50-year-old original cover art from Action Comics’ JFK/Clark Kent issue an extraordinary rarity, could reach $50,000-$75,000
YORK, Pa. – America’s first collectibles auction house, Hake’s Americana & Collectibles, presents a blockbuster lineup of pop culture, original comic art and rare Americana in its online, phone and absentee auction closing Nov. 19-21. Bidding is already open in Auction #210, which contains 3,105 choice lots.
The selection is led by three premier collections: Disney character toys and collectibles from the estate of beloved illustrator and children’s book author Maurice Sendak (1928-2012); the Julie Powell political memorabilia collection, and several prized collections from Robert M. Overstreet, the visionary author of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, now in its 43rd year of publication.
Overstreet’s remarkable collections cross many categories in the auction, including coins, fossils, meteorites, original comic art and premiums.
There isn’t a minute detail about the late Maurice Sendak’s Disneyana collection that isn’t well known to Hake’s founder, Ted Hake.
“I met Maurice in 1969, shortly after publication of his now-famous book ‘Where The Wild Things Are,’” said Hake. “Over the next 40 years, Maurice would participate in Hake’s auctions, and several times a year I would visit him to present early 1930s Mickey Mouse objects for his consideration.”
Now many of Sendak’s most treasured Disneyana toys will pass on to other collectors, but with a very special added provenance.
“Before he passed away, Maurice Sendak established a foundation to benefit budding children’s book writers,” said Hake. “The Maurice Sendak Foundation maintains the Sendak home, which now serves as a place where aspiring authors can go to study and write in the same, carefully preserved environment that inspired Maurice.”
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The selections entrusted to Hake’s will be offered in a short series of auctions over the next several months, each containing approximately 50 items and four or five of what Hake describes as “high-end, once-in-a-lifetime pieces.”
Sendak’s fascination with whimsical characters was reflected in the amusing pieces he chose for his collection, including two German-made rarities that seldom appear at auction. Lot 2176, a 1930s tin-litho mechanical bank made by Saalheimer & Strauss, depicts a toothy, widely smiling Mickey, whose tongue thrusts forward to accept a coin when his right ear is pulled. On reverse, the bank is decorated with a marvelous depiction of Mickey operating a vintage camera on tripod stand. Above him is the message, “Smile please!” The bank requires a minimum bid of $7,500.
The second example, Lot 2177, is a circa-1930 Distler Mickey Mouse Organ Grinder wind-up toy with its rare graphic box. Known to collectors as the “Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy,” this classic and much-admired toy also includes a diminutive figure of Minnie Mouse, who dances atop the barrel organ as Mickey turns a crank. All original and 100 percent complete, the toy will open for bidding at $6,000.
In addition to rare Disneyana, other early comic character toys took pride of place in the Sendak collection. A prime example is the only known complete set of original, circa-1914 Little Nemo bisque figurines. Featuring Flip, Princess, Doctor Pill, Imp and, of course, Little Nemo, this is the rarest of all bisque character sets. Its conservative opening bid is $7,500.
A second featured collection in Auction #210 contains a premier 40-year assemblage of political Americana. The Julie Powell collection includes pin-back buttons, textiles and three-dimensional memorabilia in its many forms. One of the most significant items in the collection is a 26 by 60.5-inch Henry Clay “coattail” flag in which the 1844 presidential candidate’s name appears above his vice-presidential running mate (Theodore) Frelinghuysen and Delaware’s Whig candidates for governor and U.S Congress. The flag is so rare, it does not appear in any of Hake’s Presidential Campaign item guides or the respected reference “Threads of History.” It is offered with a starting bid of $15,000.
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Another standout piece from the Powell collection is a circa-1848 lithophane portrait of Zachary Taylor with its original ornate frame and stand. The image and background are incised on porcelain and appear white until the portrait is back-lit to reveal an outstanding, well-detailed portrait. Among the most highly prized of all pre-1896 political display items, Lot 19 will open for bidding at $3,000.
Action Comics #309, cover dated February 1964, is known for its storyline that intertwines Superman’s colleagues and friends, several superheroes, and President John F. Kennedy disguised as Clark Kent. Although cover-dated February 1964, the issue arrived on newsstands only a week after Kennedy’s Nov. 22, 1963 assassination. Despite DC Comics’ best efforts to recall the issue, the distribution process was already too far along for it to be stopped. Curt Swan’s pen-and-ink cover art, a highlight of Hake’s Auction #210, may be the last remaining piece of original art associated with this historically important comic book. Lot 2021 is unique on several counts and may surpass, by a substantial amount, its conservative presale estimate of $50,000-$75,000.
Original artwork associated with an iconic American record album from the peace-and-love era is cataloged as Lot 3013. It’s Rick Griffin’s original pen and ink and airbrushed art for a record store poster promoting the Grateful Dead’s 1973 Wake of the Flood LP – the first to be released on their own label. The art features a large, open-mouthed crow that “holds” in its talons a pasted-on proof of the album cover image. Discriminating Deadheads and fans of psychedelic master artist Rick Griffin will need to bid at least $6,000 to join the competition for this item.
With provenance from the Robert M. Overstreet collection, the framed original cover art from EC Comics’ Gunfighter #9, published May/June 1949, is a richly graphic depiction of Buckskin Kid in action. From the pen and imagination of artist Graham Ingels – who later rose to fame with his fantastic horror comic covers – the eye-filling fight scene on Gunfighter #9’s cover promises the reader “Thrilling Scenes Of The Wild West!” The 13.75 by 19.75-inch (matted) artwork carries a presale estimate of $2,000-$5,000.
The original art for a Frank Zappa portrait appearing in the Nov. 11, 1991 issue of The New Yorker magazine brings together two counterculture geniuses: the king of underground comic art, Robert Crumb, and the original Mother of Invention, Zappa. Signed and dated “R. Crumb ’91,” the framed 5.25 by 7.5-inch depiction of Zappa was a gift to legendary concert promoter John Scher, who owned The Ritz rock club in New York. Accompanied by a COA from Scher, the R. Crumb art is estimated at $2,000-$5,000.
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Sci-fi fans will want to tune in on Lot 2745, an original-release one-sheet movie poster for the 1951 20th Century Fox classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. Among the most sought after movie posters of its genre, its presale estimate is set at $5,000-$10,000.
The Hakes Americana #210 auction is now open for bidding by phone, mail or online at www.hakes.com. To request a free printed catalog or for information on any item in the sale, call toll-free (866) 404-9800 or (717) 434-1600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.