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Press Release - August 12, 2014
Restored Action #1 Leaps To $167,300 In $5.18 Million Heritage Comics & Comic Art Auction100% sell-through; Brian Bolland, Sal Buscema, Robert Crumb, Barry Smith, Bernie Wrightson, Graham Ingels all set artist auction records
DALLAS — A restored copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) CGC Apparent VF 8.0 realized $167,300 — one of the highest prices ever paid for a restored comic book — to take top honors in Heritage Auctions' $5.18 million Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, Aug. 7-9 in Dallas.
On top of numerous price records set for various artists, the auction also boasts an impressive 100% sell-through rate by both value and lot totals.
"We were happy, but not too surprised, to see a price like this for the restored Action #1," said Lon Allen, Managing Director of Comics & Comic Art Auctions at Heritage. "This is an issue that most any follower of pop culture will recognize, that any comic book collector would want and that any person would be impressed seeing in a collection. This is a book that has everything going for it."
Across the board comic book results were strong, with many books decimating their Overstreet Guide values, including a CGC-graded 2.0 copy of Detective Comics #31 (DC, 1939), a comic book with one of the most classic covers in comic book history, that appears on almost every collector's want list, which brought more than triple its guide price at $34,165. A copy of All-Star Comics #8 (DC, 1942) CGC 3.0 — the first appearance of Wonder Woman — also checked in at triple its Overstreet price, finishing at $17,925, while Marvel Super-Heroes #18 Guardians of the Galaxy — Don/Maggie Thompson Collection pedigree (Marvel, 1969) CGC NM+ 9.6, a comic book that brought a mere $1,000 a few years ago, soared to $10,158, no doubt aided by the recent release of the "Guardians" feature film.
Original comic book art continued to be sizzling hot, led by the record price realized by Robert Crumb's Zap Comix #0 complete three-page story "Ducks Yas Yas" original Art (Apex Novelties, 1968), a masterwork in Crumb's amazing oeuvre. The three-page saga of a 1960s New York stoner and his quest for spiritual enlightenment is a true hippy comix classic, the quintessential R. Crumb comic strip and now worth $131,450.
The amazing original artwork from Page 14 of Batman: The Killing Joke, by Brian Bolland, which realized the astounding final price of $107,500. Page 14 of Killing Joke is easily one of the most influential pages of modern comic books. In it, Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon opens the door to her home to find The Joker waiting for her. He subsequently shoots Gordon, an event that kept her in a wheelchair for almost 25 years and caused the creation of her new identity as Oracle.
"Very few panel pages have ever sold at auction for more than $100,000," said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions, "so this page, as key as they come, joins some elite company. A record auction price for the artist, there are few pages in the history of comics that have had this kind of long-lasting impact."
Classic Peanuts strips are always in demand, and none more-so than those that deal with one of Charles Schulz's favorite subjects: Sports. A Peanuts football-themed Sunday comic strip original art, dated 9-10-61 (United Feature Syndicate, 1961), featuring Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown, not only represented a classic piece of Americana, it also showed the financial power that Schulz's work can command, as it realized $95,600. The auction also saw a record price results for a Peanuts daily strip as Schulz's Peanuts daily comic strip original art dated 7-5-73 (United Feature Syndicate, 1973), a classic daily featuring Alfred E. Neuman, that brought an impressive $41,825.
Original Marvel artwork has been hot for some time and the Aug. 7-9 sale continued that upward swing. A new auction price record was established for artist Sal Buscema, one of, if not the most prolific artist at Marvel over a three decades span, as his original artwork for the cover of Avengers #72 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1970) raced to an $89,625 price realized, a price record equaled by Barry Smith's Conan the Barbarian #9 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1971), a prime piece from the game-changing Marvel comic.
Auction price records were established for Bernie Wrightson, as his Apparitions "Hanover Fiste" Portfolio Plate original art (Sal Q. Productions, 1978) was the subject of much bidder interest before landing at $65,725, while Graham Ingels' Haunt of Fear #19 cover original art (EC, 1953), a classic of horror comics, was very strong at $55,269.
Further price records at auction were achieved for other key Marvel artists, including Jim Lee's X-Men pinup page illustration original art (Marvel, 1990), a classic roster of the X-team featuring (big hair) Rogue, Colossus, Gambit, Psylocke and Wolverine — from the artist's personal collection, no less — commanded the strong price of $41,825, equaling the previous price mark for a work by Lee, while Gene Colan and Mike Esposito's Marvel Super-Heroes #18 Guardians of the Galaxy splash page 1 original Art (Marvel, 1969) far exceeded house expectations in its' record run, also capitalizing on the success of the new movie based on the "Guardians," to bring a solid $14,340 price realized.
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