Superman #1 comic book commands $358,500 to lead historic sale

DALLAS — Original Underground Comix Art and key books from the Golden Age and Silver Age helped push the total value of Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction Nov. 17-19. The sale realized nearly $10 million, the second-highest total ever for a comic auction. The #1 Comics auction record ($10,389,821) was set by Heritage in July 2012.

“This auction was very gratifying to us at Heritage Auctions, because so many of the lots surpassed our pre-auction estimates,” Heritage Director of Operations for Comics and Comic Art Barry Sandoval said. “For example, we certainly thought the Pep Comics run would sell for multiples of the Price Guide value. But we weren’t expecting some to sell for as much as 12 times the Guide value!”

Superman, Spider-Man and Batman Comic Books Set Sale Pace

The top lot was an unrestored copy of Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC VG+ 4.5 CGC. It sold for

Superman#1

Superman #1 DC Comics, circa 1939, took top lot, selling for $358,500. (All photos courtesy Heritage Auctions)

$358,500. An estimated 1,000,000 copies were printed in 1939, but very few are known to exist in this grade. This issue is ranked third on Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics list.

One of the auction’s highlights was a 9.6 CGC NM+ issue of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 Curator Pedigree (Marvel, 1963), which is one of the top Silver Age comics Heritage has sold in 15 years of auctions. The book sold for $262,900.

An FN- 5.5 CGC copy of Batman #1 (DC, 1940) was another exceptionally popular Golden Age lot that sold for $239,000. The issue, which features the debut appearances of two characters who would end up being long-time Batman nemeses: Catwoman and the Joker, who are two of the reasons for the issue’s appearance on Overstreet’s list of Top 100 Golden Age Comics. This issue features a retelling of Batman’s origin and a classic cover by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, and is one of the top 20 CGC-graded copies.

Steve Ditko’s Amazing Spider-Man #27 Splash Page 1 Original Art (Marvel, 1965) hauled in $239,000. The page features Spider-Man and his greatest villain: The Green Goblin.

Underground Comix Well Represented

Headlining the Underground Comix lots was Robert Crumb’s Thrilling Murder Comics #1 “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” Complete Four-Page Story Original Art (San Francisco Comic Book Co., 1971), which sold for $143,400, setting a new world record for the artist. Considered one of Crumb’s most violent and taboo-breaking stories, this art combines the title of the 1969 Rolling Stones song with the events that led to the notorious Tate-LaBianca murders by Charles Manson’s “family” members.

Mondo Snarfo

Robert Crumb Mondo Snarfo “Grim Grids” complete three-page story original art (Kitchen Sink, 1978), sold for $131,450.

Another top Underground lot was the Robert Crumb Mondo Snarfo “Grim Grids” Complete Three-Page Story Original Art (Kitchen Sink, 1978). The book sold for $131,450!

A Flash Comics #1 (DC, 1940) FN+ 6.5 CGC pulled in $107,550. This is one of fewer than a dozen copies nicer than FN/VF 5.0 or better known to exist.

More Fun Comics #73 (DC, 1941) VF 8.0 CGC, another coveted issue, went for $104,562.50. In particularly high demand because it includes the origin and first appearance of Aquaman and Green Arrow, its NM- value jumped 43 percent from 2015 to 2016 – the largest jump of any book on Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics list.

Additional Top Lots

— An Alex Raymond Flash Gordon Sunday Comic Strip Original Art dated 8-14-38 (King Features Syndicate): $95,600
• Robert Crumb Le Monde Selon Crumb [The World According To Crumb] Promotion Poster Original Art (C.N.B.D.I., 1991): $77,675
— A Bill Watterson Calvin and Hobbes Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 4-21-86 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1986): $77,675
• A Marvel Comics #1 (Timely, 1939) GD/VG 3.0 CGC: $77,675
— A Jack Davis MAD #6 Complete Six-Page Story “Casey at the Bat!” Original Art (EC, 1953): $77,675

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