Courtesy of Freeman's

A leaf from the Gutenberg Bible sold for $81,250.

Philadelphia, PA — Freeman’s is delighted to announce the results of its inaugural Ritual and Culture auction. Kicking off the house’s Fall/Winter 2020 fine auction season, the 240-lot sale achieved a sell-through rate of 89% and realized nearly $680,000, well surpassing its pre-sale low estimate, and with 95% of bidding taking place online. A new addition to Freeman’s fall auction schedule, Ritual and Culture is one of four new, themed auctions that present art and objects from across specialist departments in compelling and unexpected ways.

Said Head of Sale, Tessa Laney: “This sale featured a series of jewel-like collections that worked in tandem to tell a compelling story about the richness of human culture.  Each group was assembled thoughtfully by dedicated collectors who were knowledgeable and passionate about their respective fields. The fantastic results of this sale demonstrate that well-curated collections resonate strongly with a range of buyers.”

The 20-lot Books & Manuscripts section achieved a 100% sell-through rate and realized nearly $200,000. The sale included 15 incunabula, led by the highly anticipated Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible (Lot 26), which sold for $81,250—soaring past its pre-sale estimate of $40,000-60,000. Another highlight from this section was Biblia (in West Low German With Glosses According to Nicolaus de Lyra’s Postils) (Lot 31) which realized $32,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-30,000.

Said Head of the Books & Manuscripts Department, Darren Winston: “Rarely does a collection such as this come to market. These 20 lots represent over 9,000 years of printing history. Led by an exquisite Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible, several of these titles haven’t seen any examples come to auction in over 100 years. It was a magnificent day in the book world today.”


London — The Folio Society is thrilled to publish the first ever illustrated edition of Mario Puzo’s genre-defining The Godfather, a brilliant and brutal story of Mafia feuds in post-war New York.This sensational new title is lavishly illustrated with atmospheric artwork by Robert Carter and an exclusive introduction by Jonathan Freedland.

© The Courtauld

The manuscript of "Avant et après" by Paul Gauguin.

London — The Courtauld has acquired one of the most significant artists manuscripts ever to enter a UK public collection – a unique and richly illustrated text by the highly influential French Post-Impressionist artist Paul Gauguin.

Part-memoir and part-manifesto, the 213-page manuscript, titled "Avant et après" (Before and After) reveals important insights into Gauguin’s life, relationships and thoughts, and includes numerous  drawings and prints by the artist.

Offered to The Courtauld as part of the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu scheme administered by the Arts Council, "Avant et après" is the last major manuscript by Gauguin in the world outside a public collection, and now the only example in the UK. It was written in 1903, the year of the artist’s death, at his home on the Marquesas island of Hiva Ova, French Polynesia. It has never been exhibited publicly and remains unstudied by scholars in its original form.

"Avant et après" is an important addition to The Courtauld’s collection of works by Gauguin, the most significant in the UK, joining amongst other works the masterpieces from his Tahitian period, Nevermore and Te Rerioa – and further strengthens The Courtauld’s resources for Gauguin scholarship.

In addition to anecdotes about his friendships and opinions on the work of leading contemporary artists such as Degas, Pissarro, Signac and Cézanne, one of the key sections in the manuscript reflects on the brief yet tumultuous period that Gauguin stayed with Vincent van Gogh in Arles. Gauguin describes the incident in which Van Gogh severed his own ear after a violent quarrel with his fellow artist, a passage that was long regarded as the primary source of information about that fateful and infamous event.

The manuscript is also studded with examples of Gauguin’s opinions on literary figures and caustic comments on those art critics who did not understand (or appreciate) the modernity of his art. Gauguin’s hatred of hypocrisy and bourgeois morality is a constant theme. The text also includes excoriating attacks on the French colonial and church authorities in Polynesia, alongside examples of his own exoticist racial stereotyping.

By late 2020, the manuscript will be available to view and study as a scroll-through document online, accompanied by a revised transcription and new English translation that remains as close to the original French as possible with an honest and unfiltered representation of Gauguin’s language that will aid research on the artist and his legacy.

The manuscript will be displayed alongside Gauguin’s paintings and sculpture in The Courtauld’s Gallery’s Great Room when the gallery reopens in 2021 following our major Courtauld Connects transformation project.

Ernst Vegelin van Claerbergen, Head of The Courtauld Gallery, said: “Having been lost from view for almost a century, the re-emergence of the original manuscript for "Avant et après" is a sensational event. Richly illustrated with drawings and prints, the odds were stacked against it surviving intact. Although he was one of the most influential artists of the 19th century, Gauguin is also a highly controversial figure.  We will now ensure that this important manuscript is fully researched and made widely available as part of the reappraisal of Gauguin’s debated legacy. It has found a fitting place in The Courtauld’s pre-eminent collection of the artist’s work. We are extremely grateful to the Acceptance in Lieu Panel, to the owner and to Sotheby’s Tax, Heritage and UK Museums Team for bringing about this remarkable acquisition”

Edward Harley, OBE, Chairman, Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said: “I am delighted that this important manuscript in Gauguin’s hand containing many original sketches and drawings has been allocated to The Courtauld Gallery through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme. "Avant et après," written shortly before Gauguin’s death, is richly illustrated and is the last major manuscript of Gauguin’s written works to be held in private hands. I hope this example will encourage others to use the scheme to make art and culture accessible by enriching our national collections.”

Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions

Los Angeles – A beautiful collection of 81 hand-colored aquatints by the Swiss artist Karl Bodmer from the complete collection of the illustrated travelogue, ''Prince of Wied's Travels in the Interior of North America,'' will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on September 24, 2020. Bodmer, who journeyed with the German Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied from 1833-34 along the Missouri River, produced what is considered the best depictions of the indigenous peoples and landscapes during the frontier era, an America then still unspoiled by western migration. Of the Native American tribes of the Great Plains that they encountered, Bodmer's depictions of the Blackfeet and Mandan tribes are especially important as the populations of these tribes were greatly affected by the smallpox epidemic of 1837, thus making Bodmer's work the last visual testament to their culture.
Prince Max, as he was called, chose Bodmer to accompany him on the expedition along the Missouri River to visually depict the scenes that the Prince would write about. The result is this collection: three volumes of text by the Prince and two volumes of aquatints by Bodmer, in the first Paris edition published by Chez Arthus Bertrand, 1840-43 (''Voyage dans l'interieur de l'Amerique du Nord''). Text volumes in French also include 37 wood-engraved illustrations, only lacking the map in completeness. The two complete volumes of illustrations include the large folio volume with 48 oversized hand-colored aquatints measuring approximately 24.5'' x 18'', and the quarto volume with 33 hand-colored aquatints measuring approximately 12.5'' x 10.25''. The complete set of 81 aquatints is magnificent in their display, a time capsule with their hand-coloring evoking the sense of awe and discovery of the expedition. All volumes are bound in half black morocco and blue paper-covered boards with gilt accenting, and with black morocco labels to illustrated volumes. Minor handling wear to volumes, with a few small repaired tears to plates, minute toning and foxing, a few plates beginning to separate from binding. Overall a very good plus set with excellent display quality.

Bidding begins at $150,000.

Additional information can be found at:

Courtesy of RR Auction

One-page letter signed "Edgar A. Poe," August 31, 1847. Estimate: $100,000+

Boston — RR Auction's October Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction is filled with rare and remarkable pieces, including extraordinary letters from Martin Luther, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, James Dean, and Abraham Lincoln.

Highlights include; a Martin Luther letter critical of Jews. In German, the one-page handwritten letter is signed "Martinus Luther D," circa September 1, 1543. An extensive, uncommonly well-preserved letter to Georg Buchholzer, Provost of St. Nikolai in Berlin, regarding the latter's altercation with the Brandenburgian court preacher Johann Agricola from Eisleben (also known as 'Magister Eisleben') about the treatment of the local Jews. Prince-Elector Joachim II, who in 1539 had introduced the Reformation to Brandenburg and whose tolerant politics toward Jews enraged the population, had long desired reconciliation between Luther and his former disciple Agricola, and he must have suspected that Provost Buchholzer was poisoning Luther's mind against his court preacher. Buchholzer, therefore, wrote to Luther requesting an interpretation of some Biblical verses by which Agricola justified his pro-Jewish stance. In his answer, Luther insists that Buchholzer has done well to preach against the Jews shall continue to do so, ignoring the habitual liar Agricola. (Estimate: $250,000+)

Edgar Allan Poe handwritten letter with Poe, hoping to publish in the year of 'Ulalume'. The one-page letter signed "Edgar A. Poe," August 31, 1847. Poe's final letter to the Philadelphia lawyer and playwright Robert Taylor Conrad, editor of Graham's Magazine. In part: "It is now a month since I wrote you about the two articles I left with you—but, as I have heard nothing from you, I can only suppose that my letter has not reached you—or, at all events, that, in the press of other business, you have forgotten it and me." Accompanied by an engraved portrait and an export certificate from the French Ministry of Culture.

Poe had been editor of Graham's from February 1841 to April 1842, but continued to contribute after leaving the magazine's employ. It was where 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' first appeared, along with several other Poe short stories and literary reviews. Graham's eventually began rejecting Poe's submissions, and infamously passed up the chance to publish 'The Raven' in 1844. A beautifully preserved letter directly associated with Poe's career as writer and critic—an immensely desirable autograph.(Estimate: $100,000+)

Henry David Thoreau signed letter. The extremely rare, early handwritten letter by "D. H. Thoreau"—his given name, before becoming 'Henry David.’ The one-page handwritten letter signed "D. H. Thoreau," Cambridge, June 22, 1837. Letter to John, in part: "I can write you nothing definite with regard to a room. I spoke with Mr. Lavering upon the subject, and he tells me that he has already received a number of applications, but is so circumstanced as not to be able to return any positive answer at present. However, he says he will remember you, and inform me of the result.

As Thoreau was completing his studies at Harvard in 1837, childhood friend and former Concord Academy classmate John Shepard Keyes was just about to begin his. Helping Keyes secure residence in the bustling college town, Thoreau penned this quick note and signed "D. H. Thoreau"; shortly after graduation, he inexplicably reversed the order of his first and middle names, signing himself 'Henry David' or 'H. D.' from that point forward. Upon his return to Concord that summer, he began his lifelong friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, who introduced him into the local literary scene and encouraged him to contribute essays to The Dial, where he began to make a name for himself. This letter to Keyes (who would also connect with Emerson years later, when his daughter married Emerson's son Edward) highlights a crucial year in the renowned author's life and has never before been published. Anything signed by Thoreau is highly sought after and incredibly rare; but even rarer are the few pieces signed "D. H. Thoreau," before unofficially changing his name. This letter is the only such example we have ever seen, an extraordinary literary treasure. (Estimate: $20,000+)

Thomas Jefferson letter to Madison on Jeremy Bentham and Czar Alexander I. The one-page handwritten note signed "Th: Jefferson," May 12, 1822. Letter to James Madison, "Mr. Madison," written from Monticello. In full: "I thank you for the communication of Mr. Rush's letter which I now return. Mr. Bentham's character of Alexander is I believe just and that worse traits might still be added to it equally just. He is now certainly become the watchman of tyranny for Europe, as dear to its oppressors as detestable to the oppressed. If however he should engage in war with the Turks, as I expect, his employment there may give opportunities for the friends of liberty to proceed in their work. I set out for Bedford tomorrow to be absent three weeks. I salute you with constant and affectionate friendship and respect.”

In early March, Richard Rush had sent a letter to Madison discussing several significant subjects, one being the tense situation between Turkey and Russia, fomented by the Greek War of Independence. Rush related philosopher Jeremy Bentham's criticism of the Russian leader, Emperor Alexander I, writing: 'Mr. Bentham says, that Alexander, unhappily for the power which he wields, is both a fop and a hypocrite, the most so that Europe has seen for ages. He anticipates nothing advantageous, but much of harm, to human liberty, from his reign.' A keen observer of international affairs, Jefferson's expectation of war between Russia and the Turks would be proven correct at the end of the decade: though Alexander I died in 1825, his successor, Nicholas I, went to war with the Ottoman Empire in 1828. A fantastic letter connecting the great political minds and figures of the 18th and 19th centuries. (Estimate: $20,000+)

Albert Einstein signed photograph. The magnificent vintage matte-finish studio portrait of Einstein in a pleasant bust-length pose, signed neatly in the lower border in fountain pen, "Albert Einstein, 1931." The reverse bears a credit stamp attributed to The New York Times Studio. A decidedly scarce soft-focus portrait of Einstein. (Estimate: $10,000+)

Abraham Lincoln signed letter where Lincoln petitions Sumner for a Spanish-speaker. The one-page handwritten letter as president, signed "A. Lincoln," Executive Mansion letterhead, March 11, 1863. A brief letter to Senator Charles Sumner. In full: "I still have no name for Solicitor to go to Peru. Have you?" Matted and framed by Goodspeed's Book Shop with four images to an overall size of 12 x 16. An ardent abolitionist, Charles Sumner was also chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A recently approved treaty with the South American country authorized the appointment of a solicitor 'learned in the Spanish language.' A desirable piece of correspondence demonstrating Lincoln's ability to balance the domestic tumult in the Civil War while keeping an eye toward American foreign relations. (Estimate: $10,000+)

Other top lots include a rare Adam Smith document, a stunning George Washington appointment, a Beatles album inscribed to George's sister, and an early document signed by Sun Yat-sen.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts sale by RR Auction began on September 12 and will conclude October 7. For more information, go to

Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

Ilse Bing, Self-Portrait with Leica, 1931, gelatin silver print. Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg

Washington, DC — During the 1920s, the iconic New Woman was splashed across the pages of magazines and projected on the silver screen. As a global phenomenon, she embodied an ideal of female empowerment based on real women making revolutionary changes in life and art. Featuring more than 120 photographers from over 20 countries, the groundbreaking exhibition, The New Woman Behind the Camera, explores the diverse "new" women who embraced photography as a mode of professional and personal expression from the 1920s to the 1950s. The first exhibition to take an international approach to the subject, it examines how women brought their own perspectives to artistic experimentation, studio portraiture, fashion and advertising work, scenes of urban life, ethnography, and photojournalism, profoundly shaping the medium during a time of tremendous social and political change. Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, this landmark exhibition will be on view from February 14 through May 31, 2021, in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. It will then travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where it will be on view from July 12 through November 7, 2021.

In an era when traditional definitions of womanhood were being questioned, women’s lives were a mix of emancipating and confining experiences that varied by country. Many women around the world found the camera to be a means of independence as they sought to redefine their positions in society and expand their rights. This exhibition presents a geographically, culturally, and artistically diverse range of practitioners to advance new conversations about the history of modern photography and the continual struggle of women to gain creative agency and self-representation.

"This innovative exhibition reevaluates the history of modern photography through the lens of the New Woman, a feminist ideal that emerged at the end of the 19th century and spread globally during the first half of the 20th century," said Kaywin Feldman, director, National Gallery of Art. "The transnational realities of modernism visualized in photography by women such as Lola Álvarez Bravo, Berenice Abbott, Claude Cahun, Germaine Krull, Dorothea Lange, Niu Weiyu, Tsuneko Sasamoto, and Homai Vyarawalla offer us an opportunity to better understand the present by becoming more fully informed of the past."

In conjunction with the exhibition, the National Gallery of Art Library presents a new installation of some 30 photographs ranging from cabinet cards to digital prints from the department of image collections that explores the rise of women photographers from the late 19th century to the present day. Among the artists featured are Jessie Tarbox Beals, Margaret Bourke-White, Imogen Cunningham, Judy Dater, Laura Gilpin, Lillian Baynes Griffin, Lotte Jacobi, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Vivian Maier, and Sarah Choate Sears. An example of a Rolleiflex camera will also be displayed.

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

Dallas, TX – A copy of the Declaration of Independence that was published by The Democratic Press publisher John Binns and a daguerreotype of one of the partners whose discovery of gold helped spark the California Gold Rush sold for $30,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Auction to $1,182,076 Sept. 14-15.

“Rare and unusual pieces, items that don’t often come to market, did very well in this sale,” Heritage Auctions Americana Director Curtis Lindner said. “The fact that almost 1,500 people bid in this auction and the prices realized throughout proves that the demand for such items remains very high.”

The final price was nearly four times the pre-auction estimate for the Declaration of Independence: John Binns Version Published in 1819, an engraved broadside facsimile of the Declaration of Independence with medallions of seals of the thirteen original colonies forming a decorative oval surrounding the text. At the top are medallion portraits of founding fathers John Hancock, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, above which is an eagle with shield, olive branch, and arrows holding a streamer reading “E Pluribus Unum.” A Philadelphia journalist and publisher of The Democratic Press, Binns was one of the first to realize, in June of 1816, the potential market for a "splendid and correct copy of the Declaration of Independence, with facsimiles of all the signatures, the whole to be encircled with the arms of the thirteen States and of the United States" (as described in his solicitation for subscribers).

An Important From-Life Daguerreotype of John Sutter, which also carried a pre-auction estimate of $8,000, presents the man who, along with James Marshall, accidentally discovered gold in California, sparking a stampede to the West Coast of people hoping to strike it rich. As it turns out, neither had much wealth at the time of his death, but their names will be linked forever with one of the most well-known events in American history.

A Samuel Tilden: Prohibitively Rare Portrait Flag sparked competitive bidding that drove the final price to $27,500, nearly five times its pre-auction estimate, for one of just two known examples of the historical relic. Also doubling its estimate was an Antebellum 28-Star “Texas” Flag, which brought a winning bid of $20,000, while a Roosevelt & Fairbanks: Wonderful “Roos-e-Field” Jugate, perhaps the first ever brought to auction, found a new home at $18,750, the same amount spent for a Lyndon B. Johnson Civil Rights Act Bill Signing Pen.

Historical curiosities were extremely popular among bidders, including a Franklin D. Roosevelt: Personally-Used Wheelchair From Hot Springs, Arkansas that nearly tripled its estimate when it closed at $17,500. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow sometimes eluded prosecution by eating what was caught with the contents of Barrow's Personally-Owned Fishing Tackle Box, which more than tripled its estimate at $15,625, and a Western Union Thomas A. Edison Stock Ticker Tape Machine drew nearly two dozen bids before finishing at $15,000.

Other top lots in the auction included, but were not limited to:

A Coolidge & Dawes: Key Jugate Rarity with Terrific Slogan: $13,750
The Largest Theodore Roosevelt-Signed Photograph: $13,750
A Fells Point Baltimore 13-Star Flag from the War of 1812: $13,750
A Gazette Of The US (NY, NY): October 7, 1789 National Thanksgiving Day Proclamation: $13,750
A Roosevelt & Garner: Phenomenal Jugate Tire Cover: $13,125
A Woman's Suffrage: Large Graphic Votes for Women Pennant: $9,375

For complete results, visit

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

The top lot: Arthur Adams' wraparound cover featuring Batman, Robin, and the original Batwoman, which sold for $4,560.

Dallas, TX – Raising nearly $100,000 to help comic-book creators was the very best way to spend Batman Day.

Saturday afternoon, Heritage Auctions sold 110 original Batman No. 75 covers illustrated by some of the industry’s best and best-known names, among them DC Comics Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee, Eisner Award-winner Arthur Adams and The Dark Knight Returns’ creator Frank Miller. And when the final hammer fell, less than an hour after the sale began, The Hero Initiative’s Batman 100 Project hammered at $98,535 thanks to the participation of more than 340 online bidders.

That money raised will go to writers and artists who might otherwise be unable to pay for rent or food or cover hospital bills.

The nonprofit Hero Initiative, now in its 20th year, began auctioning these singular one-offs in 2007, starting with The Spider-Man 100 project. In years past these covers were sold during comic conventions and through retailers. But because of the global pandemic, DC Comics and the Hero Initiative made The Batman 100 Project available exclusively through the Dallas-based auction house.

“It was Heritage’s honor to be associated with The Hero Initiative this year,” said Heritage Auctions’ Vice President Barry Sandoval. “It’s always rewarding to see an auction do so well, but it’s doubly so when the money raised goes to benefit such a good cause.”

The total price realized for the auction was $118,242, which includes buyer’s premium on each cover sold. Heritage Auctions donated its entire seller’s commission for this event, and had each issue graded and slabbed by Certified Guaranty Corporation before the auction began.

Art Adams can boast having the auction’s top lot: His stunning wraparound cover, featuring Batman, Robin and the original Batwoman squaring off against the Joker, kicked off the sale and hammered at $4,560. Lee’s squared-jawed Batman sketch was a close second at $4,080, followed by Alan Davis’ wraparound featuring Batman and his rogues gallery. It sold for $3,820.

At auction’s end, more than 20 of the covers – Batman No. 75 blanks provided by DC – sold for more than $1,800. Those include illustrations by Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love cover artist Chrissie Zullo, Spawn and Uncanny X-Men’s Philip Tan, the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz (best known for his work on New Mutants), DC Comics Style Guide creator José Luis García-López, Batman: The Long Halloween’s Tim Sale, Crisis on Infinite Earths’ iconic penciller George Pérez, frequent Grant Morrison collaborator Frank Quitely, Adam Kubert and Miller.

The Hero Initiative was co-founded in 2000 by longtime journalist Jim McLauchlin, and its disbursement board includes nine artists, writers and publishers, including Howard Chaykin, John Romita Sr., Ann Nocenti and Klaus Janson.

Since its inception, the nonprofit has helped more than 100 comic book creators keep roofs over their heads and food in their cupboards. It has also allowed them to visit doctors without worrying about mounting expenses. The Hero Initiative has covered medical and living expenses for Howard the Duck’s father Steve Gerber, colorist Tom Ziuko and, most famously, Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Famer Gene Colan, who said before his death in 2011, "If there was not a Hero Initiative, I probably would have gone under. Hero picked up the slack and made sure I didn't drown.”

“Artists began working on the Batman 100 Project last year, which feels like a very, very long time ago now,” McLauchlin said Saturday. “It’s always nice when a task reaches its endpoint, and we’ve completed this mission. But the ongoing mission of The Hero Initiative goes on. It’s a 24/7 job. And today I am grateful to the artists, DC, the bidders and Heritage Auctions for doing their part in helping us continue our mission.”

For complete results from The Batman 100 Project, go here.

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

Dallas, TX – Any Alex Raymond primer should begin with this excerpt from A History of the Comic Strip, written in 1968 to coincide with an exhibition in the hallowed halls of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Palais du Louvre.
“Of all the great comic-strip creators, Alex Raymond unquestionably possessed the most versatile talent,” it begins. “Other artists surpassed him in the creative power of boldness of style, others in the development of the plot or in accuracy of dialogue. But none possessed as varied an array of talents – talents that enabled him to master all the various types of strips at which he tried his hand.”

In 1934, while only his mid-20s, the New Rochelle, N.Y., native created three strips for his employer King Features Syndicate. One was Secret Agent X-9, a collaboration with The Maltese Falcon’s author Dashiell Hammett; another was Jungle Jim, which chronicled the exploits of a wild-animal hunter and explorer. And the other was Flash Gordon, initially created to rival the popular Buck Rogers and, in the end, the ultimate victor in whatever competition existed between the two far-flung earthmen thrust toward the edges of time and space.

Two early Flash Gordon strips will appear in Heritage Auctions’ Oct. 3-4 European Comic Art event, which previews at Galerie 9e Art in Paris from Sept. 30-Oct. 3 and will be held online and at Heritage’s world headquarters in Dallas. The sale is heavy with highlights from some of Europe’s best and best-known talents, among them Milo Manara, Enki Bilal, Jean Giraud and Moebius, interspersed with never-before-available chefs-d'oeuvre from some of the most influential American illustrators and animators.

Both original Flash Gordon strips come from the family of Alex Raymond, which only recently decided to part with some of the most significant strips drawn by one of the medium’s most important creators.

The family is also making available for the first time six original Rip Kirby strips from 1946 until 1956, the year Raymond was killed in a car crash. Forgoing a return to the strips that made him famous, Raymond began work on the Kirby strips upon his return from World War II, and made his private detective a former Marine – just as Raymond had been.

“No matter how young the collector or how ‘modern’ their collection, they will always wind up wanting to own an Alex Raymond,” says Joe Mannarino, who, with his wife Nadia, co-heads Heritage Auctions’ East Coast Comic Books and Original Comic Art category.

“The pillars upon which everything was built are Little Nemo creator Winsor McCay, Prince Valiant’s Hal Foster, Krazy Kat’s George Herriman, Terry and the Pirates creator Milton Caniff and Alex Raymond,” Mannarino says “There will always be somebody who wants an example of that.”

For proof look no further than Heritage’s Sept. 10-13 Comics & Comic Art event, where a Raymond Flash Gordon-Jungle Jim original from 1939 sold for nearly $100,000, making it one of the top 10-performing pieces in a 1,074-lot sale that completely sold out (and the fifth-highest price ever paid for a Raymond original through Heritage Auctions). And earlier this year, the first-ever Flash Gordon strip sold at auction for close to $500,000.

The two strips in the European Comic Art event date from 1940, and were each part of the long-running “The Power Men of Mongo" storyline. As our online catalog notes, this was “the first great story arc in the strip's celebrated run.”

One Flash Gordon original strip dates from July 7, 1940, and features Gordon in a red suit emblazoned with a yellow lightning bolt – an homage, perhaps, to writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert’s Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, who debuted only seven months earlier, and writer Robert Webb and artist Lou Fine’s Dynamo, who also made his bow in early 1940.

The similarities to both are uncanny.

“We always talk about Raymond being such an influencer, but he was also being influenced,” Mannarino says. “It’s such a unique piece because it bridges comic-strip art and comic-book art.”

The other, topped with a Jungle Jim strip, comes from August 12, 1940, and features Flash attempting to rescue political prisoners, including Dr. Hans Zarkov, from one of Ming the Merciless’ concentration camps. The prophetic strip appeared long before most Americans discovered what was happening across Europe.

Flash Gordon long outlived his creator, who died in 1959. The strip ran in newspapers from 1934 until 2003, penned by a variety of writers and artists. He spawned decades’ worth of movie serials, cartoons, comics and big-screen features. And as George Lucas wrote in his introduction to the 2007 book Alex Raymond – His Life and Art, had it not been for Raymond and Flash, there may never have been a Star Wars.

“Alex Raymond’s boundless imagination has inspired me and countless others to pursue their own fantasies,” Lucas wrote. “His presence is still felt and remembered so many years after his death, and he has directly or indirectly touched us all. I, for one, am very thankful for his inspiration.”


Amsterdam — Catawiki is pleased to announce its latest Exclusive Art & Photography book auction. The highlight of this exciting collection is a limited edition copy of Poèmes de Charles d'Orléans by Henri Matisse which has a gift inscription and illustration by Matisse. Already a beautiful book, printed entirely in lithography, this copy was a gift to his neighbor in Vence, the scholar Mr. Jean Darquet. As well as the gift inscription, he has drawn a sprig of flowers in oil pastels. Truly a “one off” This book can be viewed at this link.