklets and wristlets was originally taped to the side of the box near her head, but has come free in the ensuing years, and is now loose inside the box; it's also interesting to note that the patriotic shield WW holds is the same one from the Captain America uniform set.

Image: Super Queens: Mera (Ideal, 1967). Unbelievably rare, Mera is perhaps the toughest of the four Super Queens to acquire, probably because she was the least familiar character to the little girls of the day, and suffered the lowest sales figures. As often happens, this has made her a superstar to modern-day collectors, and to find such a stunning example, still sealed in its original shrinkwrap (with an original price-tag, no less!), is virtually unheard of. Contents are naturally untouched, but the box has buckled slightly at about her waist-level from the decades-long pressure of the shrink-wrap. Still, this has little effect on the value, as this is one of the most desirable Ideal figures.

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