Bruneau rings in the New Year with a sale of White Glove sole proprietor comics
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos courtesy of Bruneau & Co.
CRANSTON, RI – A comic book collector who became a follower of Travis Landry thanks to the pop culture evaluator’s appearances on Antiques Tour is even more of a fan now, thanks to Bruneau & Co.’s success with 20 high-end Marvel comics the company sold in a single sale on Jan. 1. All lots were sold, achieving “white glove” sale status, with a combined total of $732,990.
The unidentified Midwestern collector has been selling things through Bruneau & Co. for several months and recently called Landry to say it was time for him to sell his prized comic book collection. Landry boarded a plane with a duffel bag and after walking through the client’s mother’s basement, returned the same day with 20 graduated, sealed volumes that became the company’s first sale of the new Year. The client’s final 12 comics, all unrated and of more modest value, will go on sale on February 26.
“It was a great sale,” Landry said when we caught up with him after the sale. “All the buyers were American; we all knew them, although it is fair to say that there was international interest. He noted that the sale attracted around 3,600 registered bidders across all online platforms, about a third of the number who register for the company’s regular comic book sale; only one bidder chose to bid by telephone, but did not win any lots.
A New York City private collector bidding on LiveAuctioneers purchased three lots, including the highest-priced flyer of the sale: a CGC 8.0-rated copy of The Fantastic Four #1. The issue that launched the Marvel Universe as it is known today and featured the origin and first appearance of not only the Fantastic Four but also Moleman, fetched $150,000, three times its estimate low. According to the comic book census, only 20 such copies exist, with about three dozen issues in better condition.
“It’s a new market record for this issue in this condition,” Bruneau said. “The last copy at this level sold in December 2019 for $60,000, so we almost tripled the record. But what’s really interesting is that last April, a copy rated 8.5s sold for $132,000; it even beat that. Most buyers buy to invest. Once a book hits an all-time high, it pulls all subsequent sales up.
Landry said his father, a retired police chief, will personally deliver the The Fantastic Four BD, as well as the collector’s other purchases – The Incredible Hulk #1 in 6.5 CGC graded condition for $68,750, and, for $51,250, a 9.2 graded copy of strange tales #110.
The first batch of the sale was a 5.5-grade amazing fantasy #15 number one, which is considered the “number one” book of Silver Age comics and was the issue in which Spiderman debuted, in 1964. Estimated at $50/80,000, it grossed 87 $500.
Collectors are keen to collect the issues in which the characters make their first appearance and the sale had several. Iron Man debuted in 1963 in tales of suspense #39; an 8.5 CGC-rated copy with cover art by Jack Kirby shattered expectations to fetch $84,375 while Tales to Astonish #27, the issue in which Ant-Man first appeared, in an extremely rare 9.0 rating, fetched $61,200. With a rating of 7.5, $52,500 was considered a very high price for amazing spider man #1.
The surprise of the day, according to Landry, was the result obtained for night werewolf #1, which had a rating of 9.8 and is one of only three known copies. The latest batch of the sale closed much higher than expected, realizing $49,200, more than six times its high estimate.
“The seller is delighted!” said Landry. “He called me just as I was coming down from the podium to congratulate me.”
Bruneau & Co., will sell more comics at an online-only auction on January 26.
Prices shown include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For more information, www.bruneauandco.com or 401-533-9980.