Chicago’s largest public auction dedicated to vintage comic books and original comic art fetched $12,201,974 – setting the world record for the most valuable sale of its kind.
The top lot claimed its own record when artist Frank Frazetta’s Original Art titled Death Dealer 6, 1990 – first published as the cover for Verotik’s 1996 Death Dealer #2 comic book – more than doubled the all-time auction record for any piece of comic art when it sold for $1.79 million.
“As the live session opened, the Frazetta painting had a bid of $600,000, but within moments it had come down to two collectors, bidding by phone, who waged a pitched battle for this very desirable painting,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Comics Operations at Heritage.
The sale surpassed the previous record for the world’s most valuable comic book auction by more than $1.8 million, a record also set by Heritage Auctions in July 2012 at $10,389,821. The three-day, 1,684-lot auction held May 10-12 offered examples of the world’s rarest comic books, including a copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938), CGC VG 4.0, which sold for $573,600. Featuring the first appearance of Superman, the copy was sold by a longtime American comic book collector who paid $50,000 for the copy 15 years ago.
In addition to the copy of Action Comics #1, key books in high-grade condition broke the six-figure barrier. An issue of Batman #1 (DC, 1940), CGC FN- 5.5, never before offered for sale, sold for $227,050. Justice League of America #1 (DC, 1960), CGC NM+ 9.6, ended at $215,100, and a copy of Whiz Comics #2 (#1) (Fawcett Publications, 1940), CGC FN 6.0, the first appearance of Captain Marvel, sold for $173,275. One of the most sough-after issues of all time, Superman #1 (DC, 1939), CGC GD 2.0, brought $167,300 and 25 bids pushed the auction price of Action Comics #7 (DC, 1938) CGC VG/FN 5.0, known for being the second Superman cover ever, to $161,325.
The auction’s offering of original comic art included John Romita Sr. The Amazing Spider-Man #61 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968), which sold for $167,300. Continuing collector’s streak for paying high-flying auction prices for art by Robert Crumb, his original art for a “Head Comix” 1-Page Story from Yarrowstalks #2 (Yarrowstalks, 1967) sold for $143,400.
Artist Dave Cockrum’s bombastic Original Cover Art to X-Men #102 (Marvel, 1976) sold for $131,450 and a magnificent splash-page of Original Art by Jack Kirby and George Roussos from Fantastic Four #25 (Marvel, 1964) sold for $113,525.
Additional top highlights:
- The Original Art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman used for page 3 of X-Men #1 (Marvel, 1963), sold for $89,625
- Bill Watterson’s Original Art for a Calvin and Hobbes Daily Comic Strip dated 1-21-86 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1986), sold for $67,725
- A single page of art from the comic book featuring the first appearance of popular character Deadpool: Rob Liefeld’s New Mutants #98 Story Page 15 Original Art (offered just a week before the film “Deadpool 2” hits theaters), sold for $51,385
- Bidders set another world record when the Original Art for a The Far Side Daily Comic Strip, by cartoonist Gary Larson, sold for $31,070, making it the most expensive Far Side strip ever sold at auction.