Market Report – May 2017 Heritage Signature Auction (Part 2)
Hello everyone, today we’ll continue going through the results from HA’s Signature Auction on 18-20 May 2017! After focusing only on Amazing Spider-Man and (Uncanny) X-Men artwork last week, OA from other titles will be discussed here.
The original comic art market continues to exhibit robustness, with almost all items in this auction going for at least FMV, and several finishing substantially higher. There certainly wasn’t much bargain hunting to be done this round! Another point to note is that a ton of Jack Kirby Marvel and DC artwork from the early-’60s to late-’70s was offered this auction. Judging from the 30 such pieces sold, overall value of Kirby OA remains firm, with pieces in the $10k+ category rising slightly in price. I think a Jack Kirby Artist Spotlight is warranted soon, given the mountain of Kirby OA and achievements to discuss. But for now, let’s proceed to the HA review!
All twelve Watchmen covers were auctioned on HA in 2013, with the general consensus being they sold for rather reasonable prices relative to the cost of interior pages (except for the #1 cover which fetched $155.4k). Well, now the market was given a second crack at this #2 cover, and its $65.7k hammer price is a healthy premium to the $38.8k it sold for in 2013.
Prices of Mazz DD OA appear to have gradually moved up over the past couple years, with a separate page in this auction going for $5k. I’m not sure if HA’s description of #226 being the first part of “Born Again” played a part, but it should be noted that #227 to #233 are the actual story arc, with #226 being somewhat of a prelude to “Born Again”.
You just know deadly little Miho is about to have some good ’ol gory fun after the setup on this page! I feel that Sin City OA remains a reasonably-priced segment of Miller’s market, given that it contains art from what I consider his artistic peak period (along with 300), and has received significant media exposure through the movies. Its relative newness compared to say, Ronin, holds it back price-wise but that could change as the years progress.
Given that this is by far the weakest of the six IG covers, with its heroes-only rear/side-body and small-head shots, $28.7k is a solid result. Crucially, this piece lacks Thanos, the Gauntlet and cosmic beings, thus hurting its desirability greatly. I had this cover pegged at $25k before the auction, so the seller should be pleased with this result!
Side Note: The following is a very rough guide which can be used to estimate the value of a panel page, splash and cover from the same issue or an artist’s run on a title. For reference, this HA auction included the above $28.7k IG #2 cover and a decent heroes-only splash from IG #4 which sold for $7.2k. A strong heroes-only panel page from IG #3 went for $3.6k on ComicLink in March 2017. Going by these prices, two strong panel pages equal one decent splash page, and four decent splash pages equal one mediocre cover! I’ve used this method to estimate values before, but must reiterate that you do so at your own peril! For instance, a panel page is sometimes worth less than one-eighth of a cover, and a splash page is often worth more than one-quarter of a cover. For those who want a simplified formula (and are brave enough to trust my wonky math):
- 2 x panel page = 1 x splash page
- 4 x splash page = 1 x cover
Prices of ’70s Starlin Thanos OA exploded this auction, in line with what was discussed in my Jim Starlin Artist Spotlight. Given the ongoing Marvel Cosmic heat, I did expect the stunning CM splash to finish above $20k, but that Warlock #10 page sold for almost double what I expected. A weaker Thanos page from Warlock #10 fetched a strong $9k, and this non-Thanos panel page from Iron Man #55 hammered for a mighty $16.7k (which is what Thanos pages from IM #55 were going for just six months ago)!
Byrne FF OA continues to edge upwards in value, as demonstrated by the performance of this cover and a $5.3k She-Hulk battle panel page. Prices still lag far behind John’s X-Men work however, which makes his FF stuff attractive to collectors looking for relatively affordable prime-period Byrne OA.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this auction was the phenomenal price paid for this 1st Appearance modern cover. The piece was consigned by X-23’s co-creator, Craig Kyle, and there’s no doubt he timed the sale absolutely perfectly, riding the unexpected success of Logan and newfound spotlight on his feral female clone. This landmark sale bodes well for the future of OA collecting, as the cover was published relatively recently (2004), which means it’s probably not a childhood nostalgia-based purchase by the buyer. This hopefully demonstrates that: a) readers of modern comic books collect OA, which portends well to the existence of future generations of OA collectors; and b) gargantuan OA purchases are also made for reasons other than nostalgia!
Well, we finally know what a Moebius SS page fetches on the open market, as this is the first public American sale I’m aware of. This project has an impeccable pedigree – Moebius and writer Stan Lee are perhaps the biggest names in European and American comics respectively – so them actually collaborating on a title is monumental. Add in the fact that this is one of Moebius’ rare American comics works, along with pages from this book never appearing for sale, and $26.3k seems like a fair price for a piece of history! Also, do search out the Silver Surfer: Parable hardcover collected edition to read Moebius’ article on his thoughts and creative process behind this project – it’s a phenomenal insight into the heart and mind of a comic book deity!
This is the new record holder for a publicly sold piece of original American comic art, dethroning the 1st Appearance of Wolverine page from Incredible Hulk #180 and the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #328. As a comic book fan, it’s gladdening to see comic illustration art increasingly gain recognition and value, but as a superhero lover, I’d like to see one of the costumed characters snatch that title back soon!
Two Lim IG Thanos panel pages were offered this auction, with the other page featuring a small Thanos headshot and large Warlock/Silver Surfer panels from IG #5 going for $3.8k. I actually prefer the #4 page with its powerful Thanos action shot and dying heroes, but maybe the Adam Warlock hype arising from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s post-credit scene helped to propel the #5 page higher?
There was a plethora of IW pages this round, with a splash from #2 and two three-page lots from #4 and #6 also auctioned. Prices for IW OA jumped noticeably – Thanos panel pages are around $1.2k now, and Galactus with heroes half-splashes are at $1.5k. The reasons are probably twofold: 1) rising IG OA prices are lifting IW and maybe even Infinity Crusade values; and 2) collectors priced out of the IG market are increasingly going after IW pages.
Until next time, happy collecting!