Collectors converged in force on Heritage Auctions‘ May 13-14, 2016 Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, driving a stunning $6.55+ million total prices realised behind a near-perfect 99.9% sell-through rate by both value and total lots offered that included the sale of an original piece by Frank Frazetta, “The Norseman”, for a whopping $454,100 record price.
Huge prices were also realised for original X-Men art originally bought for just £30 by a British collector; original Charles Schulz Peanuts art; and superb Bernie Wrightson Frankenstein art
“The impressive totals from this auction speak as much to the overall strength of the comic and comic art market as they do to the incredible array of great material offered here,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations for Comics and Comic Art at Heritage. “Consider this: we had 20 lots in this auction sell for more than $50,000. That’s enough to impress even the most seasoned collector.”
No piece in the auction garnered more attention than Frank Frazetta‘s original art for “The Norseman” (1972), which soared amidst spirited bidding to bring a $454,100 final price realised, a record price at auction for the legendary artist.
“The early 1970s were a strong and prolific period for this master painter,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President at Heritage, “and this has everything you would expect in a Frazetta barbarian masterpiece and was a personal favourite of the artist.”
Original X-Men art is always highly sought-after in Heritage comics events, but Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum X-Men #95 original cover art, the earliest cover of the “All-New, All-Different” X-Men Heritage has ever handled, proved especially popular as it brought home an impressive $155,350 final price. The consignor of the piece, Richard Paul, who was in the audience with his wife, expressed his joy at seeing the sale as he was interviewed for BBC Television, stating that he bought the piece for just £30 at a comic show more than 30 years ago.
Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott‘s Fantastic Four #52 unused first Black Panther cover original art saw its historical significance — the first rendition of a black superhero for the cover of a major mainstream comic book back in 1966 (a different version was ultimately used) — drive its final price to an impressive $131,450, the highest price ever achieved for an unpublished piece of original comic art, while Bernie Wrightson‘s creepy and amazing Page 154 illustration original art fromFrankenstein (1976) — the first time in seven years Heritage has offered a piece of art from this masterwork — brought a notable $95,600 final price.
One of the auction’s very best moments came when the original Charles Schulz Peanuts Sunday Comic Strip original art from 9th August 1953 (United Feature Syndicate, 1953) — saw intense bidding push the final price for the piece to $83,650.
“This strip features a funny and classic final panel in one of the very best Peanuts examples we’ve ever seen,” said Sandoval. “Every single character that had premiered to that point is in the last panel: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Shermy, Patty, baby Linus, Lucy, Schroeder and Violet, and Lucy. Charlie Brown still looks very young here, Snoopy is still a puppy and the final gag is one that Schulz would return to again and again.”
Further highlights include, but were not limited to:
- George Perez Justice League of America #200 Wraparound Cover Original Art (DC, 1982)
A record auction price for George Perez, thanks to every character in all-out action. Realized $77,675.
- Playboy #1 Newsstand Edition (HMH Publishing, 1953) CGC NM 9.4
A stunning record price for this Playboy #1 featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover, it brought $30,000 more than the previous record price. Realized $71,700.
- Pep Comics #34 San Francisco Pedigree (MLJ, 1942) CGC NM- 9.2
Only the second copy of Pep #34 that Heritage has offered, with the last one being a VG 4.0). A classic Nazi/bondage/hypodermic needle/skull cover by Bob Fujitani, with a “bullet-in-the-head” panel and an Archie story inside. Realized $57,360.
- Superman #1 Incomplete (DC, 1939) CGC PR 0.5
From the front, this looks like a mid-grade copy, but the missing back cover makes this a Poor condition comic book. The final price realized, however, is a first for the hobby for a comic in this modest grade. Realized $57,360.
- Richie Rich #1 File Copy (Harvey, 1960) CGC NM+ 9.6
One of the most desirable copies of any Harvey comic in existence. The final price on this comic is a record price by more than $20,000. Realized $48,995.
- Captain Marvel Adventures #nn (#1) (Fawcett Publications, 1941) CGC VG/FN 5.0
This is currently tied for the highest-grade of any unrestored copy of the book, illustrating the validity of Overstreet’s assertion that the book is “rarely found in Fine or Mint condition,” due to being printed on unstable paper stock. One of Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics. Realized $38,240
• For more about Heritage Auctions visit www.comics.ha.com
Thanks to Dan Butcher and Tony Esmond for spotting this item