DALLAS – The comic book that started the genre’s Silver Age — Showcase #4 The Flash (DC, 1956) — sold for $179,250 as part of Heritage Auction Galleries May 21-23 Signature Comics & Comics Art Auction. The previous record for a ‘50s comic book was $160,200 for another copy of the same title.
A first printing of the underground comic book Zap #1 brought $13,145.
The sale included the Golden Age comic book collection of Ralph Chicorel, featuring more than 150 comic books that made more than $620,000 total. The single-owner collection, bought off the newsstands in the 1940s and stored for almost 70 years, contributed three of the top 10 lots of the auction.
Among the lots was a copy of Marvel Mystery Comics #9 (Timely, 1940) that realized $107,550. This comic is one of Overstreet’s Top 30 Golden Age books, prized not only for its scarcity but also because of the significance of the Human Torch versus Sub-Mariner battle shown on the cover.
Chicorel’s Batman #1 (DC, 1940) brought $98,500, and his copy of Marvel Comics #1 reached $83,650.
Original illustration art showed continued strength, as well. Curt Swan’s original cover art for Superman #180 brought $39,435. An all-out Jack Kirby action page brought $22,705. Meanwhile, a page of Daredevil original art by Frank Miller brought $17,925.
The record price for a Modern Age (1980-and-later) comic book was beaten by two separate comics in the Heritage event. A copy of Wolverine #1 realized $15,535 and a copy of X-Men #141 brought $11,950.
The Incredible Hulk #181 (Marvel, 1974) sold for $26,290. Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941) hit $95,600. Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939) brought $83,650.
Comics Buyer’s Guide Editor Brent Frankenhoff commented "The record-setting prices are something Heritage has been known for in the past and it’s outstanding to see such activity in this economy. While some analysts were beginning to question the old adage that collectibles are recession-proof, this sale’s results, as well as those of many other auctions, just goes to show that the trend continues."
Frankenhoff continued, "The Chicorel Collection was the highlight of this sale and shows what the passage of time, coupled with careful storage and handling of rarer items, can result in. Many thought we had seen prices for Wolverine’s first appearance in Incredible Hulk #181 peak already. Now that we’ve attained that summit, we see another in the distance. Why will it reach that peak? Because it’s there."
"Even without the buyers’ premium factored in, these are outstanding results," said Frankenhoff.
For more information on this auction, to read detailed lot descriptions for these, and all other lots, and to download fully-enlargeable color images, go online to www.HA.com/7007.