Detective Comics #27 Reigns Supreme at Heritage Auctions

Posted on 3/5/2013

The Feb. 21–22 auction also saw $286,800 for John Romita Sr.'s original art from Amazing Spider-Man #121, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died," while Dave Gibbons' Watchmen #1 original cover art soared to $155,350.

A 6.5 CGC-graded copy of Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939), the first appearance of “The Batman,” realized $567,625 as the lead lot in Heritage Auctions $4.39+ million Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction on Feb. 21–22 at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (Ukrainian Institute of America) in New York. Heritage also conducted its inaugural Animation Art Signature® Auction, which realized $925,000+, giving the category a $5.3+ million trio of auctions.

“This is the third-best result for a comic book that Heritage has ever seen,” said Steve Borock, senior consignment director at Heritage Auctions, “It shows that comics are a market right now where significant appreciation can occur within a short span of time; this copy of Detective Comics #27 brought $45,000 more than another copy in the same grade that we sold a year ago.”

One of principal stars of the show, the original John Romita Sr. cover art for The Amazing Spider-Man #121 — a legendary comic book widely known as “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” — did not disappoint when it came across the block, jumping to a final price realized of $286,800.

“This is the best piece of 1970s comic art we’ve ever auctioned, and the price reflected that,” said Barry Sandoval, director of operations for comics and comic art at Heritage. “It’s also number four on our all-time list of prices realized at Heritage for a piece of comic art.”

One of the most watched lots of the auction was Dave Gibbons’ original artwork for the cover of Watchmen #1, which came to auction via The Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection and realized $155,350. It was sold along with Gibbons’ original cover art for Watchmen #2 and #3, which added another $60,000+ between them in prices realized for the trio.

“Heritage had a lot of agents on the phones when this one came up, and there was much back-and-forth bidding before it sold,” said Todd Hignite, vice president of Heritage Auctions. “The best news of all is that we still have the other nine Watchmen covers to sell in 2013.”

The original Alex Ross Wizard: the Comics Magazine #42 Marvel heroes triple-panel cover art (Wizard, 1995) drew a tremendous amount of pre-auction attention from collectors, as it represents one of the finest pieces of original Ross art to come to auction. When the smoke cleared in the auction floor, the price on the piece had soared to $68,713 — a record price for the artist.

Further highlights include, but are not limited to:

Bill Watterson Calvin and Hobbes daily comic strip original art dated Nov. 3, 1986 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1986) — One of the highest prices ever paid for any daily comic strip art. Realized: $65,725.

Batman #1 (DC, 1940) CGC VG- 3.5 — The demand for the major key comic books has not let up. Realized: $50,788.

Brian Bolland Batman: The Killing Joke page 38 original art (DC, 1988) — An auction record for a page from the seminal Killing Joke comic book. Realized: $47,800.

Bernard Baily Weird Mysteries #4 ultra-classic skull pre-Code horror cover original art (Gilmore Publishing, 1953) — An oddball horror book by an obscure publisher, but a very collectible comic; there was a tremendous amount of interest in the art. Realized: $33,460.

Detective Comics #35 (DC, 1940) CGC GD/VG 3.0 — Sold for more than triple the guide price, this comic is seldom found in unrestored condition. Realized: $16,730.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million and 750,000+ online bidding 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

Want to get the up-to-the-minute updates and breaking news stories about Heritage Auctions? See them as they happen at and To view a complete archive of Heritage press releases, go to

This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in this piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.

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