The Cookeville Collection
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The recent discussion of the Cookeville collection in the "Show Me Your Timely's" thread has inspired me to start a thread about this collection and to provide some additional information. The Cookeville collection has always been special to me for a number of reasons.

 

First, this collection originates from a town that's just about 100 miles from my home here in Tennessee. That makes me feel like it is my "hometown" collection. In fact, I actually once bought a "Cookeville" at an LCS in Cookeville.

 

 

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Second, the two dealers who originally brought this collection to market were instrumental in my collecting. It's been widely reported that Steve Geppi brought this collection to the market, but that really doesn't tell the whole story. Two dealers, Rick Frogge and the late Harry Thomas, teamed to acquire this collection from the original owner. Rick and Harry were a big part of my early collecting days and should be recognized for helping to make this collection available to us. Harry is no longer with us, but Rick now works for Comicspriceguide.com, an online service.

 

 

Last, I think the Cookeville collection is somewhat underappreciated. I understand that it didn't quite rise to the level of "pedigree status" as determined by CGC. Of course, I've scratched my head and wondered about some of the more recent "pedigree" collections that CGC has chosen to recognize. For a little while, it seemed we were going to have a new pedigree every month or two. At any rate, the Cookeville collection represents a significant grouping of comics and included some nice runs of popular titles and some keys.

 

 

 

On to the story.

 

Cookeville, Tennessee is located in the middle part of the state and is the largest city on the Cumberland plateau. In 1925, Cookeville had a population of 3,600. During the time that Leroy Mackie, the original owner, and his brother were amassing this collection, Cookeville was primarily a whistle stop for the Tennessee Central railroad on the way from Nashville to Knoxville. Farming was the main occupation and the local university, Tennessee Tech, had just two divisions, "Arts and Sciences" and "Professional and Technical Subjects." Today, the city and surrounding area boasts a population of over 100,000 and TTU has over 10,000 students.

 

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In 1991, Rick Frogge was approached at the monthly Nashville Flea Market by a friend of the original owner asking if he bought older collections. He was putting out the word that the OO wanted to sell his large collection of Golden Age comics and was talking to the dealers set up at the weekend flea market. Rick was approached, as was Harry Thomas. Rick set up a meeting for a couple days later to view the collection.

 

Here's a quote from an e-mail I received from Rick about the acquisition: "I went...there were almost 4000 books from the late 30's to 1950..no Action 1...no Det 27..no Bat 1, no Sup 1, but almost everything else...complete run of Capt America, complete All Star, Leading, All American, All Flash (only 3 Flash comics), tons of Disneys, run of Det from @ 34 up, Bat from 4 up, Green Lantern run, Adventures, More Funs, Sensation run, WW run, Supes I think started @ 10 , lots of Dells and so on....."

 

 

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Rick and Harry decided that a partnership to acquire the collection was in order. I can't disclose all the financial aspects, but other parties were beginning to sniff around the collection. Bob Overstreet provided some advice to Rick and Harry and Steve Geppi flew into Nashville, took a look at the notes that Rick had made, and decided that it was worth taking a closer look at the collection.

 

The next day, Rick, Harry, Bob, Steve, and a friend of Rick’s took a van and a truck and a lot of magazine boxes (and a boat load of cash) up to Mr. Mackie's and the deal was made. Bob and Steve were putting together magazine boxes on the front lawn, comics were being brought out from the upstairs room where they were stored, and soon the comics were on the way to Nashville. Rick and Harry kept some of the comics as a "finders' fee," but the bulk of the collection went to Geppi.

 

 

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Another quote from Rick: "That night we go back to Harry's house and go thru and start cataloging the books. I video taped almost all and many pics were taken including all the Caps laid out in Harry's living room."

 

 

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I asked if there was a master list of the collection. Rick wrote, "I have not been able to find the actual list of books for many years....more than possible we gave it to Steve...But I do have the VHS tape of the collection...the collection was so weird...he had everything you could imagine Timely but only like 2 or 3 Marvel Mysterys...he was loaded with DC's but only had 3 issues of Flash (had every All Flash , every All Star)."

 

 

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Geppi did sell many of the comics to Overstreet and that explains why so many comics from this collection appear in the Grading Guide and in the OSPG. Originally, Harry and Mr. Mackie agreed to call it the "Cumberland Collection." For the first decade that I was aware of these comics, that's what I called them... Cumberland books. It wasn't until many years later that I began to hear them referred to as Cookevilles.

 

 

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From the Grading Guide, showing the SN and the original owner's initials:

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Another Grading Guide example:

bat36cookeville.jpg

 

 

 

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More insights from Rick:

 

"A year or so later we were told Mackie DID have an Action 1 (I think the collection started with around # 20), a Det 27, etc...but had sold them....there were early Whiz comics but no #1, but there was a Capt Marvel 1 (had back cover problems and part of last page missing)...we were told he had already sold them years before....oh well."

 

 

"...the early year books were mostly g-vg...but as they became newer the grades went up...there were a lot of VF books in the collection...as Mr Mackie and his brother got older they took better care of their books."

 

 

"Also the reason why it stopped around 1950 is he joined the Army and never collected again."

 

 

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Finally, here's the story about the markings on the cover. Cookevilles can be marked with the famous "SN" or the less recognized "NN" initials. Again, from Rick: "The story behind the SN (and yes, there were a few NNs) is simple. The little store these comics were bought from by Leroy (and sometimes his brother) had 2 sisters that worked there. We got to meet SN...these initials was their way of marking the books as they came in from their distributor...it is the initials of the 2 girls (they were in their 70's when we met SN and they were assured their names would never be mentioned...and honestly I have forgotten their names)...BUT the SN, etc. are the girls' initials...we always thought that was so cool: we could track where the books were shipped to, who sold them , and then who bought them."

 

 

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What a great thread. Thanks for posting pics and providing a story behind the books. What does the "SN" stand for?

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I had always wanted more details about this collection, thank you. One of the books I regret selling the most was the Cookeville copy of Detective 71.....one of my favorite Joker covers......GOD BLESS...

 

-jimbo(a friend of jesus) (thumbs u

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With most of the Marvel Mystery Comics & Flash Comics not present in the collection, I have a feeling there's more to the story with the apparent gaps in the collection. I can't imagine why those 2 titles would be virtually absent from the collection unless something happened to them along the way.

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Great thread. Always nice to get information about those older collections

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Finally, here's the story about the markings on the cover. Cookevilles can be marked with the famous "SN" or the less recognized "NN" initials. Again, from Rick: "The story behind the SN (and yes, there were a few NNs) is simple. The little store these comics were bought from by Leroy (and sometimes his brother) had 2 sisters that worked there. We got to meet SN...these initials was their way of marking the books as they came in from their distributor...it is the initials of the 2 girls (they were in their 70's when we met SN and they were assured their names would never be mentioned...and honestly I have forgotten their names)...BUT the SN, etc. are the girls' initials...we always thought that was so cool: we could track where the books were shipped to, who sold them , and then who bought them."

 

 

 

Fascinating story. I wonder why the girls working in the store would have put their initials on the books, rather than the more conventional arrival date? hm

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This is a great thread. I only had one Cookeville book that I've sold, I wish I still had it(Batman 53).

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This is the sort of stuff I love to hear about! Many thanks for creating this thread, Walter.

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A fascinating story. Many thanks! (thumbs u

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A fascinating story. Many thanks! (thumbs u

 

+1

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Wow, the Golden Age boards are on fire tonite!

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Great info, walclark, thanks very much for posting.

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Thanks for putting this material together for us (worship)

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Thanks Walclark!

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