Market Report – March 2017 ComicLink Featured Auction
Welcome back everyone, today we’ll look at results from ComicLink’s Featured Auction on 7 March 2017 and talk about the markets for these pieces! Results were solid across the board this auction, with OA in the low, mid and high-priced segments fetching FMV to above-FMV prices. Of particular encouragement, pieces in the high 3-figure to mid 4-figure price segment performed strongly. This demonstrates that the middle market (generally a good bellwether) is healthy, which bodes well for the prosperity of the OA collecting hobby. The robust OA middle market indicates that there’s sizeable demand from collectors who are graduating or have graduated from lower-priced pieces, and now have the confidence along with financial ability to invest significant sums of money in OA. The next generation of big-spending collectors who’ll pay 5 to 6-figures for OA will likely emerge from this middle market, so the larger it is, the greater probability that the high end of the market will also continue doing well. Alright time to talk some art!
$7.6k for this admittedly awesome action page continues the recent strong performance of Andru ASM OA. With John Romita Sr. ASM OA already commanding big dollars, collectors have turned their attention to artwork from Andru’s lengthy run on the title after Romita left. Andru’s ASM work has been appreciating over the past year and a half, a trend I expect to continue as long as Romita’s work remains loftily priced, and collectors look for more affordable avenues to obtain Bronze Age OA of Marvel’s main man from his flagship title.
Compared to prices of OA available for purchase directly from Campbell, $3.1k for the Wolverine variant cover seems like a good deal! It features a trademark Campbell babe, but perhaps the relative anonymity of Remus contributed to its lower price (which even a Wolvie headshot couldn’t push up), or maybe the buyer just got a steal? The Danger Girl page fetched what I think is a fair price, considering it features a large full-figure image of the titular heroine and generous smattering of Campbell ladies, from his hit creator-owned series.
When Capullo started selling his “New 52” Batman OA, many felt that asking prices were overly optimistic. Several pieces did sell though, and now some of those are starting to appear at auction. $4.2k for this panel page may indicate that the market has accepted Greg’s asking prices and then some (I believe the original price for this piece was around $3k). We’ll need more public sales at these pricing levels to confirm it, but if they do materialize, it’ll be a strong signal that collectors are willing to spend large sums on very new (barely 2-year-old) Modern Age OA when the situation warrants!
Side Note: Here’s an example of why OA needs to be “aged” by being taken off the market for a few years, in order to realize profitable returns when resold. The thinking behind this is that if a piece appears for sale too regularly, it creates the impression that it’s somehow deficient (otherwise why would the owner sell it so quickly?), and thus lowers its desirability. Also, in an auction setting, if you take the winning bidder out of the picture, the gap to the top bid of the third-highest bidder (i.e. what the underbidder has to beat), may be significant. Thus when a piece comes to market again in a short timeframe, and assuming the same previous underbidder and third-highest bidder as the two new top bidders, final hammer price may drop precipitously. The solution is to give the market for that piece sufficient time to grow and attract new collectors, as well as convince existing collectors that values have increased organically since the last sale. Ok end of ramble!
This Action Comics page sold on CLink in February 2016 for $1,777, meaning it roughly halved in price within a year. I think the buyer this round got a good buy, as it’s a half-splash Doomsday page from the most high profile comic book storyline of the ’90s (and arguably of all time). Despite comicdom’s subsequent lambasting of the Death of Superman event, collectors have begun to value its historical significance, alongside that all-important nostalgia effect starting to kick in!
These two pieces ended about as expected for an IW panel page and half-splash, both featuring Thanos. For OA collectors looking to get into the Marvel Cosmic/Infinity Saga market, Lim Infinity War and Infinity Crusade pages represent an affordable entry point, given the soaring prices of Perez and Lim Infinity Gauntlet pages. With the upcoming MCU movies and increased interest in Marvel Cosmic, the potential is there for IW and IC OA to continue appreciating into 4-figure price territory for any page featuring Thanos.
As discussed in my article on the CLink December 2016 Featured Auction, Spawn pages containing McFarlane’s pencils and inks are exceedingly rare. Going by the baseline of $6.2k for that large full-figure Spawn splash, $4.1k and $3.8k for this splash and panel page appear to be fair value, and if anything, make that $6.2k splash seem a bit of a bargain! Thanks to these two auctions, the FMV of McFarlane Spawn OA is now firmly established.
This page last sold for $21,510 on Heritage Auctions in November 2011. A 50% price increase over five-plus years, while not spectacular given the explosion of other segments of the OA market during that period, is a decent return in light of the already high value of DKR pages. $32k is about exactly what I expected this piece to sell for, and is a fair price considering the strong images of Bats (on horse), Carrie Kelly and Jim Gordon.
Two interesting tidbits: 1) This is the first auction of a Moore WD page featuring Walkers in several years; and 2) HA has never auctioned a piece of Moore WD OA but CLink and ComicConnect have multiple times. Setting aside prices for WD #1 OA pages, which command strong premiums over other already-expensive Moore WD pages from issues 2 to 6, I think $8.5k is a fair price for this tightly-rendered, action-packed, Walker page from the series co-creator.
I predicted this nice panel page would fetch a max of $3.5k, so it’s gratifying to know I’m still somewhat in touch with the blazing hot IG market. As mentioned in my article on the CLink December 2016 Featured Auction, Perez IG non-Thanos panel pages featuring costumed heroes start at around $2k, which I will now revise upwards to $2.5k. For reference, this page sold for $1.5k three years ago. At the current rate, it wouldn’t be a surprise if non-Thanos hero panel pages reach $5k by the time the first Infinity War movie comes out in May 2018!
These two pages ended as expected, at decent prices for OA that’s under two years old. The discrepancy in their prices highlights the “Thanos Tax” – that Warlock page contains several action panels, but is considerably cheaper than the non-action panel page featuring multiple images of Thanos!
Turner OA prices were all over the map this auction. I think the buyer got a bargain on that Fathom cover, but can understand why it underperformed, as it’s a slightly unfinished-looking pencil piece. The Witchblade DPS ended about as expected, and the trading card art fetched a strong price. Even though it’s small art, that intricately rendered, iconic full-figure image of Sara ensured the trading card OA commanded a healthy sum.
Until next time, happy collecting!