Market Report – February 2017 Heritage Signature Auction

Welcome back all, today we’ll look at some results from last week’s HA Signature Auction and discuss the state of the OA market! HA’s quarterly Signature Auctions contain higher value pieces which generally sell for upwards of 4-figures each, so it’s a good gauge of the mid to high-priced segments of the hobby. This auction contained several pieces of Golden Age OA from different collections, which up to this point didn’t come to market often.

Side Note: During the Golden Age, OA was largely regarded as worthless, with most of it disposed of by publishers and believed to have been destroyed. This accounts for the paucity of material that survived from that period. Publishers only began returning original artwork to artists in the ’70s – before which OA was generally considered to be property of the publishers. For example, it is acknowledged that Marvel Comics gave away some OA in its possession to various parties, before artist returns were instituted in the mid-’70s.

Combine the above with the fact that early collectors have snapped up what little Golden Age OA remains, and you end up with today’s scarcity of GA OA. However, the tides appear to be shifting, as aforementioned older collectors begin to phase out of the hobby, releasing their collections to market. As at press time, ComicConnect just announced another significant collection of GA OA and comic books which will be coming to auction in May 2017.

I feel that overall, GA OA fetched lukewarm prices in this HA auction, despite the rarity and historical weight of the material. This could be attributed to the fact that OA collecting is still primarily a nostalgia-driven hobby, and today’s collectors’ lack of connection to GA material is reflected in the subdued demand. Hopefully, more collectors come to recognize the value of these pieces as they increasingly come to market. I know I’ll be looking at obtaining a few for myself!

$20k is a fair price for this piece, with its powerful depiction of Storm’s powers and claws-out Wolvie panels. Byrne UXM OA prices have been in a holding pattern over the last couple years, which is understandable given their already lofty values. If you’re a fan of this UXM run be patient and wait for a good deal to come along, as prices do slip occasionally, given the steady supply of pieces to market.

Ditko ASM OA prices have simply exploded over the past two years, as market demand coalesces around these blue-chips of original comic art. This phenomenon is similar to the flight to Amazing Fantasy #15 in the comic book market, and looks set to continue with Marvel Studios taking back control of Spidey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I’m not sure if this is an isolated incident, but I’d pegged this Keown piece at no more than $1k before the auction started. It could well be another case of the ’90s-effect kicking in, as fans of that era clamour for a page from one of their defining Hulk artists.

Art Adams is hot, first appearances are in demand, and collectors adore splash pages. Mix that with early-Adams art of his famous co-creation, and you get one darn desirable piece of OA! I feel that the fading marker backgrounds (always use India ink kids!) held the price back a bit, but in the end $14.3k is still a very respectable chunk of change. Most importantly, I’m sure the buyer is ecstatic at owning this historic page by one of the industry’s revered icons.

This powerful cover ended about as expected in today’s market – and exactly double its price of $4,481.25 in May 2012. However, I feel it’s still a fair deal for the buyer, as this is the best SSM cover for public sale in recent memory!

Despite its staggering price, this piece actually represents good value. In my opinion, this early-Avengers page featuring both the Avengers and Defenders would have cost you around $30k four years ago. “King” Kirby OA prices have appreciated since then, so to snag this significant page at 2013 prices must be immensely satisfying for the buyer!

I’d pegged this cover at $30k before the auction, and the fact it ended higher isn’t surprising. Although not advertised in HA’s description, this dramatic cover image of Valkyrie is the first appearance of Brunnhilde in Barbara Norris’ body! With the phalanx of Valkyrie fans out there, and her upcoming appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, this landmark 1st App OA could prove to be a steal down the road.

I was an underbidder on this piece, and hoped to snag it for less than $4k. Alas, ‘twas not meant to be. Although the quality of art is publication-worthy, I expected the fact that it was never published to hold its price back. However, the Starlin cosmic OA market appears to have moved up again, as the final hammer of $6.9k is close to what I’d have expected this piece to fetch if it was a published cover!

This piece ended towards the high end of its expected price range, given the dearth of X-Men on it. Perhaps its strong showing was due to the powerful presence of the Unstoppable Juggernaut? Roth X-Men pages have been hovering at the $2-3k price point for a few years now, and I think they represent good value for those looking to acquire Silver Age art from a major Marvel title featuring famous characters.

You won’t find any OA in the market from Simonson’s legendary second run on Mighty Thor, which he penciled and inked himself, as he’s hung on to all of it. The next best thing is to get a page from his first run (#260-271), during which Walt worked with inkers such as DeZuniga and Joe Sinnott. $2k is about the price you can expect to pay for a page featuring Thor with some action thrown in.

Until next time, happy collecting!


Here’s Part 1 & Part 2 of the guide to collecting original art; and my CAF gallery.

Original Art Aficionado archive


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