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Original comic art tops $1.9M auction

The comic book boasting the first appearance of Robin the Boy Wonder, Detective Comics #38 from 1940, changed hands for $28,997 during Hake's July 11-12 auction.

YORK, Pa. – Hake’s Americana's July 10-12 sale topped $1.9 million with estimate-smashing highlights. The two-day auction was the 11th of the last 12 hosted by Hake’s to break the million-dollar mark.

“Already, this has been a record year for us,” said Hake’s president Alex Winter. “Our last three auctions have totaled six million dollars, and we still have one more Premier Auction to go in the fall. We couldn’t be happier with the way our second half-century in the antique and vintage collectibles business is unfolding.”

1960s Frazetta Comic Art Earns $112,536 

Rare comics and original comic art ruled the top 10. 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 effortlessly mastered other art genres, as well. Hake’s auction contained Frazetta’s original color cover artwork for two issues of Blazing Combat. This is 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.

More than 1,300 Comic Books Come Before Bidders

Detective Comics_Robin Boy Wonder

First time on offer at auction, this copy of Detective Comics #38, April 1940, with the introduction of Robin the Boy Wonder, CGC 5.5 Fine, realized $58,410. (All photos courtesy Hakes' Americana)

An incomparable 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 was completely fresh to the market and 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, brought $28,997.

Many comic books made short shrift of their pre-sale estimates. Jumbo Comics #5 was cover-dated January 1939 and published as a Christmas issue. Hake’s experts were of the opinion that the oversized “double-cover” edition was likely the only one in existence but could not positively confirm it, e.g., through a worldwide census. In spite of there being no way to certify it as a unique survivor, collectors didn’t hesitate to bid it up to more than 10 times its high estimate, with the winning bidder paying $10,209.

Anakin Skywalker Figure Brings $31,411

Star Wars enthusiasts leaped at the third consecutive auction opportunity to acquire action figures

Star Wars Anakin Skywalker figure

Star Wars: Power of the Force Anakin Skywalker carded Kenner mock-up from 1985 Toy Fair. This figure sold for $31,412.

from the revered 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, the bedrock of Hake’s Americana's legacy, remains a popular draw. 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. “The ‘Give Me Hughes’ button is an extraordinary rarity. It’s the only known example,” Alex Winter said. “Several prominent collectors competed to own it.” 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.

Sporting Memorabilia Changes Hands

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. “What made this team unique is that it was comprised of ballplayers from not only the U.S., but also Hawaii, Japan, Cuba, the Philippines, China and India. They were a formidable presence in baseball and certainly ahead of their time, preceding even the Negro Leagues,” Winter said. 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 Online:

All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 18% buyer’s premium.

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