York, PA - Hake’s Auctions - founded 51 years ago as Hake’s Americana - knows how antsy collectors can be when waiting for the gift-giving and receiving season. That’s why they always plan one of their biggest sales of the year for mid-November, so collectors can get the pick of the crop before the holiday auction frenzy takes hold. This year’s fall classic, a fully curated 2,518-lot auction to be held Nov. 13-15, follows Hake’s tried-and-true formula of giving collectors what they want: the finest-quality examples of toys, comic books and vintage collectibles of their youth, as well as premier historical and political items from long-held collections.
“This time we’ve taken a broader approach, with an outstanding cross-selection that’s accessible to everyone,” said Hake’s president, Alex Winter. “Maybe a person can’t afford a rare original artwork created for the cover of a Golden Age comic, but they’ll find plenty of affordable art in this sale that would make as an excellent starter piece or addition to an existing collection - something they can be proud of.”
The original comic art category is “very solid,” Winter said. “There’s a unique aspect to every one of the top lots, starting with Jack Kirby’s original art for Marvel’s ‘Fantastic Four’ #36.” The pencil-and-ink full page has five panels showing Medusa, the female member of the newly introduced “Frightful Four” and a character who would later be identified as one of “The Inhumans.” The artwork is estimated at $20,000-$35,000.
Another important Fantastic Four original artwork was created by John and Sal Buscema for the title’s issue #299, published February 1987. The image depicts She-Hulk punching The Thing through a brick wall and startling Spider-Man, who is perched nearby. “The Buscema brothers are longtime Marvel veterans, but it’s fairly rare to encounter cover art that combines their talents with pencil and ink,” Winter said. “It’s also rare to see those three characters together on one cover.” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
At the moment, one of the hottest characters in comic art is The Joker’s humorous female sidekick Harley Quinn. The original Bruce Timm art for an interior page of the 1994 comic Batman Adventures: Mad Love features Quinn in six of its eight panels. “Pages like this one very seldom come to market because those who are fortunate enough to own one don’t want to sell,” said Winter. Hake’s expects the art to sell for $10,000-$20,000.
Alex Ross’ fully painted original art for DC Comics’ 2003 treasury-size, prestige-format comic featuring the Justice League of America was rendered in the artist’s distinctive photorealistic style. The montage of diagonal color panels includes scenes inside the Batcave with Batman, The Atom, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman. Its matted and framed size is 12½ by 17½ inches, and the pre-sale estimate is $5,000-$10,000.
The price spread for vintage comic books starts in the hundreds and runs into the five-figure realm. “There are very nice books available at every level. Even absolute beginners can start a collection without spending a whole paycheck. For those who’ve always wanted to get into comic book collecting, this is their chance,” Winter said.
On the other hand, the more advanced collector might want to consider Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), which tells the origin story of The Flash and also includes the first appearance of Hawkman and Shiera Saunders, later to emerge as Hawkgirl. Although CGC-graded a modest 0.5, it could still produce an auction-day surprise, Winter said. “Higher-grade examples of Flash Comics are so expensive, this might be the only way a collector could ever own a copy.” The pre-sale estimate is $20,000-$35,000. Another debut comic to watch is X-Men #1 (Sept.1963), CGC-graded 6.5, with an action-packed cover by Jack Kirby. This key Silver Age Marvel comic could hit $ 10,000-$20,000.
A stellar lineup of movie posters is led by linen-mounted one-sheets for two 1940 Universal monster classics. Both the dramatically illustrated poster for the original release of The Mummy’s Hand and the similarly-sized poster promoting The Invisible Man Returns, featuring Vincent Price, are expected to reach individual top bids of $10,000-$20,000. A linen-mounted one-sheet for Chapter 9 (Symbol of Death) of Universal’s 1938 release of the 15-chapter serial Flash Gordon’s Trip To Mars, starring Buster Crabbe, has a $5,000-$10,000 estimate. For mystery fans, there’s a rare linen-mounted one-sheet poster from the 1934 Fox release Charlie Chan’s Courage, starring Warner Oland as the famed screen detective. This very rare poster will make its auction debut with a $5,000-$20,000 estimate. Another cinematic headliner is a fantastic Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II “Ghost Trap” film prop estimated at $50,000-$75,000.
Hake’s dominated the Star Wars market in 2017 and earlier in 2018 with multiple auctions featuring the incomparable Russell Branton collection. The November sale includes 100 Star Wars lots, 70 consigned by Branton. A 1988 Star Wars: Droids - Vlix figure on blister card, issued only in Brazil, is AFA-graded 60 EX and estimated at $35,000-$50,000. Other highlights include a full set of 62 Kenner Star Wars - Power of the Force pressed aluminum coins (copyright 1985), initially offered as a mail-away promotion. Such coins were later carded with Kenner Power of the Force action figures. The set includes both variants of the Luke Skywalker coin. Estimate: $20,000-$35,000.
Yet another top lot is a Star Wars 3-pack Villain Set, copyright 1978 and AFA-graded 60 EX. “This is unlike any of the other three-packs we’ve had. It’s a pre-production example that even some advanced Star Wars collectors are not familiar with. The set includes Stormtrooper, Darth Vader and Death Squad Commander.” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
No Hake’s auction would be complete without a museum-worthy selection of political and historical memorabilia. The November sale includes a number of rare campaign pinbacks, tokens and ephemera. A rare and important “Vote Kennedy Congress” button from JFK’s first political campaign would rise to the top ranks of any political collection. One of fewer than 10 examples known to Hake’s, its estimate is $20,000-$35,000.
Hake’s Americana Auction #225 has opened for bidding by phone, mail or online at hakes.com. The first session will close on November 13, 2018, while the second session will conclude on November 15. November 14 is an interim day in which bidders can peruse the catalog and prepare for further bidding. For a free catalog or additional information, call 866-404-9800 (toll-free) or 717-434-1600. Email email@example.com.
Image: Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), debut appearance of Flash, Hawkman, Johnny Thunder and Shiera Saunders (aka Hawkgirl), CGC-graded 0.5. Extremely rare in any condition. Est. $20,000-$35,000. Courtesy of Hake’s Americana