Auctions | October 22, 2015

Original Superman Watercolor by Frank Frazetta at Hake’s Americana Nov. 10-12 Pop Culture Auction


YORK, Pa.—America’s pop culture headquarters, Hake’s Americana, will offer an unprecedented selection of memorabilia and collectibles in their online, phone and absentee Auction #216 that closes for bidding Nov. 10-12. More than 200 collector categories are represented in the 2,735-lot sale, with a timeline that starts with a Benjamin Franklin book published in 1745 and concludes with Walking Dead comic books issued in 2012. 

As always, Hake’s has sourced its auction inventory from the finest collections on earth—both known and unknown—and from other high-caliber private collectors with special pieces to sell. It doesn’t get any more special than Lot 2586, an original album cover for the Beatles’ 1964 studio album A Hard Day’s Night, autographed on verso by all four members of the legendary English band.

Because Beatles multiple-autographed material is so rare, expert authentication adds a premium to any such item’s value if deemed genuine. In the case of the LP in Hake’s sale, it comes with not only a Hake’s Certificate of Authenticity (COA), but also a Letter of Authenticity from Frank Caiazzo, the world’s top authority on Beatles handwriting. 

Beautifully matted and framed, the album back cover is especially desirable because it features individual photo images of all four Beatles below the liner notes. Ringo Starr’s autograph has the added flourish of a sketched star. Appearing near the top in an unidentified hand are the words “PRESENTED BY WATHES.” This refers to a store in the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, England, which offered the autographed LP as the grand prize in a competition it sponsored around the time of the record’s release.

The auction lot will open with a $15,000 bid and has been estimated at $35,000-$50,000, an amount that Hake’s President Alex Winter believes may be quite modest. “Albums signed by all four Beatles have sold in excess of $100,000 in the past,” he said.

Following Hake’s previous auction success with Superman rarities from the late Ken “Franco” Toscanini’s collection, it’s now time for Part II and more fantastic buying opportunities. Lot 1622 is not only of interest to Superman enthusiasts but also those who yearn to own original art by legendary illustrator Frank Frazetta (American, 1928-2010). It’s an original 15.5 by 17.5-inch full-color Frazetta artwork of Superman in flight, signed by the artist with a copyright date of 1988. 

“This was the only depiction of Superman Frank Frazetta ever created,” said Winter. “It was a commissioned job to commemorate the character’s 50th anniversary.” The artwork is accompanied by a letter from Harry Matetsky, renowned collectibles historian and author of The Adventures Of Superman Collecting. In the letter, Matetsky states: “When he accepted the commission, Frazetta said that his version of ‘the Man of Steel’ would be based on the style of Superman’s original creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster.” Colorful and historical, the original watercolor is expected to make $10,000-$20,000.

America’s favorite superhero also makes a powerful impression in Lot 2070 - a rare linen-mounted one-sheet poster publicizing the original 1948 release of the movie serial starring Kirk Alyn as Superman. Jointly produced by Columbia Pictures and National Comics Pub. Inc. (DC Comics), the poster features a great near-full-body depiction of Superman flying over three comic books. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000.

Also from the Toscanini collection, Lot 2430 is a colorfully pictorial shipping carton that originally contained 20 boxes of Bowman’s Superman 1-Cent Super Bubble Gum and Picture Card sets. “Unlike many gum-card shipping boxes that were generic, this one is illustrated on all sides, with images of Superman in flight on two of the sides,” said Winter. One of only two examples known to Hake’s, it is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

Superhero collectors can take a lucky dip into another exceptional but little-known collection featured in this sale, that of Chicagoan Gary Keller. His Ideal Batman Play Set, Lot 2140, is regarded as one of the most sought after of all Batman licensed toys of the 1960s. The near-complete boxed set includes authentic hand-painted figures of Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Superman, as well as solid-color configurations of Thunderbolt, Keltor and Mouseman, and other accessories. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000. 

Also from the Keller collection, Lot 2235 is a colorful, boxed Green Hornet Working Black Beauty Dashboard. Powered by batteries, the dashboard has a moving steering wheel, speedometer, motorized windshield wipers, a working horn and gearshift, plus all the extra bells and whistles you’d find on a car’s dash. Estimate: $2,000-$5,000.

Onstage, Jimi Hendrix mesmerized fans, and so did the spectacular Hendrix concert posters created by German artist Gunther Kieser. His out-of-this-world depictions of Hendrix could be seen on shop walls, bus shelters and telephone poles throughout Germany in the 1960s. A classic example of Kieser’s work is seen in Lot 2638, an advert publicizing The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s January 1969 appearances in four German cities. One of few in existence, the poster is estimated at $2,000-$5,000.

One of the solid cornerstones of Hake’s auction business is political memorabilia, a specialty developed by the company’s founder, Ted Hake. Through his connections and peerless reputation in the hobby, Hake has been able to secure some of the rarest of all political collectibles for the auction house bearing his name. Among the most important political items in the Nov. 10-12 sale is Lot 456, an extremely rare “Kennedy Is The Remedy” 1960 Presidential button with the image of a broadly smiling JFK. The last such button handled by Hake’s sold in 2005 for $8,500. The example entered in the current auction is estimated at $5,000-$10,000.

Another political button expected to finish in the $5,000-$10,000 price range is Lot 521, a 1948 jugate with images of Strom Thurmond and F.L. Wright, the presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively. Encircling the button are the words “States Rights” and “The Constitution.” As noted in Hake’s catalog, this is the only style of button from that particular campaign that depicts Thurmond and Wright together.

Hake’s is also known as the home of vintage Disneyana. Over the years, Hake’s has been chosen to auction some of the world’s most admired Disney collections, including those of the late Maurice Sendak, and Pat and Doug Wengel. The mouse is once again in the house for Hake’s Nov. 10-12 sale. Lot 1760, a large and impressive 1930s carved and painted-wood carousel figure of a striding Mickey Mouse, is unmarked but known to have been made in Angers, France by Henri De Vos Co. Fewer than five examples of this hefty carousel figure are thought to exist. Predicted auction value: $5,000-$10,000.

Hake’s Americana Auction #216 is open for bidding by phone, mail or online at The first session will close on Nov. 10, 2015, while the second session will conclude on Nov. 12. Nov. 11 is an interim day in which bidders can peruse the catalog and prepare for further bidding. To request a free printed catalog or for information on any item in the sale, call toll-free: (866) 404-9800 or (717) 434-1600. Email: Visit the auction catalog online at

Image: Frank Frazetta (American, 1928-2010), Superman specialty original art, 1988, 15.6 x 17.5 inches, only depiction of Superman ever created by the legendary fantasy artist. Franco Toscanini collection. Est. $10,000-$20,000.