Official Press Release
A CGC Near Mint 9.2 graded copy of The Incredible Hulk #1, long considered one of the most difficult Silver Age Marvel comics to find in high grade, brought $125,475 as part of Heritage Auctions’ $4.8 million Vintage Comics and Comic Art Auction, Nov. 19-21, in Dallas.
“Overall we’re very pleased, of course,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Comics Operations at Heritage Auctions. “The market is quite strong. Collectors took full advantage of great prices on a broad and striking array of superb books and vintage art and our consignors fared just as well – we had seven consignors bring in more than $100,000 and four of those surpassed $200,000.”
The Marvel line as we know it today had not been around very long when The Incredible Hulk debuted; it was Marvel’s second Silver Age superhero series, appearing with a May 1962 cover date – preceded only by the Fantastic Four, which was merely on its fourth issue. Spider-Man and Thor followed before 1962 was out, but Marvel had hardly put itself on the map in the minds of superhero collectors by this point, and the whole Hulk series was no overnight success, being canceled after six issues. Needless to say, not a lot of Hulk #1s survived, and those that did were mostly in poor condition, as the midnight blue cover background ruthlessly exposed even the smallest imperfection in any given copy.
Mint and Near Mint Golden Age comics are always highly sought after in Heritage comic events, and the November 18-20 auction was no different as a CGC Near Mint 9.4 unrestored copy of Human Torch #2 realized an exceptional $92,612.
“This comic, which comes from the Gary Keller Collection, was purchased by Keller in 2006 for $74,750,” said Sandoval. “In just three years the book gained almost $18,000 in value, The fact that it went for more now shows what a savvy collector he is and also that the market is still strong.”
A CGC-certified Very Fine/Near Mint 9.0 copy of Showcase #22 Green Lantern, one of the two highest graded copies of this seminal issue to ever appear, also from the Gary Keller Collection, realized a stunning final price of $59,750. Keller’s collecting savvy showed once again as this comic, also bought by Keller in 2006, more than tripled in value over what he paid for it, as top collectors realize how hard this particular comic is to find in high grade.
Original Peanuts artwork continued to be a steady staple of the comics market, with the several examples in the auction performing well across the board, led by an important June 25, 1961 Sunday strip featuring Snoopy, which was scooped up by a smart collector at $53,775. This example dates to an important period in the life of America’s favorite comic strip as Schulz’s ability as an artist grew exponentially and Snoopy began thinking his own thoughts and became the heart and soul of the title.
Heritage Auctions set a record for original fanzine illustration art with Steve Ditko’s Comic Crusader #4 Mr. A “Debaters” Splash Page (1968) realizing an incredible $38,837 against a pre-auction estimate of $5,000+. Ditko’s unique philosophical hero has influenced scores of fans and professionals alike and stands as one of the great artist’s finest creations.
Anytime original Todd McFarlane art comes on the block it is always hotly contested, and the original 1989 Cover Art for Amazing Heroes Preview Special #170 brought out the competitive side of collectors as it soared to $26,000. In 1989 there was no bigger star in comic art than McFarlane and this cover appeared when he was still the regular artist on Amazing Spider-Man.
Rounding out the top offerings from the auction is a copy of Detective Comics #31, Davis Crippen (“D” Copy) pedigree (DC, 1939) CGC FN- 5.5, a beautiful, unrestored copy of this important issue, a book that sports one of the most famous comic book covers of all time, which realized $26,290, almost $10,000 more than the last time Heritage sold the same copy, while the John Buscema and Dan Adkins Sub-Mariner #8 Sub-Mariner vs. the Thing Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968), featuring a fantastic clash between two Silver Age titans, brought $19,120.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $700 million, and 475,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.
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