In the News

"William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary" Opens May 4

Amherst, MA --The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art celebrates the golden anniversary... read more

Book of Ottoman Dress is Top Lot at Freeman's Virginia House Museum Sale

Philadelphia — On Wednesday, April 10, Freeman’s had the privilege of auctioning nearly 500... read more

Heritage Auctions' Americana & Political Sale Includes Collection of Robert E. Lee Photographs

Dallas, TX - Consignments from five private collections, including one of the most comprehensive... read more

Series of Exhibits & Events at the Library of Congress for Whitman's 200th Birthday

The Library of Congress will celebrate the 200th anniversary of American poet and changemaker... read more

New Photobook Documents the Notorious Burning Man

Smallworks Press, an independent publishing company specializing in limited edition, exquisitely-printed books focusing on... read more

"Cuban Caricature and Culture" Opens at the Wolfsonian-FIU in June 2019

Miami Beach, FL — In a focused installation, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University will highlight... read more

2019 New England Society Book Awards Finalists Announced

WHAT: The New England Society in the City of New York (NES) is pleased... read more

Wolfson History Prize 2019 Shortlist Revealed

London — The shortlist for the Wolfson History Prize 2019 is revealed today, celebrating... read more

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All Over the Map

Houston, We Have a Signature

NASA flight plan for the Apollo 11 mission, signed by Neil Armstrong, $51,000 at PBA Galleries of San Francisco on March 10.

This outstanding piece of space memorabilia quintupled its auction estimate. Courtesy of PBA Galleries.

Mementoes of this historic mission all have great appeal, but this NASA document is very special indeed, being inscribed on the front cover to Dean Mell, an NBC news correspondent, by Apollo 11 commander and first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

According to Mell, flight plans were provided to the various news correspondents prior to the flight and were used for reference during broadcasts. This copy of the final flight plan has several ink notations, mostly concerning current time in relation to the hour into the mission.

Armstrong inscribed this copy for Mell at a post-flight news conference, but signed flight plans are rarely seen, and Armstrong has since ceased to autograph material. According to the Californian auctioneers, his autograph is the most valuable of any living person.

Until Death Do Us Part from Archie

Archie Comics #1, $167,300 at Heritage Auctions of Dallas on Feb. 24-25.

Batman and Superman may still be way out there in the lead, but the carrot-topped boy is on their trail at auction. Courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

I have always had rather a soft spot for what I think of as qualified record breakers, so I am delighted to tell you that George Pantela of GPAnalysis, who tracks all sales of CGC-certified comics, has confirmed that “this is the highest price ever paid for a non-superhero comic book.”

The 1942 comic that showed that Archie can hold his own with, and even outsell the likes of Spider-Man, The Hulk, and The Fantastic Four, was bought by a West Coast collector who told Heritage:

“I’ve been collecting Archies for forty years and over the years I’ve become much more selective as far as condition. I’ve been looking for a high-grade Archie #1 for some time [this one was CGC-certified 8.5] and this is the first I’ve come across that I’d feel good about owning. It’s not going to leave my possession until I die.”

In the UK, the name Archie Andrews conjures up an entirely different character. An unlikely star of a hugely popular radio show of the 1950s, our Archie Andrews was a ventriloquist’s dummy!

The idea may seem daft, but radio was the ideal choice, as Peter Brough, Archie’s controller, was not a very good ventriloquist, and the shows did give opportunities to several performers who went on to bigger things—among them Benny Hill and Archie’s singing girlfriend, the young Julie Andrews.

Out West, and Now Back East

Map of Colorado by H. R. Page, $3,738 at Old World Auctions on February 16.

On this early Colorado map, Telluride is located but no roads are shown in the area. Courtesy of Old World Auctions.

Having begun this month’s reports with a map, I will end with another—but this time something rather less exotically priced, even if the winning bid was around ten times the estimate.

H. R. Page’s Colorado map, dated 1887 and published by H. H. Lloyd in the Atlas of the United States shows early county development, including the immense counties of Arapahoe, Elbert, Bent, Weld, and Las Animas in the eastern plains. Several railroads are shown, including a branch of the Denver & Rio Grande that was proposed but never actually built.

On the back is an index to Colorado, plus interesting information on “Government Lands,” dealing with homestead laws and prices, as well as a list of towns, streams, and populations of cities in 1880.

Founded in 1977 in Bethesda, Maryland, this specialist map saleroom has since 1994 operated as a postal and, in more recent times, online auction business from Sedona, Arizona. However, the bulk of its vendors and US customers are to be found in the eastern states and with this in mind, Curt Griggs of Old World told me that the company’s headquarters relocated to Richmond, Virginia, effective March 21. All e-mail addresses and the 800-phone number remain the same.

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Derek HayesIan McKay’s weekly column in Antiques Trade Gazette has been running for more than 30 years.