COMICS: Original John Romita, Sr. Cover Art Sold at Auction House
$167,300 on Thursday, Aug. 18, as the web-slinging top lot in Heritage Auctions’ $4,45+ million Signature® Comics and Comics Art auction. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium. All told, the auction had a 96.5% sell-through rate by value and 98% by total lots in the auction.
The original John Romita, Sr. Amazing Spider-Man #49 cover art, featuring Spidey dueling the deadly dual menace of Kraven the Hunter and the Vulture brought in......
The top comic book in the auction came in the form of a restored copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) CGC Apparent VF 8.0 Moderate, offered without reserve, which realized $149,375. Demand for the few elite super-keys of the comic hobby goes up with each passing year, and attractively restored Action #1s like the present example are among some of the most coveted.
Meanwhile, a very sharp copy of Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) was the object of vigorous bidding before closing at $83,650. “The mood among collectors seems to be to grab strong copies of major key issues before they get even more expensive,” Jaster noted. This same trend meant strong prices for Captain America Comics #1 $34,655 for a VG+ 4.5 copy) and Archie Comics #1 ($20,315).
Original Carl Barks artwork, especially those featuring Uncle Scrooge McDuck, have been bringing steadily superb prices at auction in the last year as The Kerby Confer Collection has made its way back into the collecting public. This auction proved that the demand for the best examples continues to be high as fully five of the top 10 lots in the auction came from the magical paintbrushes of the legendary Carl Barks, totaling more than $500,000 in all.
Barks’ Red Sails in the Sunset Donald Duck painting, 1974, recreating one of his best loved covers from Walt Disney Comics and Stories #108, enticed a smart collector at $113,525, while his Golden Cities of Cibola painting, 1975, a recreation of a scene from his tale, "The Seven Cities of Cibola" (originally published in Uncle Scrooge #7), brought $101,575. Halloween in Duckburg, 1973, a bewitching and "spook-tacular," painting spotlighting Witch Hazel in her element, based on the cover of the first issue of Donald Duck (#26), which in turn was based on the Disney short “Trick or Treat,” provided fireworks at $83,650 and the 1975 oil painting I Found It! I Keep It!, featuring Scrooge chipping out a rich vein of glittering gold with a shotgun by his side, brought an impressive final price realized of $65,725.
Great original comic cover art was in evidence well beyond the marquee Spider-Man cover, as demonstrated by the exceptional $89,625 price realized for Victor Moscoso’s original wraparound cover art for Zap Comix #4 (Apex Novelties/Print Mint, 1969).
“Up until now Robert Crumb was the only underground artist whose originals had commanded this kind of price,” said David Tosh, Consignment Director at Heritage, “but this is a classic of the Underground genre and the cover to one of the most important and groundbreaking comic books, as they pertain to matters of free speech in America.”
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