Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck - First Printing - Brother Jonathan Extra IX Bookstand Edition (Wilson and Company, 1842) Condition: Apparent GD. This is the earliest known sequential-art American comic book, therefore the significance is tough to overstate! Published 165 years ago, this rare gem is almost 100 years older than Action Comics #1 and it's a far scarcer item to boot -- less than a dozen copies have been confirmed to exist, several of which are owned by institutions and unlikely ever to be offered to collectors.

    Swiss writer/artist Rodolphe Töpffer, considered the inventor of the modern comic strip, originated the work as Les Amours de M. Vieux Bois in the late 1820s, which was then pirated by Aubert in Paris in the 1830s. A few years later in 1841 this Aubert version was translated into English with a cover montage re-drawn for British publisher Tilt and Bogue by Robert Cruikshank. As Robert Beerbohm noted, "In a world where international copyright conventions did not exist, this was perfectly legal, if morally questionable."

    The printing plates were then shipped over to New York City in 1842, and this edition was produced by the publishers of the newspaper Brother Jonathan, reformatted into what constitutes a modern comic book format as we recognize it today, printed in black and white and bound with string. Staple-binding and color printing weren't an option in the 1840s!

    The presentation of this copy befits its significance - it's in a beautiful archival presentation folder. Obviously no "high-grade" copy could be expected to exist for such an early item. This copy has a 2 ½-inch spine split, foxing is present, and there is a chip missing from the back cover. We have assigned this an "apparent" grade because of a meticulous conservation measure that was undertaken. As the conservation expert's notes state, "The paper and inks were not conserved. The missing sewing was replaced using cotton thread that was acrylic-toned (Winsor & Newton) to appear a light tan color."
    Overstreet notes that in 2005 a GD/VG copy and a VG copy each sold for $20,000. Overstreet 2006 GD 2.0 value = $1,800; FN 6.0 value = $5,400. Overstreet goes on to note, "In 2005, a FR copy sold for $10,000; a GD/VG for $20,000; and a VG for $20,000."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2007
    3rd-4th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 17
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 17,165

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold on May 3, 2007 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 29 days left to consign to the 2021 September 9 - 11 Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    You guys are very, very good. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to anybody else who may have something interesting to sell.
    S. P.,
    Carlisle, United Kingdom
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search