Official Press Release
The world paid rapt attention to Heritage Auctions, and to the soaring market for fine comic books and choice original art, in the last two weeks of February as the company staged back-to-back record setting auctions – Signature® Illustration Art on Feb. 18 ($4.5 million+) and Signature® Vintage Comics and Comic Art on Feb. 25 ($5.6 million).
This biggest story to come out of the two auctions, and perhaps any auction in the nation so far this year, was the $1,075,500 total price (including Buyer’s Premium) paid for an exceedingly rare high grade CGC-certified 8.0 copy of Detective #27, the first appearance of “The Batman,” which became the single most valuable comic book on the planet at 2:26 p.m. CT on Thursday, Feb. 25.
“We knew a couple months ago that this Detective #27 was a good candidate to break the previous auction record for a comic book of $317,000,” said Lon Allen, Director of the Comics Department at Heritage, “and then around the time of the auction we suspected it could go as high as $800,000. The fact that it then topped seven figures, and nosed out Superman for the world record price was simply amazing to us all. I’ve never been in an auction room with such excitement.”
The stunning price of $1,075,500 for a single comic book wasn’t the only record set in Heritage Auctions’ Signature® Vintage Comics and Comics Art Auction. The $5.6 million total for the event broke the Guinness World Record of $5,207,430.65 set by the same firm in October 2002 for the auction that included the famed collection of actor Nicolas Cage.
“What we’re seeing now with vintage comic books and original comic art,” said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auctions, “is nothing less than the full maturation of the category into a widely respected and recognized category for serious collectors from across the planet.”
While Detective #27 dominated the news cycle around the world for three straight days, making headlines and front pages from Asia to South America, the auction saw several other records fall in the process, including the astounding $179,250 price paid for Alberto Vargas’ truly stunning Vargas Girl, Playboy Illustration, October 1963, from The Playboy Collection.
“This is a great record on a number of levels,” said Jaster. “Not only is it the highest price ever paid for an original Vargas, it also represents the most ever paid for an original piece of Playboy art. Looking at this piece it’s obvious that it’s one of Vargas’ best works and well deserving of such an exalted price.”
A famous comic that would have been the uncontested highlight of almost any other auction, the Marvel Comics #1 Pay Copy (Timely, 1939), CGC-certified 9.0, sold for $227,050, making it the third-most expensive comic ever sold at Heritage. “We believe this to be one of the top ten auction prices ever paid for a comic in any venue,” Jaster noted.
Original Charles Schulz artwork has now cracked six figures for the third time in a Heritage auction as a Charles Schulz Peanuts Snoopy vs. The Red Baron Sunday Comic Strip Original Art from July 31, 1966 barnstormed its way to a $101,575 total.
Another sign of how much elite comics have appreciated is Green Lantern #1 (DC, 1960) CGC NM 9.4 from 1960. Heritage previously auctioned this copy in 2003 for $18,975, a smashing price as the time that was quadruple the book value. But just seven years later it realized $50,787.50.
The original art section had many pleasant surprises, perhaps none more so than the Wally Wood Daredevil #7 page 7 Original Art (Marvel, 1965) that realized $35,580. “Up to now the only Marvel artists of that era to fetch that kind of price for a panel page were the two greats Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko,” Jaster said.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ 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 HA.com.
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