The Golden Age comics collection of a Kentucky insurance executive is expected to bring more than $1 million in an online auction that ends Tuesday.
Among the about 175 comics being sold by John C. Wise through ComicConnect are Action Comics #1, All Star Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, Marvel Comics #1, Archie Comics #1 and Wonder Woman #1. However, the jewel of the collection may be a pristine copy of 1940's Flash Comics #1, featuring the first appearances of Jay Garrick, Hawkman and Johnny Thunder.
“This copy is in incredible high-grade condition and is the second-best copy known to exist,” ComicConnect co-owner Vincent Zurzolo told The Associated Press. The current bid for the CGC-graded 9.2 copy of Flash Comics #1 is $91,000; the 7.0 copy of Action Comics #1 is at $75,000.
The record price paid at auction for a comic book is held by a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1, which fetched $2.16 million in 2011.
Wise, 62, began collecting comics at age 12, but sold them to buy a car when he was a teenager. Among his early finds was a $200 copy of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman, which he sold just a few years later for $400. “That comic today would be worth $1 million,” he told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That’s an example of woulda, coulda, shoulda.”
He revived his hobby in the 1980s, leading to what Stephen Fishler of Metropolis Collectibles, sibling company of ComicConnect, characterizes as "one of the great Golden Age collections."
Wise plans to use the proceeds from the auction to buy a new home in San Diego and pay the college tuitions of his seven grandchildren. “My kids would probably rather inherit real estate in San Diego than a collection of comics," he told the Union-Tribune.