Record prices for comic art were realized across the board, including a Frazetta painting at $262,900 and a Calvin & Hobbes strip at $203,150. Some of the finest original comic art ever was offered at auction Nov. 15–17 in Dallas.
An eye-popping cover painting by Frank Frazetta more than tripled its pre-auction estimate to bring $262,900 and lead Heritage’s $6.6+ million Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction. Meanwhile, the first Calvin and Hobbes Sunday comic strip by Bill Watterson ever sold at auction reached a world record $203,150, garnering headlines across the globe.
The Nov. 15–17 auction sold an almost perfect 99 percent by value and 99.9 percent by lot. In total, 17 lots surpassed $50,000, 42 lots sold above $20,000 and 64 lots sold above $10,000.
“This auction is the finest collection of comic art ever offered in a single sale and the results prove it,” said Todd Hignite, vice president of Heritage Auctions. “It’s truly staggering to realize bidders purchased 99.9 percent of the more than 2,000 lots in the auction. This is the consistent level of success we have established on behalf of our consignors.”
As expected, bidders went to heroic lengths to own original art by great artists. Carmine Infantino’s classic cover of Flash #137 — with its epic battle between Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash from Earth One and Jay Garrick, DC’s Golden Age Flash from the universe that became known as Earth Two — sold for a DC Silver Age art record price of $167,300. A 1964 splash page from The Amazing Spider-Man #12 by Steve Ditko, depicting a tableau of classic characters from the title, brought $137,425, while original art from The Amazing Spider-Man #22 from 1965 sold for $65,725. Al Feldstein's single greatest science-fiction cover from Weird Fantasy #8 more than doubled its estimate to sell for $80,662.50 and a single page by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone from X-Men #9, depicting the first battle between the X-Men and Avengers, brought $77,675.
Additional original art highlights include multiple record prices from The Art of the Funnies Collection — the greatest group of newspaper strip art ever brought to auction — led by Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant original comic strip art from 1939, which sold for $65,725. Other standouts include an unused cover drawn by Robert Crumb for the 1967 underground comic classic Zap #2 sold for $59,750 and Dave Cockrum’s original cover art for Iron Fist #15 from 1977 sold for $47,800.
Modern original art by Todd McFarlane from The Shamus Collection of Modern Masterworks dazzled collectors as well with his bombastic original cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #325, showing an oversized portrait of the Red Skull behind a troubled Spidey and a crumbling Capital dome, bringing $83,650. McFarlane’s dark and moody original cover art for Batman #423 sold for $71,700 and the cover from Spider-Man #2, showing Spider-Man caught off guard by the vicious Lizard, sold for $65,725. His original cover art from Spider-Man #8 brought $40,331.25.
Top comic book lots were led by everyone’s favorite Dark Knight with a copy of Batman #1 CGC FN/VF 7.0 bringing $107,550. A copy of the 1961 classic Fantastic Four #1 CGC VF 8.0 brought $38,837.50. Standing as an example of how condition impacts value, a high-grade copy of X-Men #1 CGC NM 9.4 sold for $89,625, while a copy of X-Men #1 graded CGC NM-9.2 brought $62,140.
Among non-comic collectibles and art, a high-grade Red Star copy of Playboy #1 CGC NM 9.4 sold for $21,510, and a Courvoisier Production Cell of the Wicked Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs brought $19,120.
Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the third largest in the world, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 750,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.
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