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Rare comics and original art fetch $4.4 million at auction

John Higgins' color guide for the cover of "Watchmen" #1

John Higgins’ color guide for the cover of “Watchmen” #1

Vintage comics and original comic art brought in $4.4 million over the weekend during a Heritage auction in New York City, Artinfo reports. Among the bigger sales were a CGC-graded 6.5 copy of Detective Comics #27, for $567,625, and John Romita Sr.’s original cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #121, which fetched $286,800.

As we noted on Friday, Dave Gibbons’ original cover art for Watchmen #1 sold for $155,350, with the first three covers going for a combined $216,892.50. John Higgins’ color guide for the first cover was bought for $7,767.50. The remaining covers for the 12-issue landmark series are expected to go up for auction later this year.

Wired.com delves into the history of the 12 covers, which were purchased at a Sotheby’s auction in 1993 by former Wizard Publisher Gareb Shamus for what’s been reported to be in the neighborhood of $26,000. The article doesn’t repeat that figure, but it does say what was paid was “a bargain price” (for instance, Higgins’ color guide for the cover of Watchmen #1 was picked up for $50, which was then five to 10 times the usual price).

Gibbons originally sold the covers to Comic Showcase store owner Paul Hudson as part of a deal for the interior art for the entire series. “Covers were just thrown in with the art from the original issues,” he reveals. “I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much I got for them. But I will tell you [that] a whole issue was less than 10 percent of what individual pages are going for now.”

However, he’s not bitter to see the original covers and pages now going for many times what he was originally paid for them: “I’ve always been of the opinion that a deal’s a deal, and it seemed a good idea at the time. You can never cry over spilled milk. The deal I had with Paul Hudson was perfectly fair. We both entered into it thinking it was going to be a good idea for us. It perhaps didn’t turn out that way. But it’s all under the bridge.”

Ten original pages from Cerebus: High Society, sold by Dave Sim himself, fetched $20,613.75, while a rare original Calvin and Hobbes strip by Bill Watterson went for $65,725.

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