Comic Book and Heritage Art Auction Attracts Over $9 Million

Heritage Comics & Comic Art Auction Attracts Over $9 Million

The paperback edition of Jane Gaskell’s 1967 novel The snake with original paintings by Frank Frazetta and Bernie Wrightson Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley featuring endpaper illustration of original artwork from the late 70s sparked a heated bidding war that took comic book and comic book artwork auctions to new heights. ‘Heritage Auctions over $9 million in total sales last weekend. The full range of auctioned artwork and comics can be viewed in the gallery below!

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The snake attracted bidding from 32 collectors before selling for $300,000. Normally a standing semi-nude human figure would be the dominant element of any image, but in this case the woman’s skin almost blends into the color around her, while the black and green snake creates the visual contrast The Strongest. The image was used on the 1967 paperback edition for Jane Gaskell’s The snake, which was the first of the Atlan Saga series.

“Frank Frazetta’s work has been extremely popular among collectors in recent years, so it’s no surprise that interest in The snake was so high,” Heritage Auctions co-chairman Jim Halperin said in a statement. “In addition, the auction included several new artist records, and Variety Store’s collection of freshly released comics produced outstanding results.”

The Bernie Wrightson Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Front Endpapers Illustration Original Art attracted 44 bids before closing at $240,000. Wrightson’s original art for Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is extremely rare. Beginning in 1975, Wrightson spent six years creating images, only three of which were in landscape format. Wrightson is so revered for his work on the project that even images he created that weren’t used in the book are in high demand by serious collectors. Of all his illustrations, it is one of the few that paints a clear portrait of the tortured soul known as “Frankenstein’s Monster”.

This amazing fantasy #15 is the most coveted Silver Age comic of all time, it’s no secret, especially at a high rank. So it was no surprise when amazing fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF 8.0 The Off-White Pages attracted bidding from 67 collectors before closing at $180,000. The Silver Age’s most valuable book includes the origin and first appearance of Spider-Man, as well as Uncle Ben and Aunt May.

Nearly four dozen collectors have sued John Romita Sr. and Mike Esposito (as Mr. Demeo) amazing spider man #41 Splash Page 1 Original Art (Marvel, 1966) until it also fetched $180,000, tripling its pre-auction estimate. The “giant web” homepage features the first image of the Rhino in what was only Romita’s third issue of her long run at the title.

Donald Duck’s 60th birthday celebrated in Carl Barks original art painting from 1994 Surprise party at Memory Pond, which changed hands for $156,000. Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, Uncle Scrooge, Daisy, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Grandma, Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander and Gus Goose are among those present at the celebration in the painting which includes elements of Donald’s first appearance in the screen in the Silly Symphony, “The Wise Little Hen”.

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Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC Apparent FN 6.0 Light to Moderate (A-2) Off-white pages found new owner at $144,000. After action comics #1, it is considered the ultimate prize for any serious Superman collector.

Another elite page of original artwork inspired 32 bidders ahead of Barry Smith x-men #55 Havok Original Art Cover (Marvel, 1969) closed at $132,000. One of Smith’s earliest Marvel covers features Alex Summers, aka Havok, surrounded by the entire X-Men team of Marvel Girl, Iceman, the Angel, the Beast, and Summers’ brother Cyclops.

Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Batman: Return of the Dark Knight #4 Story Page 24 Original Art (DC, 1986) sold for $66,000. On this page of chapter four, titled “The Dark Knight Falls”, Batman convinces the mutants to help save the city.

amazing fantasy #15 made another top lot appearance when nearly four dozen collectors made bids for a signed Stan Lee amazing fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VG+ 4.5 off-white to white pages until it also pulled in $66,000.

Several records were set during the sale, including:

  • Bill Elder Crazy #3 Full 8-Page Story “Dragged Net!” Original work (CE, 1953): $78,000 – a new auction record for the artist
  • Jim Starlin and Frank Giacoia avengers #120 Cover Thor and Iron Man Original Art (Marvel, 1974): $75,000 – a new Heritage Auctions record for the artist
  • George Evans and Jack Kamen Tales from the Crypt #33 Complete 7-Page Story “This Trick Will Kill You!” Original Art (EC, 1952): $26,400 – a new record for Evans and the only piece on which he collaborated with Kamen

The sale included 50 bundles of the freshly released “Variety Store Collection,” a trove of incredibly high-end Marvel titles from the 1960s and 1970s, many carrying ratings of 9.6 and 9.8. The collection has been stored by a Midwestern convenience store owner for years and will feature additional lots featured in future Heritage Comics auctions, including weekly Sunday through Monday night online sales. Among the top lots in this Variety Store collection sale were:

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #50 (Marvel, 1967) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White Pages: $55,200 – nearly double the previous record for the issue
  • The Amazing Spider-Man #39 (Marvel, 1966) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White Pages: $31,200 – more than double the previous high

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The auction also marked the first time Wata-certified Atari games were offered for public auction, setting a number of auction records for sealed Atari games. Atari was established in 1972 in Sunnyvale, California, and pioneered arcade games, video game consoles and systems, and personal computers.

Super Mario Bros. [Hangtab, 3 Code, Mid-Production] Wata 8.0 A Sealed NES Nintendo 1985 USA prompted bidding from 29 collectors before selling for $40,200. Although Heritage has offered complete, sealed copies of this title before, this was the first copy offered of the cardboard tab variant. Sealed flying tab copies of other black box titles previously offered by Heritage Auctions have often sparked competitive bidding, and this game was no exception. This Nintendo Entertainment System launch title is also the best-selling title on the console. Not only is this the first video game in the Super Mario Bros. series, it also marks the first appearance of the Mushroom Kingdom’s greatest threat: Bowser.

Other video game highlights in the sale included, but were not limited to:

  • Zelda II: Link’s Adventure [Rev-A, Round SOQ, Early Production] Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed NES Nintendo 1989 US: $38,400
  • The Legend of Zelda [Oval SOQ TM, Later Production] Wata 9.4 A Sealed 1987 USA: $33,600
  • Mike Tyson Punch!! [Oval SOQ TM, Later Production] Wata 9.2 A Sealed 1987 USA: $33,600
  • the trigger of a stopwatch Wata 9.8 A++ Sealed SNES SquareSoft 1995 US: $28,800
  • Spider Man Wata 9.8 A++ Sealed Atari 2600 Parker Brothers 1982 USA: $9,000
  • Mario Brothers. [1988, Silver box] Wata 9.2 A+ Sealed Atari 2600 Atari 1983 USA: $9,000
  • Frog Wata 9.8 A++ Sealed Atari 2600 Parker Brothers 1982 USA: $5,040

The same $28,000 return was a Nintendo-Mego Game & Watch demo cabinet, a Game & Watch demo cabinet made nearly 40 years ago by an emerging Nintendo but marketed by a company that sold star trek action figures, a game known by two inviting titles: Exterminator Where Vermin.

“We expected it to be quite popular because it’s an early piece of Nintendo history – it even predates the Nintendo Entertainment System by about five years,” said Valarie McLeckie, director of video game consignment Heritage Auctions, in a statement. “But since it is one of two known Game & Watch demo cabinets and the only one of this title, we left it to the market to decide its value. Needless to say, it was a pleasant auction result!

Daniel K. Denny