Auctions | July 5, 2012

Possible $9-million World Comics Record Upcoming at Heritage Auctions

BEVERLY HILLS - The multi-million dollar Doug Schmell/ Collection, featuring the single greatest grouping of Silver Age Marvel CGC #1 Registry sets ever assembled, and the Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection of Original Comic Book Art, led by famed comic book artist Todd McFarlane’s iconic original cover from his seminal 1990 Spider-Man #1, the most famous modern comic book cover of all, form the centerpieces of Heritage Auctions July 26-28 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction.
The incredible Doug Schmell/ Collection is a Silver Age comic book collection unlike any that have come through Heritage before, led by X-Men #1 Pacific Coast pedigree (Marvel, 1963) CGC NM/MT 9.8 (estimate: $250,000+).
“It doesn’t get much better than this amazing, jaw-dropping pedigreed copy of the comic book that launched one of Marvel's most lucrative trademarks, the crown jewel of Schmell’s collection,” said Lon Allen, Managing Director of the Comics category at Heritage Auctions. “This copy is the finest Heritage has ever offered and, while it may not be a 10, for all intents and purposes it’s a perfect specimen.”
Top individual titles besides the Pacific Coast X-Men #1 9.8 include Tales of Suspense #39 9.6 Pacific Coast, Avengers #1 9.6 Pacific Coast, Fantastic Four #4 9.6, Journey Into Mystery #83 9.2, Avengers #1 9.6 Pacific Coast, Daredevil #1 9.6 Twin Cities, Strange Tales #135 9.8 Pacific Coast. The incredible run of titles include Avengers #1-100 (89 are grade 9.8 and 11 are graded 9.6), Daredevil #1-100 (90 are graded 9.8 and 10 are graded 9.6), Fantastic Four #1-102 (94 are graded 9.8 or 9.6), Journey Into Mystery #83-125 (40 are graded 9.8 or 9.6), Strange Tales #101-168 (64 are graded 9.8 or 9.6), Tales of Suspense #39-99 (All are graded 9.8 or 9.6), Tales To Astonish #36-101 (64 are graded 9.8 or 9.6), Thor #126-200 (72 are graded 9.8 and 3 are graded 9.6) and X-Men #1-66 (61 are graded 9.8 and 5 are 9.6).
The amazingly deep Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection, led by McFarlane’s jaw-dropping original cover art from his seminal Spider-Man #1 (Marvel, 1990), was put together by Martin Shamus, who, as the owner of a popular comics shop, had the unparalleled opportunity of obtaining the art directly from many of the artists right at the time the comics were published in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

“There is no doubt that, when it comes to the very best comic art of the late 1980s and early 1990s, McFarlane’s mind-blowing, oft-reproduced Spider-Man #1 is the single most important image,” said Steve Borock, Senior Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions. “It simultaneously broke the mold, set the standard and ushered the world of comic books in to new era. The advance buzz on this is already huge.”
So huge, in fact, that bidding out of the gate has already surged well past the pre-auction estimate of $150,000, holding for the moment at $195,000 as of the distribution of this press release.
The Shamus Modern Masterworks includes McFarlane cover and interior artwork for his most important and desirable titles, including multiple examples from both the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man, as well as examples from X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and Batman series. The grouping also includes unquestionably great examples by Jim Lee, Mark Bagley, Mike Zeck, Rob Liefeld, John Byrne, Jae Lee, Joe Quesada, Dale Keown and many others from the most popular and defining superhero titles of the era.
The Empire Comics Collection brings another impressive level to the auction, led by All Star Comics #8 (DC, 1942) CGC VF 8.0 (estimate: $75,000+), one of the most important issues in DC's history. It is the comic with the origin and first appearance of Wonder Woman by H. G. Peter and it currently ranks #21 on Overstreet's Top 100 Golden Age Books list. For this title, only issue #3, which had the first Justice Society of America, is more valuable.
Further Highlights include, but are not limited to:
Detective Comics #35 (DC, 1940) CGC FN+ 6.5: Overstreet gives this issue double "classic" citations. Bob Kane's hypodermic needle cover is a shoo-in, but did you know about the interior splash panel showing Batman holding a smoking gun? Dark Knight, indeed… Besides being in great demand by collectors, the issue is nigh non-existent in higher grades; in fact, this is a higher grade - CGC has certified just one other copy nicer. With this issue Batman took over the cover spotlight for good. Estimate: $50,000+.
Batman Utility Belt Crime Fighting Equipment Playset (Ideal, 1966): This is the most highly sought-after bit of Bat-memorabilia ever sold in a store: the complete-as-issued Ideal Batman Utility Belt. Included inside the box, which still has the cellophane window intact, is the Bat-Rocket Grenade; the Bat-Storage Pouch with still-coiled Bat-Rope and grappling hook attached; the Bat-A-Rang; the "Radio Buckle" storage compartment; Bat-Signal Flashlight; Bat-Cuffs; Bat-Gun Launcher; Message Sender, and original Instruction Sheet. The yellow plastic adjustable belt is still stapled to the cardboard backer, as issued, Mint-In-Box. The term "holy grail" gets overused a lot, but it's completely appropriate for this incredible gem, an item that only the most complete Batman collection could ever boast of having. From the Ben Novack, Jr. Estate Collection. Estimate: $20,000+.
Heritage Auctions is far and away the largest auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $800 million, and 700,000+ 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
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