‘Blazing Combat’ comic book art commands over $100K

YORK, Pa. – Hake’s Americana continued its long winning streak July 10-12 with a $1.9 million sale. The two-day auction, with a gap day in between sessions, was the 11th auction of the last 12 hosted by Hake’s to break the $1 million mark.

Exceptional circa-1821 textile printing of the Declaration of Independence. Sold for $20,774 against an estimate of $1,000-$5,000.

Exceptional circa-1821 textile printing of the Declaration of Independence. Sold for $20,774 against an estimate of $1,000-$5,000.

Rare comics and original comic art ruled the top 10, with two original Frank Frazetta (American, 1928-2010) artworks finishing at the very top of prices realized. Although primarily known for his distinctive horror and fantasy art, Frazetta mastered other art genres, as well.

Hake’s auction contained Frazetta’s original color cover artwork for two issues of Blazing Combat, a comic/magazine published from October 1965 to July 1966. The publication featured war stories in both contemporary and period settings, but its run was short, lasting only four issues. Each of the Frazetta cover artworks created for this obscure title was offered with a $75,000-$100,000 estimate. Issue #2, from January 1966, reached $112,536, while issue #4, from July 1966, followed closely behind at $101,386.

Comic Books

“Detective Comics” #36, February 1940, first appearance and origin of Dr. Hugo Strange, $28,997.

“Detective Comics” #36, February 1940, first appearance and origin of Dr. Hugo Strange, $28,997.

A selection of 1,300 comic books from the Golden through Modern Age included 450 that were CGC certified. Most coveted among them were the first issues and those whose storyline debuted a key character – for example Detective Comics #38, which introduces Batman’s sidekick Robin the Boy Wonder. Hake’s offered a CGC-graded 5.5 Fine example of the April 1940 comic, with boldly colorful cover art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. It came from a recently discovered Golden Age comic book collection whose original owner purchased the comics new off the rack in the 1930s and ’40s. Detective Comics #38 sold within estimate for $58,410, while an example of Detective Comics #36, published in 1940 and featuring the background and first appearance of Dr. Hugo Strange, was bid to $28,997.

Star Wars

“Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” six-pack of 3.75-inch scaled figures, 1981. Provenance: Russell Branton. Sold for $28,556

“Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” six-pack of 3.75-inch scaled figures, 1981. Provenance: Russell Branton. Sold for $28,556

Star Wars enthusiasts leaped at the third consecutive auction opportunity to acquire action figures from the Russell Branton collection. Leading the lineup entered in the July sale was a Star Wars: Power of the Force Anakin Skywalker carded Kenner mock-up figure from the 1985 Toy Fair. The fully painted prototype came with its hand-cut proof card with coin and blister pack, and made an impressive ascent to $31,411.

Political Memorabilia

Political memorabilia once again produced stellar results. The predicted big winner, a 1916 campaign button with patriotic imagery surrounding a portrait of Republican presidential candidate and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, surpassed its $20,000 high estimate to declare victory at $23,558. Another high-flier in the category was a circa-1820 textile imprinted with the Declaration of Independence, which sold for $20,774 – more than four times its high estimate.

A fresh-to-the-hobby, 1913 original photo-postcard depicting the multi-racial All-Nations Baseball Club attracted international media attention in the run-up to the sale. The card depicts the earliest known international barnstorming baseball team to travel around the United States. The postcard, which doubled as a free pass for the media, sold within its estimate range at $14,278.

To discuss consigning to a future Hake’s Americana auction, call 866-404-9800 or 717-434-1600 or email hakes@hakes.com, or visit www.hakes.com. 

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