Over 2,000 comics and examples of pulp literature from a vast single collection is set to come up for auction at a May Specialist Collectors’ Sale by Cuttlestones in Wolverhampton. With the majority of examples dating from the golden – silver age of comic books (1940s – 1960s) and with heavyweight names including DC, Marvel and the latter’s forerunner Atlas well represented alongside more obscure and now defunct names such as Charlton, ACG, and Tower comics, the opportunity is likely to get collectors rather hot under the collar.
The exceptional condition of the collection is going to further pique comic fans’ interest; as Sale Room Manager at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms, Tom Waldron, explains.
“When we discovered this collection during a routine house clearance we couldn’t quite believe our eyes,” says Tom. “The comics and magazines have been exceptionally well preserved; kept in individual bags so that they are in almost pristine condition. The gentleman who amassed it was obviously a true collector and knew exactly what he was doing; comics of the era from which the majority of examples date were printed in far smaller runs than they are today and are rare in any condition; let alone as good as this.
“As a comic fan myself I found it fascinating going through the collection and lotting it up, although it’s been a rather epic task – we look on course to be splitting the collection into over 250 lots by the time the time cataloguing is complete. Comics are a hugely popular area of collecting with fanatics the word over, and we expect the international contingent will be making the most of the live internet, telephone and commission bidding options available to them during this sale.”
Prominent amongst the collection are comics of the superhero genre which, thanks to a recent meteoric upsurge in comic book-inspired films and TV series, are once again household names. DC characters such as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and The Flash are well represented, as are their rivals from Marvel Comics such as Spider-Man, X-Men, Thor, and Daredevil to name a few. The collection features a number of first and early editions in which these heroes make their débuts; an example being a 1963 Marvel Comics X-Men #1, which is expected to fetch anywhere between £400-600.
Other lots of note are a large collection of DC Superman silver age comics guided at £100-200; a 1965 The Amazing Spider-Man #20 featuring the first appearance of The Scorpion guided at £50-100; and a 1963 Marvel Comics Journey into Mystery featuring an early appearance of Thor, guided at £40-60.
And it’s not just superhero titles represented in this collection. During the immediate post-war years, when costume vigilantes fell in popularity, a number of publishers produced works rooted in the speculative genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Legendary writers such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko would make their names in the pages of these diverse titles before going on to create characters we know and love today. One such example up for grabs is a 1960 Atlas / Marvel Comics Tales to Astonish, guided at £300-500, which features the first appearance of the popular character ‘Groot’.
In addition to comics, the collection includes over 50 lots of pulp magazines, annuals and cult genre books such as horror, crime and weird menace – including rare titles from writers such as Hank Janson, Ray Bradbury and H. P. Lovecraft. Titles such as Terror Tales and Horror Stories, published by the American group “A Popular Publication”, are much sought after by collectors and among those on offer are a group of 39 Terror Tales titles which is expected to achieve £150-200.
The collection is set to sell on Friday 9th May at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms. The full catalogue will be available online from Friday 2nd May with viewing taking place on Thursday, 8th May and on the morning of the sale. Live internet, phone and commission bidding options are available for those unable to attend on the day.