"Detective" #27 to Bring $400,000 in Heritage Auction

Tue, July 27th, 2010 at 5:12pm PDT

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

Official Press Release

"Detective Comics" #27 is on its way to becoming the second most valable comic book ever

With two weeks to go until the Aug. 5 Signature® Comics & Comic Art Auction at Heritage Auctions, the CGC-graded 7.5 VF “Aloha Copy” of Detective #27 - Batman’s famous first appearance - is already on its way to becoming at least the second most valuable comic book ever offered at public auction, and easily the lead lot in one of Heritage’s deepest comic and comic art auctions to date.

“If the hammer were to fall on the ‘Aloha Copy’ right now,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage Auctions, “the total price would be $487,000, almost $100,000 against the low end of our pre-auction estimate, and there are still two weeks of bidding left. We expect this comic to go substantially higher.”

The anonymous consignor of the comic was a college student in Hawaii in 1974 when he paid $1,200 for the book. Flash forward more than 35 years and he now stands to recoup, potentially, a return upwards of 30,000% on his initial investment.

“The consignor saw the massive coverage of the sale of several high profile early comics this year, including an 8.0 copy of the same comic book that we sold for $1,075,000 in February,” said Lon Allen, Managing Director of Comics and Comic Art at Heritage Auctions, “and decided the time had come to see what his copy was worth, and if it would pay for his son’s college education. I think it’s safe to say right now that it will.”

The Kerby Confer Collection of Disney Art has created quite a buzz among collectors of Uncle Walt’s famous imagery, led by the news that the collection includes no less than 10 original Uncle Scrooge paintings, done by the hand of his creator, Carl Barks. The unquestionable anchor of the grouping is one of the largest paintings ever done by Barks – and one of the artist’s own favorites – An Embarrassment of Riches (1983), which is estimated to bring $100,000+.

“It’s a point of special contention that we are offering all of these amazing original paintings without reserve,” said Jaster. “It’s a good day when even one original Barks painting appears on the market, let alone 10 of the very best, let alone all of them being offered without any reserve. The top collectors are going to love this.”

Some of the specialists at Heritage are calling the original Frank Frazetta artwork for Pony Tail (The Tritonian Ring Paperback Cover), 1967, the best Frazetta artwork that the company has yet offered at public auction, made even more poignant by the fact of the master’s passing just more than a month ago. It is expected that this piece is going to bring $85,000+.

“Frazetta redefined the field of fantasy art with his electrifying paperback covers of the 1960s,” said Jaster. “He set a new standard of excellence for all others to aspire to, and this is one of the best examples of his tremendous talent. Since the day they first saw print, his visceral visions of heroic conflict, terrifying creatures of the night and tantalizing women have inspired and entertained scores of creative talents and readers alike.”

Original artwork from Jack “The King” Kirby is among the most sought-after items for advanced collectors, who are all carefully eying the spectacular original Kirby art from page 8 of Journey Into Mystery #83, 1962, the first appearance of Thor and his enchanted hammer Mjolnir. This museum-worthy milestone in comic art is estimated at $50,000+.

“The Arctic Circle Copy” of Batman #1, (DC, 1940) CGC FN- 5.5 White pages, is one of the very finest copies of this much sought-after comic book to surface in quite awhile. The early estimate on the comic had its potential price at $40,000+, a mark that seems sure to fall as bidding is already at $32,500 (that’s $38,839 with Buyer’s Premium).

“The ‘white pages’ here are the real deal,” said Jaster. “No surprise, really, since this copy has been stored less than 150 miles from the Arctic Circle, in Fairbanks, Alaska, since at least 1974. We've never offered an unrestored copy certified with white pages before this one, despite handling more than 50 copies over the years, and note that just 16 unrestored copies have been certified with a higher grade.”

This issue continues to be one of the most desirable comic books in the hobby. It's got the first appearances of two absolute "household name" characters, the Joker and Catwoman. We've heard the case made that Batman #1 should be ranked ahead of Superman #1 in value and behind only Action #1 and Detective #27.

Further highlights include, but certainly are not limited to:

Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, and George Roussos Batman #13 "The Batman Plays a Lone Hand" page 13 Original Art (DC, 1942): Switch on the Bat-Signal, Batfans – This is one of the earliest panel pages of Batman art Heritage has offered yet. Batman and Robin are featured in every panel of this spectacular showpiece, and the final panel spotlighting the dynamic duo is truly iconic. Estimate: $25,000+.

Bernie Wrightson House of Mystery #1 Paperback Cover Original Art (Warner Books, 1972): Bernie Wrightson, a key founding member of the legendary art group, the Studio, was in peak form for this Bronze Age cover illustration. This "terror-iffic" scene was created for the 1973 Warner Books collection of eight spine-tingling Jack Oleck prose stories. For a Wrightson fan-addict, it just doesn't get better than this. Estimate: $20,000+.

George Herriman Last-Ever Krazy Kat Sunday Comic Strip Original Art dated 6-25-44 (King Features Syndicate, 1944): In the sparse landscape of Coconino County, Offisa Pup dives into action to rescue Krazy in this final Krazy Kat Sunday by George Herriman. A fitting finale to a legendary strip, this is Herriman's final visit with the denizens of Coconino, and it contains images of Ignatz, Krazy and Offisa Pup. Estimate: $15,000+.

Jack Kirby Silver Star: Graphite Edition Book Cover/Presentation Drawing Original Art (c. 1977): This super spectacular presentation drawing is considered to be among the largest finished pencil pieces that Kirby did, and it's showcased prominently on pages 4 and 5 of Mark Evanier's fabulous monograph, Kirby, King of Comics, Abrams, 2008. Estimate: $10,000+.

TAGS:  heritage auctions, detective comics, bernie wrightson, jack kirby, frank frazetta

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