The bulk of the comic collection amassed by a young Billy Wright in the late 1930s and early 1940s sold at auction Wednesday for a staggering $3.5 million, The Associated Press reports, far surpassing initial estimates.
Wright’s childhood purchases — 345 comics, all kept in good condition — boasted 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s list of Top 100 comics from the Golden Age, including Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 and Captain America Comics #2. Wright passed away in 1994 at age 66, leaving the comics forgotten until his great nephew Michael Rorrer discovered them neatly stacked in a basement closet last February while cleaning house his great aunt’s Martinsville, Virginia, home following her death.
“The scope of this collection is, from a historian’s perspective, dizzying,” J.C. Vaughn, associate publisher of Overstreet, told The AP.
The “jaw-dropping” collection had been expected to fetch about $2 million. However, the 227 comics sold Wednesday brought in a whopping $3,466,264, including $523,000 for the CGC-Certified 6.5 copy of Detective Comics #27 and $299,000 for a 3.0 copy of the first appearance of Superman. The remaining, lesser comics will be sold online Friday and Saturday by Heritage Auctions; they’re expected to bring in about $100,000.
According to The Associated Press, 31-year-old Michael Rorrer found the neatly stacked comics in a closet last February while he was cleaning out his great aunt’s home following her death. It turns out that his great uncle Billy Wright, who died in 1994 at age 66, had (unknown to most of the family) held onto his boyhood comics dating back to 1938.
Described as “jaw-dropping” by Lon Allen of Heritage Auctions, the collection boasts 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s list of Top 100 comics from the Golden Age, including Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 and Captain America Comics #2. The CGC-Certified 6.5 copy of Batman’s first appearance is expected to fetch about $475,000, while the 3.0 copy of Superman’s debut could bring as much as $325,000.
More than nine months after an original splash page from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns sold for a record $448,125, Heritage Auctions is offering two more original pieces of Frank Miller art, expected to bring in more than $50,000 each.
Consigned by Miller himself, the pieces are the cover to 2006′s Absolute Dark Knight and the frontispiece from the 1997 10th-anniversary edition of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
“It took me years to define, in my own mind, Batman as less a creature of vengeance than of vigor,” Miller said of the Absolute Dark Knight cover. “This piece is one of my personal favorites. To me, it sums the man up.” And on the Batman and Robin splash: “Like any hero, Batman is complex. Here we see him as a father figure, instructing one of my favorite creations, dear Carrie Kelly.”
The two pieces will be auctioned Feb. 23 by Heritage, which notes that while Miller worked with inker Klaus Janson and colorist Lynn Varley on The Dark Knight Returns, “these images are rare examples of 100 percent Frank Miller pencils and inks on his most popular character.”
Calvin & Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson is notoriously reclusive, and original pieces of art from his long-running strip are just as rare. That’s why recent news by Heritage Auctions that a piece of his is going up for sale is worth perking your ears up about.
The watercolor illustration (seen at right) was a piece done by Watterson for a 1989-90 calendar cover. The piece comes from the collection of comic historian Rick Marschall, to whom Watterson inscribed it to in the lower right corner.
The current highest bid is at $26,000, but the auction house expects it to top $50,000 by the time the live floor auction starts on Feb. 23. I expect to see a vast array of comics art collectors come out for this, and perhaps even a few comic artists who are fans of Watterson’s work.
The latest in a long line of historical comic-related auctions is coming up at Heritage Auctions‘ next event –a never-before-seen pre-Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schulz. Here it is:
Created in the late 40s between Schulz’ first work Li’l Folks and the debut of Peanuts in 1950, it contains characters that bear more than a passing resemblance to future Peanuts stars Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The artwork is being offered by the family of the late Frieda Rich, a lifelong friend of Schulz who served as the inspiration for the Frieda character with the famous “naturally curly hair.”
This will be one of many pieces that’ll hit Heritage Auctions’ auction block on May 5, and the organizers expect this piece to bring more than $20,000 alone.