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Storied Star Wars collection coming to auction Nov. 14-16

One of the most extensive collections of Star Wars memorabilia, amassed by Russell Branton, is coming to the auction market Nov. 14-16 through Hake's Americana.

YORK, Pa. – Hake’s Americana will conclude its stellar 50th year with a Nov. 14-16 auction of extremely rare comic books, original comic art, political items, concert posters, Disney and sports memorabilia. Accordingly, the centerpiece of the sale is the 100% AFA-grade Russell Branton Star Wars collection. Branton’s extraordinary assemblage of vintage Star Wars rarities rates as the finest in the hobby. It will be in the auction spotlight during the Nov. 16 session.

As is the tradition at Hake’s, the auction will open with early American political memorabilia. A 1920 “Americanize America Vote For Cox And Roosevelt” jugate button is the section’s headliner. It is considered the most iconic and desired button in the world of political campaign material. Its rarity is like that of the Honus Wagner T206 tobacco card or Action Comics #1. High-grade examples of this button seldom appear at auction. The one in Hake’s sale may reach $35,000-$50,000.

Eyes on 1860 Flag

Meanwhile, a superb 1860 Stephen A. Douglas/Herschel V. Johnson portrait flag of red, white and blue glazed cotton is also on offer. It is among the legendary small selection of political flags on the backing of a quilt. It is one of perhaps eight to exist. Two other examples reside in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute and the National Museum of American History. A vibrantly hued and historically important survivor, it is estimated at $20,000-$35,000.

In addition, coming to auction is a top baseball prize in a real-photo postcard depicting the Negro League Homestead Grays of 1930. It is one of only two known examples. It represents the first of three consecutive years in which Harrison Studio (Hot Springs, Ark.) issued such cards. Estimate: $20,000-$20,000

From December 1953, a copy of Playboy #1 with Marilyn Monroe featured on the cover and as the inside centerfold is CGC graded 8.5. The auction estimate on this rare and iconic issue is $20,000-$35,000.

A Japanese-made Mickey and Minnie Mouse Driving Donald Duck celluloid wind-up toy will come up for bid. Accompanying the 1930s toy is a colorful pictorial box that Hake’s experts have never seen before. Estimate: $5,000-$10,000

Comic Book Legends Represent

The star of the comic book category is a CGC 7.5 VF issue of Marvel’s Amazing Fantasy #15

Amazing Fantasy _SpiderMan

Amazing Fantasy #15, Marvel, August 1962, CGC 7.5, first appearance of The Amazing Spider-Man, estimate $100,000+.

(August 1962). This sought-after Silver Age comic introduces The Amazing Spider-Man (Peter Parker) and is the first to show him on the cover. Furthermore, any collector waiting for a high-grade copy of this important issue to turn up at auction would be hard pressed to find a nicer example. Estimate: $100,000+

Furthermore, the auction contains three great original artworks by legendary comic book artist Jack “King” Kirby. His pencil-and-ink art for Page 8 of the Sept. 1962 issue of Marvel’s Incredible Hulk features eight fantastic Space Age panels and may be the earliest known Hulk art by Kirby in existence. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000.

Moreover, his 7-panel rendering of the Human Torch and the Fantastic Four was created for the story “The Sorcerer And Pandora’s Box” in Marvel’s Strange Tales #109 (June 1963) and is estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Kirby’s 6-panel comic book page original art for Marvel’s Thor #174 (March 1970) could reach the $5,000-$10,000 range.

Appeal of Comic Book Art

Similarly, a sensational entry, John Byrne’s original comic book cover art for Marvel’s Fantastic Four #289 (April 1986) is an active scene featuring Human Torch in flames, amid wreckage. Plus, he's surrounding Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and Hulk’s cousin She-Hulk, who was standing in for The Thing. Furthermore, not only is it an artistic treasure, it contain annotations in the margins with desirable artist’s instructions and Byrne's signature in the UPC box.

“Bidders may be shocked to find that the opening bid is only $100, but the consignor is confident that its true market value will be determined by collectors,” Winter said. Estimate: $20,000-$35,000

Additionally, another lot of note is Daniel Clowes’ original comic book cover art for Urban Legends #1 (Dark Horse, June 1993), which starkly depicts a bug-eyed man about to bite into a batter-fried rat. With his offbeat approach to humor, Clowes enjoys a cult following that may compare to Robert Crumb. His original art is popular, especially those appearing on covers. Consequently, this one, by Clowes, carries an estimate of $20,000 to $35,000.

Also, experts view the extraordinary Russell Branton Star Wars collection is among the crème de la crème of its class. Co-owner of Toy & Comic Heaven and top Star Wars expert James Gallo has described it as “the very best quality vintage Star Wars collection ever to be offered for public sale,” noting that it includes “high-grade carded figures as well as sealed vehicles and playsets.” Additionally, the collection’s contents are 100% graded.

History-Making Star Wars Collection

“This auction is uncharted territory for the hobby. While graded action figures have been around for several years, many of the extremely rare examples in Branton’s collection have never before appeared at auction with the distinction of AFA grading,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Americana.

In addition, from the day he began collecting in 2003, Branton has always focused on condition. “I wouldn’t buy anything that had a low grade. That’s why it took me 10 years to complete my collection,” he said.

Finally, this leads to the reason why Branton has chosen to sell: he has reached his goal of acquiring every original-trilogy character from Kenner’s 1977-1986 production line. And all possess AFA grading.

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