Breaking US Comic Records
Tripwire’s senior editor Andrew Colman takes a look at the latest Heritage Signature Auction which just closed and broke new records with some of its items…
Heritage’s last Signature Auction proved that the auction house is now, along with its two rivals, the focal point of the market for high-end collectible American comics. Achieving its highest ever accumulated total for its mammoth event auction of $26,500,000, the company eclipsed previous records across the board in its considerably in-depth catalogue on several fronts – apart from the original art, there was another tranche of the Promise Collection of high grade Golden Age books, the number 1 registry set of Silver Age Amazing Spider-Mans, and also the Pinnacle Hill collection of high grade M L J books from the early 40s. All bases were covered in this tour de force, and proved that despite the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic over the last 18 months, the comics market actually has soared in 2021 due to the arrival of moneyed investors looking elsewhere from currently static traditional avenues, seeking fresh markets, including of course collectibles. Lon Allen, Vice President and Managing Director of Comics at Heritage had mentioned on visits to the U.K. from three or four years ago that Signature Auctions generally accrued around $8,000,000, but as one can see, the market has exploded somewhat, with Heritage providing far more lots than even the market from two years ago could bear.
The main highlight of course was the world record setting price attained for an Amazing Fantasy 15 graded at CGC 9.6 (NM+) of $3,600,000 – an astonishing figure when you bear in mind that this is a Silver Age book, and not a Golden Age behemoth such as traditional blue chip comics like Action Comics 1, Detective Comics 27, Marvel Comics 1 or Captain America Comics 1. Not only that but there are two other copies of this book in the same grade. Spider-Man’s stock has never been higher, and the perceived gap between the Golden and Silver Age markets is closing. A sole highest graded copy of Amazing Spider-Man 14 (1st Green Goblin) in CGC 9.8 went for $210,000, and there were many other examples, with early numbers easily garnering six figures, along with surprises like Amazing Spider-Man 31 (1st Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy and Professor Miles Warren) in CGC 9.8 going for $96,000. There were also high grade copies of most of the Marvel keys on offer, many of which went for six figures.
What was remarkable in the Golden Age section of the auction was that there were copies of Marvel Comics 1, Sub-Mariner Comics 1 (San Francisco copy) and Captain America Comics 1 that all did extremely well but were slightly overlooked due to the fresh batch of Promise Collection books on offer – highest graded L.B. Cole classics such as the Suspense Comics 11 in CGC 9.8 (selling for $132,000) Suspense Comics 8 in CGC 9.2 ($60,000) and also the Terrific Comics 5 in CGC 9.0 ($75,000) generated much interest with collectors. Aside from this there were the Mile High Pep Comics and Pinnacle Hill MLJs, with a huge amount of titles on offer – MLJs (which eventually morphed into Archie Comics) are heavily sought after amongst collectors due to their off-kilter, evocative and sinister covers by the likes of Harry Lucey, Bob Montana and Irv Novick, and the fever for these throughout the auction was fierce. The Mile High Pep Comics 20, featuring a classic Holocaust cover, went for $90,000, and the Pep 17 (1st Hangman) went for $48,000, with most of the other Mile Highs doing similar numbers. The Pinnacle Hill MLJs, featuring other titles such as Zip, Blue Ribbon, Top-Notch, Shield-Wizard, Jackpot and Hangman, along with Pep Comics, all attracted serious bidding.
One wonders how Heritage will top this auction, and whether there will be the same enthusiasm for the sheer weight of quality on offer next time, but the market continues to surprise, baffle and defy expectation. At the very least it will be fascinating.
check out ha.com for Heritage’s auctions
Breaking US Comic Records Tripwire’s senior editor Andrew Colman takes a look at the latest Heritage Signature Auction which just closed and broke new records with some of its items… Heritage’s last Signature Auction proved that the auction house is now, along with its two rivals, the focal point of the market for high-end collectible
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