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Press Release - April 6, 2021
Heritage Auctions’ April Comics & Comic Art Event Soars Up, Up and Away to a $16.5-Million World Record FinishX-Men book becomes top-selling '70s title, while DC's Lobo lights up a six-figure sale
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Never before has the market for historic titles, original art, video games and gaming trading cards seen such an extraordinary response. Notes Barry Sandoval, a vice president at the Dallas-based house, until recently events such as the one that wrapped Monday would see, on average, 100 lots reaching the $10,000 mark. This one featured more than 350 to surpass that standard.
Indeed, 19 lots in the auction were in the triple digits, including the world-record-setting, headline-grabbing Super Mario Bros. sale that hit $660,000 during the Video Games event that took place during the Comics & Comic Art auction.
Comics and comic art realized more than $12.4 million during the auction. Video games alone surpassed the $3.3-million mark, with trading cards realizing an additional $811,694.
"Quite simply, Heritage Auctions has become the most trusted name in collectibles," says Co-Chairman Jim Halperin, "which the enthusiasm of our bidding clientele further demonstrated during this extraordinary event."
During Thursday's first session, 52 lots in the 1,483-lot event realized more than $4.45 million alone, with nearly every single comic book and work of original comic art roaring past pre-auction estimates thanks to rounds of intense bidding. There was some particularly heated tussling over Simon Bisley's iconic cover to Lobo No. 1 published in 1990. The work featuring the snarling, cigar-chomping bounty hunter from outer space opened the day at $50,000. And by the time the dust settled, the Main Man realized $192,000 — more than six times its estimate.
A record was set, too, when DC Comics' once-neglected More Fun Comics No. 73, graded CGC 7.5, realized $111,000, the most ever paid for this title in any grade. This landmark 1941 title — in which Aquaman makes his first splash, and Green Arrow picks up his bow — is so hard to find that The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books deems it "scarce." But its significance, as the birthplace of Green Arrow and Aquaman, is likewise not to be overlooked. No doubt with Oliver Queen's long run on the CW and Aquaman's prominent place as a member of the big-screen's Justice League, it was but a matter of time before More Fun Comics received its just due.
Jumping ahead a few decades, X-Men No. 94 became the top-selling title of the 1970s when it realized $63,000. That bests the copy of The Incredible Hulk No. 181 that sold earlier this year for $59,500, according to independent tracking site GPAnalysis.com. Little surprise this X-Men outperformed all other comers from the 1970s: This book marked the regular-issue debut of the all-new mutant team, and is in near-perfect condition, grading CGC NM/MT 9.8 with none higher in the population report.
The first session of the early April event was topped by a Batman No. 1, graded CGC VG/FN 5.0, that sold for $360,000. That's nearly twice the highest price ever realized for that book in that condition. Only two years ago, the first issue of the Caped Crusader's solo title in 5.0 sold at Heritage for $204,000. But that was before the Dallas-based auction house reset the market in January 2021 when it sold a CGC 9.4 Batman No. 1 for $2.22 million, making that issue the second-highest-selling comic book of all time.
Following the Dark Knight was the Daredevil, with the second page of the very first issue of Marvel Comics' Daredevil realizing $288,000, nearly four times the pre-auction estimate. Little surprise, as this page from the 1964 Marvel masterpiece contains the panel with Bill Everett's introduction of The Man Without Fear. Appropriately, a CGC NM+ 9.6 Daredevil No. 1 likewise set a new record when it sold Thursday for $150,000 — $48,000 more than a same-graded Daredevil debut realized in January's auction.
During Thursday's kick-off, every single title offered hit a new record. That included a first issue of Fantastic Four No. 1 graded CGC VF/NM 9.0 that brought $264,000. And an Amazing Fantasy No. 15 graded CGC VF- 7.5, which realized $156,000, the highest price ever paid for Spider-Man's initial swing in that condition. And a Tales of Suspense No. 39 graded CBCS NM 9.4, which realized $132,000.
This was a sale filled with landmark titles, none more so than the 1937 Action Comics No. 1 prototype known as an ashcan. On Thursday Heritage offered the very book to ever feature the words "Action Comics" and the iconic logo still used by DC Comics 84 years after this exemplar was made. Befitting such an important piece — one of the few known copies resides in the DC vault — the Action ashcan realized $204,000, the highest price ever paid for one of the early DC prototypes.
Dave Stevens' cover art to 1983's Alien Worlds No. 2 likewise shattered expectations when it sold Thursday for $120,000, three times estimate. Little surprise: This EC Comics nod is one of the earliest covers The Rocketeer's creator produced, and among the few depicting one of his own characters — in this case, Aurora, who initially made her bow in Japan.
And, no surprise, but another original work to reach six figures was Page 22 from 1975's Giant X-Men No. 1, written by the legendary Len Wein and illustrated by Dave Cockrum. Not only was this the comic that redefined the X-Men, but it introduced readers to Kurt Wagner's Nightcrawler, who's introduced on this very page on the run in his native German from townsfolks who consider him merely a monster. This second page from the "Second Genesis" story realized $102,000, twice its estimate.
Yet another title to surpass estimates and expectations was Detective Comics No. 225, which likewise features the introduction of a hero who would very much come to define DC for generations to come — so much so he was a sidekick in the CW's Supergirl, and when Zach Snyder recut and remade his Justice League film for HBO, he went back and added back this excised character. That would be J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars zapped to Earth by a scientist who doesn't live long enough to return him home.
The extraordinary copy of Detective No. 225 in this Comics & Comic Art event realized $138,000, not at all surprising given its grade of CGC 9.4. That makes it the best copy known. To humans or Martians.
Appropriate for a sale whose results were, if you will, out of this world.
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet's most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,400,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.
Robert Wilonsky, Director, Corporate Communications
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