HA Summer Signature Auction Aug 2-4
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39 minutes ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

I think the parallel to look at is comic strip art. There are a dozen classic strips that still retain value and are appreciating, such as Peanuts, Raymond Flash Gordon, Krazy Kat, Little Nemo, etc. 

But former superstar strips like Pogo are fading. 

Other than the classics I listed above, the strips that are appreciating are the more recent ones such as Calvin & Hobbes. Based primarily on the fact that the fans of those strips are reaching peak earning age. Now, C&H May achieve classic status like Peanuts, etc  but it’s too soon to tell, IMHO  

Comic art is probably going to go the sane route. Some classic stuff will hold on and appreciate, but a lot of stuff that we may think is top notch right now may not hold onto its value in the long run. 

I think something like Preacher Art would be a good example. It’s hot right now, but will it hold on to this level in 10-15 years when the biggest Preacher nostalgia collectors liquidate their collections and the TV show has been off the air for years? 

Walk Kelly’s Pogo was considered the pinnacle of comic strip art at one point. A true classic. Now, you can by 3 Pogo strips for the price of one Garfield. 

It'll be interesting to see how Raymond, Herriman, McCay, etc. hold up going forward. They have definitely had a resurgence in value/appreciation in recent years. Though, given where they were priced vs. mainstream hero art in the early days of this hobby, I'm pretty sure returns have grossly lagged there as well.  And, yeah, for all the many strips that have gone out of favor since then...no bueno. 

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30 minutes ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

I go to a lot of conventions and have dealer friends that ai talk about this stuff with frequently. And, they are seeing both a crazy run up in “Keys” but also an uptick in people buying back issues and runs. 

Mom not certain whether older collectors are being lured back into the market, but I see a lot of kids and younger parents buying back issues as going through long boxes. 

There is an innate kid appeal to holding a floppy comic in your hands; or reading it on your bedroom floor or under your sheet with a flashlight. Even kids who grea up on iPads like comics. 

I have even seen some comic stores who used to only carry new stuff (and maybe a year or two of back inventory) start to buy up older collections so they can put out classic inventory. 

The massive pop culture upsurge for comic TV shows, video games and films is starting to have an effect. A lot of people are interested in the history of these characters and where the stories came from. Abd while thy like reading a trade volume, they see all those classic issues hanging on a wall or in a glass case and get intrigued by the real deal. 

Abd have you been to a Free Comic Book day event at a local comic store lately? I live in the Midwest, and not a major population hub  and they are packed, with long lines out the door. That has changed over the past 3-4 years too.

Face it. Comic books are freaking cool! 

Any serious comic collector will tell you that it's keys and classic covers uber alles these days. We've past the tipping point in run collecting for sure; any number of threads in the other sections of this message board will confirm that.  The hey day of the run collector is over - its not even a debate any more, it's settled science.  Maybe some of the crossover comic guys here can speak more to this.  

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1 hour ago, delekkerste said:

Wow, that does seem to be on the low side for what is not a bad page at all.  I saw a twice-up Kirby TOS page at SDCC that was also pretty good fail to find a buyer at $13,750.  

+1000.  I feel like the spread between A and B has blown out in recent years.  But, it's a trend that I can see continuing.  I feel that, the farther out we go (time-wise), the harder it's going to be to sell B-material from A-runs.  Not that the A-material is invulnerable to a downturn by any stretch (certainly not at some of the prices we're seeing), but, liquidity-wise, it's ALREADY TOUGH to sell B-material and I feel it will only get tougher going forward, whereas whatever liquidity that remains in the market will gravitate towards the A-material IMO.  And, if my friend Nate is right and we do ever get major foreign BSD and/or institutional involvement in this hobby (mind you, I am extremely skeptical), not having grown up with this material, they are only going to gravitate towards the most recognizable of the A-material.  

It's not too dissimilar to what we're seeing on the comics side of the hobby - keys and classic covers are everything nowadays.  Few people care about putting together runs anymore for a number of reasons - runs are not Instagram-friendly, runs take up more space, runs take up more time to assemble, non-key books are less liquid, buying non-keys takes money away from keys which have gotten more expensive, etc.  Nowadays, I won't buy any B-material (or, such as the market perceives to be) unless (1) I just have a super personal nostalgic connection to it and/or (2) I have an appreciation for it that the checklist-wielding Philistines in this market overlook <raises nose in the air and sniffs>. 

Whenever a B or C-level Miller Daredevil cover becomes available, friends are always asking me if I'm going to go after it.  The answer is always no.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get rid of expensive B-material?  Do you think this stuff just magically shows up at auction without being shopped to death first?  I said last year that I'd rather have that Kubert UXM #266 cover than that third-rate Kirby FF cover with Psycho-Man dominating it that was in the same auction.  Somebody will probably always want the first Gambit appearance and best, most recognizable Kubert cover that he ever did.  I think it's going to be tougher and tougher to sell second, third and fourth quartile examples even from gold standard runs like Kirby FF (and Miller DD) the farther out in time you go.  Why do you think certain covers that also fit in that category have sat on dealer walls for literally more than a decade?  Will they get easier to sell over time?  I doubt it. 

I don't know the Avengers market very well (only what I absorb through osmosis from you and Daren!)  How much should that BWS page have gone for?  $14.9K seems pretty healthy to this outsider. 

  

daren can chime in as well but 4 of the last 5 bws avengers pages that have sold via auction over the last year from this same issue  (either HA or comic link) including the BP have gone between 10k and almost 15k with the weakest one (in my opinion) going for 6.5k. didn't even get that!  

 

Edited by robert frey

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36 minutes ago, robert frey said:

daren can chime in as well but 4 of the last 5 bws avengers pages that have sold via auction over the last year from this same issue  (either HA or comic link) including the BP have gone between 10k and almost 15k with the weakest one (in my opinion) going for 6.5k. didn't even get that!  

 

Ah, gotcha. Yeah, that does seem disappointing. I was looking at an older result from last year (which ended at $14.9K) when I thought I was looking at the result from yesterday. 

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I consigned the Romita Cap cover and a Cardy Titans cover (the one that went under $10k), and I was pretty disappointed with the results - both were under where I would have reserved them, if I had placed a reserve, and both sold for less than prior offers.

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36 minutes ago, delekkerste said:

Any serious comic collector will tell you that it's keys and classic covers uber alles these days. We've past the tipping point in run collecting for sure; any number of threads in the other sections of this message board will confirm that.  The hey day of the run collector is over - its not even a debate any more, it's settled science.  Maybe some of the crossover comic guys here can speak more to this.  

I know this well having spent over a decade assembling perhaps the most complete collection of Golden Age classic covers (~92% of all Overstreet/CGC designated classic covers), many of which were the only copies in the CGC census at the time.  The introduction of CGC "slabbing" placed a premium on classic covers of all variations (ie, classic image, flag, decapitation, Hitler, hypodermic needle, bondage and even fish-in-the-face!).  Collecting runs became even more cumbersome with CGC slabs and "filler" issues were barely worth certifying.  Sold via Heritage to refocus on original art--- and I'm still drawn to full-figure covers/splashes and character-defining panel pages that have classic appeal.

Classic Covers

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2 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

I go to a lot of conventions and have dealer friends that ai talk about this stuff with frequently. And, they are seeing both a crazy run up in “Keys” but also an uptick in people buying back issues and runs. 

Mom not certain whether older collectors are being lured back into the market, but I see a lot of kids and younger parents buying back issues as going through long boxes. 

There is an innate kid appeal to holding a floppy comic in your hands; or reading it on your bedroom floor or under your sheet with a flashlight. Even kids who grea up on iPads like comics. 

I have even seen some comic stores who used to only carry new stuff (and maybe a year or two of back inventory) start to buy up older collections so they can put out classic inventory. 

The massive pop culture upsurge for comic TV shows, video games and films is starting to have an effect. A lot of people are interested in the history of these characters and where the stories came from. Abd while thy like reading a trade volume, they see all those classic issues hanging on a wall or in a glass case and get intrigued by the real deal. 

Abd have you been to a Free Comic Book day event at a local comic store lately? I live in the Midwest, and not a major population hub  and they are packed, with long lines out the door. That has changed over the past 3-4 years too.

Face it. Comic books are freaking cool! 

I agree with you here. I've been hearing from a lot of dealers that "run collecting is dead! No one buys anything but classic covers and keys!"

And while that may be true of many on the higher end, on the lower end, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. "Slabs are too bulky to store" - granted. But there's nothing preventing anyone from deslabbing books, and many of them have. There's nothing preventing someone from having a slabbed "key" and unslabbed surrounding issues, either.

And...there have been entire markets created in the CGC era that simply didn't exist before. The 9.8 run collector, for example...that wasn't possible even 15 years ago. Now, if someone wanted to (and there are people who do), they can own a complete run of X-Men #94-200, 300, 400...whatever they want...in 9.8. That market did not exist 15 years ago, because it couldn't. It barely existed as a possibility 10 years ago.

Another new market created out of thin air: the Sig Series collector. Sam Kieth's run of MCP #85-122 has functionally no value. But get him to sign them, and turn them into 9.8 slabs? Now you've got people interested. Not a key issue in the run...not very many "classics" either, though Kieth collectors would disagree.

And...on the limited markets I do follow back to GA (Batman, essentially) there is no great discrepancy between the "keys" and "classics" and "run" issues. Yes, I have to pay through the nose for #47...but no one's selling me #46 or #45 for pennies. "But that's a major, in demand run!" Sure, but it's still a run.

The only non-key, non-classic books I see consigned to the cheap bins are low grade 80s and later. Even the 70s stuff is getting tough to find in $1 boxes, and forget the 60s. I'm not finding "Beware the Creeper" or "Secret Six" in dollar boxes anymore. 

The key will be to see if these new buyers actually read these books. There's a powerful draw, and there always has been, to owning a "complete collection", no matter what it is. Those numbers on the cover are a constant reminder of the fact that these things are sequential, and a part of a larger picture.

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Those are good points. The 9.8 collector and signature series collector and low grade run collector I’ve run into a lot.

 

I keep hearing the same thing Gene is hearing from major dealers about keys and covers. But smaller and part time dealers I know (which is a lot) seem to do very good business these days in lesser stock. I wonder if we only hear the voices of the “important” dealers and the very vocal on these boards. I sometimes think places like this give a very incomplete picture because they don’t provide a complete voice of those grinders who do the weekend and monthly local shows. 

Sorry to go all tangent. 

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2 hours ago, delekkerste said:

Any serious comic collector will tell you that it's keys and classic covers uber alles these days. We've past the tipping point in run collecting for sure; any number of threads in the other sections of this message board will confirm that.  The hey day of the run collector is over - its not even a debate any more, it's settled science.  Maybe some of the crossover comic guys here can speak more to this.  

100% spot on. I am a run collector and key collector but that just means I haven’t started any new runs and have just been picking up keys which are really classic covers. I have a ton of doubles of GA Batman’s and only ever get asked about buying keys and Villian covers.  

Edited by batman_fan

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3 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

Other than the classics I listed above, the strips that are appreciating are the more recent ones such as Calvin & Hobbes. Based primarily on the fact that the fans of those strips are reaching peak earning age. Now, C&H May achieve classic status like Peanuts, etc  but it’s too soon to tell, IMHO  

Aren't the prices of Calvin and Hobbes driven by the scarcity of the strips on the market compared to the demand, and the fact that many experts in accademia of daily comics and the artist who produce them view Watterson's work as the perfection of the art form?

3 hours ago, PhilipB2k17 said:

 Comic art is probably going to go the sane route. Some classic stuff will hold on and appreciate, but a lot of stuff that we may think is top notch right now may not hold onto its value in the long run. 

I think something like Preacher Art would be a good example. It’s hot right now, but will it hold on to this level in 10-15 years when the biggest Preacher nostalgia collectors liquidate their collections and the TV show has been off the air for years? 

 

I think the Walking Dead art is another good example to watch over time.  When the comic and the show are gone with the work leave the collective consciousness of those who collected OA? 

Edited by Lucky Baru

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Some interesting discussion here - this is a fun auction to watch and the Board commentary helps  - I'll chime in on a few topics

1. B pieces are good! I agree As will always outshine Bs in performance but Bs are not bad - I feel the discrepancy is the discussed pieces are Cs (average) - the winners shouldn't feel bad as the prices reflected they are Cs.  That said, perhaps Cs are better sold elsewhere as Heritage excels at selling As...

2. BWS vs. Buscema - Brian, Buscema Conan (especially with Belit) has appreciated more than BWS over last decades so your perspective has been rewarded; As Gene said there is a floor for a BWS Conan cover, there just aren't many.  Also, while I notice wonky anatomy sometimes, nostalgia is much more powerful in the market and some of the most powerful artists don't obey all the rules.  That said, I still feel the strongest later BWS Conan issues are the pinnacle - and I am sure the prices would reflect this if auctioned - same sort of A vs B vs. C debate.  I was underbidder on a Buscema B in this auction.

3. No doubt that C&H is a classic strip - obviously silly prices driven by scarcity but still classic

Until next post!

 

 

Edited by mtlevy1

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5 hours ago, delekkerste said:

I believe much of it used to be owned by the late, legendary collector Henry Huie, but, I don't remember if it was his estate or a subsequent owner who auctioned off those pieces.     

 

Fairly certain Henry had sold that art prior to his passing.

Truly one of the legendary collectors in this hobby's history...hope it can be shared one day.

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5 hours ago, delekkerste said:

Wow, that does seem to be on the low side for what is not a bad page at all.  I saw a twice-up Kirby TOS page at SDCC that was also pretty good fail to find a buyer at $13,750.  

+1000.  I feel like the spread between A and B has blown out in recent years.  But, it's a trend that I can see continuing.  I feel that, the farther out we go (time-wise), the harder it's going to be to sell B-material from A-runs.  Not that the A-material is invulnerable to a downturn by any stretch (certainly not at some of the prices we're seeing), but, liquidity-wise, it's ALREADY TOUGH to sell B-material and I feel it will only get tougher going forward, whereas whatever liquidity that remains in the market will gravitate towards the A-material IMO.  And, if my friend Nate is right and we do ever get major foreign BSD and/or institutional involvement in this hobby (mind you, I am extremely skeptical), not having grown up with this material, they are only going to gravitate towards the most recognizable of the A-material.  

It's not too dissimilar to what we're seeing on the comics side of the hobby - keys and classic covers are everything nowadays.  Few people care about putting together runs anymore for a number of reasons - runs are not Instagram-friendly, runs take up more space, runs take up more time to assemble, non-key books are less liquid, buying non-keys takes money away from keys which have gotten more expensive, etc.  Nowadays, I won't buy any B-material (or, such as the market perceives to be) unless (1) I just have a super personal nostalgic connection to it and/or (2) I have an appreciation for it that the checklist-wielding Philistines in this market overlook <raises nose in the air and sniffs>. 

Whenever a B or C-level Miller Daredevil cover becomes available, friends are always asking me if I'm going to go after it.  The answer is always no.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get rid of expensive B-material?  Do you think this stuff just magically shows up at auction without being shopped to death first?  I said last year that I'd rather have that Kubert UXM #266 cover than that third-rate Kirby FF cover with Psycho-Man dominating it that was in the same auction.  Somebody will probably always want the first Gambit appearance and best, most recognizable Kubert cover that he ever did.  I think it's going to be tougher and tougher to sell second, third and fourth quartile examples even from gold standard runs like Kirby FF (and Miller DD) the farther out in time you go.  Why do you think certain covers that also fit in that category have sat on dealer walls for literally more than a decade?  Will they get easier to sell over time?  I doubt it. 

I don't know the Avengers market very well (only what I absorb through osmosis from you and Daren!)  How much should that BWS page have gone for?  $14.9K seems pretty healthy to this outsider. 

  

B material has simply been valued too highly until now (if there is indeed some correcting going on). By sellers who peg B prices to A results, and further aided and abetted by collectors who never stopped to question it.

I will also say that there is nothing wrong with B material...at the right price! If prices for B art comes down to Earth even more, then it'll be a great time to put together a very nice representative collection of quality pieces. For 99% of collectors, that should still be quite satisfying.

(All of this is, of course, in the context of collecting for joy, not profit.)

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2 hours ago, zhamlau said:

Those are good points. The 9.8 collector and signature series collector and low grade run collector I’ve run into a lot.

 

I keep hearing the same thing Gene is hearing from major dealers about keys and covers. But smaller and part time dealers I know (which is a lot) seem to do very good business these days in lesser stock. I wonder if we only hear the voices of the “important” dealers and the very vocal on these boards. I sometimes think places like this give a very incomplete picture because they don’t provide a complete voice of those grinders who do the weekend and monthly local shows. 

Sorry to go all tangent. 

Yep. You can actually make a bit of money as a dealer by buying bulk collections for 10 cents on the dollar then selling the stuff in dollar boxes at conventions. 

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1 hour ago, Lucky Baru said:

Aren't the prices of Calvin and Hobbes driven by the scarcity of the strips on the market compared to the demand, and the fact that many experts in accademia of daily comics and the artist who produce them view Watterson's work as the perfection of the art form?

I think the Walking Dead art is another good example to watch over time.  When the comic and the show are gone with the work leave the collective consciousness of those who collected OA? 

Pogo was regarded by historians of the art form as one of the best strips ever produced, with Walt Kelly being regarded as a genius. 

C&H May or May or may not sustain its current esteem. 

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Viewing the auction results page, it’s interesting that all the $50k+ items already have “Make Offer to Owner” but none of the lower priced lots have it.  This implies these lots are already paid for and designated for “Make Offer”...so quickly after the auction ended.  Perhaps, all these big ticket items were purchased by BSD/dealers (cabal?) with special arrangements with Heritage. 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, GreatEscape said:

Viewing the auction results page, it’s interesting that all the $50k+ items already have “Make Offer to Owner” but none of the lower priced lots have it.  This implies these lots are already paid for and designated for “Make Offer”...so quickly after the auction ended.  Perhaps, all these big ticket items were purchased by BSD/dealers (cabal?) with special arrangements with Heritage. 

 

 

Whatever the case, it is clear there is a lot of speculation going on.

Interesting to see third and fourth tier characters in high condition still go for crazy prices.

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19 minutes ago, GreatEscape said:

Viewing the auction results page, it’s interesting that all the $50k+ items already have “Make Offer to Owner” but none of the lower priced lots have it.  This implies these lots are already paid for and designated for “Make Offer”...so quickly after the auction ended.  Perhaps, all these big ticket items were purchased by BSD/dealers (cabal?) with special arrangements with Heritage. 

 

 

The HA system doesn't automatically do this for lower priced items - I think it is also something you can opt out of

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