Spider-Man tops all heroes in $2.1 million Dallas comics auction

DALLAS — Two rare comic books featuring the Silver Age’s most popular costumed hero, the one and only Spider-Man, brought more than $135,000 total at Heritage’s Vintage Comics and Comic Art Auction Aug. 14-15, at the company’s Uptown Dallas headquarters. The auction brought more than $2.1 million in total with a more than 90 percent sell-through rate by lots sold. All prices include 19 1/2 percent buyer’s premium.
"We knew the quality was there," said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage, "and so did our bidders. There was some very smart buying going on for investment-grade comics and comic art. Many of these pieces will not see the market again for quite some time, if ever."
The superb copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel, 1963), CGC NM 9.4, proved that Spider-Man is every bit as popular as his Golden Age DC Comics counterparts, as it brought $83,650 and fueled speculation as to if, and when, a higher grade copy of this same issue might overtake Showcase #4 as the most popular Silver Age comic book. The other part of the Spider-Man equation at the top of the auction was an Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962), CGC VF- 7.5, the first comic introducing America to Peter Parker and his alter-ego, along with his Uncle Ben and Aunt May, realized $52,280.
In the almost 10 years since the death of Charles Schulz, original examples of artwork from his half a century run of Peanuts have proven to be cottage market in and of themselves, with prime examples regularly commanding prices high into the five-figure range. A Schulz trove in this auction would happily prove no exception to that rule, realizing more than $250,000 in total and placing three superb lots in the auction’s top 10, accounting for more than $140,000 of that total.
"There has never been another comic strip that can rival the popularity, and market acumen, of Peanuts," said Jaster. "The prices we regularly see for original Schulz artwork show that Americans regard him not only as a master of Pop Culture but also as a great American illustrator."
A Charles Schulz Peanuts Sunday Comic Strip Original Art, dated 10-23-88 (United Feature Syndicate, 1988), featuring the evergreen theme of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown just as he is about to kick it led all Peanuts offerings as it brought $50,787. Original Sunday art for a strip dated 8-10-80 (United Feature Syndicate, 1980), this one a gem featuring a baseball theme – one of Schulz’s favorite devices – brought $44,812, while a much earlier Sunday original from Schulz, dated 11-4-56 (United Feature Syndicate, 1956), this one with Schroeder and Lucy, also garnered a $44,812 total.
Prices for original comic illustrations were strong across all areas, as a superb and epic original Alex Raymond Flash Gordon Sunday Comic Strip, dated 4-28-35 (King Features Syndicate, 1935) from The Bob Cowan Collection proved its desirability – stemming as it does from the brief and highly sought-after period in which the strip was drawn at a full page, its largest – realized $50,787, while an electrifying Jack Davis Tales From the Crypt #40 "Pearly to Dead" Original Cover Art (EC, 1954), featuring one of the most gruesome ghouls ever put down on paper, realized $47,800.
A much-talked about highlight of the auction includes (but is not limited to) the sale of Archie Comics #1 (Archie, 1942) CGC FN/VF 7.0 Off-white pages. This is the highest-graded copy of one of Overstreet’s top 50 Golden Age comics, and was the subject of much pre-auction publicity due to the owner of this comic, Dave Luebke of Dave’s Comics in Richmond, Va., selling the comic in protest of Archie #600, where everyone’s favorite carrot-top proposes to socialite Veronica instead of blonde girl-next-door Betty. The price that this comic book was bound to, and ultimately did realize, probably also played a large role in the decision. Final price realized: $38,837.
For more information on this and other Heritage auctions, visit www.HA.com.