Three early Detective comics sell for combined $77,790 in multi-estate sale

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – Three early Detective Comics from the late 1930s sold for a combined $77,790 at a multi-estate sale held the weekend of Feb. 27-28 by Philip Weiss Auctions. The top lot of the sale was Detective Comics #28, from June 1939 and featuring Batman in only his second comic book appearance. The unrestored example brought $30,510.

A copy of Detective Comics #1 (March 1937), with cover art by Vin Sullivan depicting the Fu Manchu-style Oriental villain Ching Lung on the cover, made $28,250; while a copy of Detective Comics #2 (April 1937), showing a thug getting the gun knocked out of his hand by a policeman on the cover, fetched $19,210. Also, a fine copy of Batman Comic #3 rose to $11,565.

All the comics in the sale were from the estate of noted cartoonist Eldon Dedini. His massive collection consisted of many key Golden Age books, all unrestored, with the owner’s name and code numbers written on the covers. Dedini personally bought each of the comic books in his collection off the newsstand. The auction also featured Dedini’s original comic art.

The Feb. 28 session was dedicated to Dedini’s collections. February 27 saw nearly 675 lots of toys and trains cross the block, featuring a Lionel train collection, still in the original boxes that had been in storage for over 50 years.

The two-day event grossed more than $500,000. “The freshness to the market and the wonderful condition of the merchandise was reflected in the high sale prices,” Mr. Weiss said. “Prices continue to remain strong for the fresh, high-end material. People are taking advantage of the opportunity to go after hard-to-find and rare items, paying top dollar for the better things.”

Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.

A Bing train set, circa 1913, with two locomotives and three passenger cars, rolled away for $1,243. One locomotive was a 0-4-0 and the other a 4-4-0. The passenger cars were a pair of 1207s and a 1250. Also included in the set were 12 pieces of straight track and 7 pieces of curved track, plus other accessories. Overall, the set exhibited the scuffs and scratches typical for its age.

From the Lionel collection: a Lionel 298W O Gauge passenger set, in excellent condition, including a 238E engine and 600 series passenger cars with set box, achieved $1,135; a Lionel 392 engine, 392W tender and three Stephen Girard cars (424, 425, 426), all excellent, made $1,695; and a 714K Boxcar, 715K Tank Car and 716K Hopper, boxed, went for $2,825.

A Krazy Kat Sunday comic page by George Joseph Herriman (1880-1944), undated, showing Krazy Kat and Ignatz, with Ignatz flying into the scene on a balloon, realized $9,040. Also, a pair of Charles Schulz original daily Peanuts comic strips, one from 1952 with Lucy and a tennis theme and one from 1962 with a baseball and psychiatry theme, brought $18,080 each.

A pair of 5-inch by 6-inch animation production cels from the classic Disney movie Snow White commanded $5,085 each. One showed Snow White in a waist-up image, wide-eyed, with the covers pulled up to her chin. The other showed Snow White seated, also wide-eyed, with a sleeping rabbit on her lap. Both cels came straight from the closet of an old Long Island home.

For more information, call Philip Weiss Auctions at 516-594-0731, or e-mail them at, or visit their Web site at

Photos courtesy Philip Weiss Auctions.

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