Market Report – June 2017 ComicConnect Event Auction (Part 1: Jack Kirby)
Hi all, today let’s go through the results from ComicConnect’s original art auction held on 12 June 2017! This was the first session of CC’s five-day Jon Berk Auction, which featured items solely from his collection. Jon is one of the world’s most prominent comic book collectors and academics, amassing a particularly deep and extensive Golden Age comic book collection over several decades. There were many pieces of GA original artwork and early-Marvel Silver Age OA in this auction, along with copies of significant GA books such as Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27 and Fantastic Comics #3. Please refer to my February 2017 Market Report for further discussion on GA OA.
Overall, I feel that GA covers and splash pages fetched fair prices, with some panel pages from higher-profile titles putting up decent performances. Look forward to more GA OA coming to market, as older collectors let go of their collections!
Here’s the marquee OA piece of this auction – a classic Golden Age sci-fi cover to the first issue of a notable title, stunningly rendered by the great Lou Fine. Given the artistic and historic significance of this cover, $146k seems a fine price to pay for a beautiful piece of history!
Despite sustaining “slight moisture damage”, which appears to have stained and warped the entire page, this piece still fetched a strong $14.2k. This sale once again demonstrates that when it comes to original artwork, physical damage need not be a significant detriment to value!
Moving over to the Silver Age, there were strong results for early-Marvel OA this auction, which was perhaps due to a premium attached to Jon Berk's name, resulting in some bidding frenzies to obtain a piece from his prestigious collection? Or maybe it’s just down to the fact that these were high quality, rare early-Marvel pieces hailing from significant books (many were pages from 1st Appearance issues)? Today we’ll focus on early-Marvel era Jack Kirby OA, and next week we’ll look at other Silver Age artists' pieces, along with some newer artwork. Of the many Kirby pieces offered, the ones which pulled in impressive prices lead me to two takeaways: 1) early-Marvel Kirby OA continues its upward trajectory; and 2) collectors increasingly value pages from 1st Appearance and key issues (signaling the ongoing maturation of our hobby).
This page from the 1st full Appearance of Baron Heinrich Zemo didn’t hit 5-figures simply because no Avengers team members appeared on it. $8.8k is about FMV for this piece, which considering it features a major Avengers baddie in his debut issue, and in light of the vibrant Kirby OA market, seems like a good buy to me!
Here’s a rare early FF page – OA from single-digit numbered issues almost never appear for public sale; it also represents some of the earliest Kirby Marvel superhero art. These factors go some way to explaining the hefty price paid for this page, which also happens to feature all four team members with Johnny in flight, and comes from the 1st Appearance issue of the FF’s iconic costumes!
This excellent Subby vs Torch and Thing fight page, with those fantastic flame effects, went for a very strong $38.5k. Given the vibrancy, boldness and power of that gorgeous Kirby/Ayers art, I’d say it’s worth every penny!
Another gem from the dawn of the Marvel Universe, this Hulk action page featuring the grey/green goliath in every panel pulled in a mighty $43.5k. Kirby only worked on the first five issues of Incredible Hulk, making early Hulk pieces some of the very rarest and most desirable Kirby artwork in existence!
Yet more hard-to-find artwork – OA from the first ten or so JIM issues featuring Thor are ridiculously elusive, yet here are two such pages in the same auction! $31k is a huge chunk of change, but given its rarity, the high price is understandable.
I feel that this page contains superior Thor images compared to the one above, yet it sold for $6k less. If I was the buyer of this #89 page, I’d be thrilled to have snagged it for less than that #87 one!
Here’s another rare (sick of that word yet?) piece of early-Marvel OA – the last public sale of a page from this title that I could find took place over six years ago! $10.2k seems a fair price for this page with Fury and his Howling Commandos engaging in some action and macho banter. Also of note: the page has “mild water damage”, but the art itself doesn’t appear to be significantly affected, thus having negligible impact on its value.
This 1962 panel page from the Wizard’s 1st Appearance went for an extremely robust $25.5k, strengthening my sentiments that Kirby’s early-Marvel and 1st Appearance OA continue to gain momentum.
Further reinforcing my above views, here’s a page featuring no recognizable characters (to me at least), which still managed to sell for over $12k purely because it’s early-Marvel Kirby!
TTA #44 introduces us to the lovely Wasp; pages featuring her and/or Ant-Man used to sell for around $4k three years ago. With the success of Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, confirmation of Ant-Man and the Wasp coming out mid-next year, and the run-up in Kirby prices as discussed above, it looks like pages featuring winsome Wasp from her 1st Appearance issue have now catapulted to over $10k each!
This early X-Men page from the Vanisher’s 1st Appearance only features X-Men in two panels (with Warren and Jean unfortunately obscured by a word balloon in panel 4), explaining its apparently mediocre result. It should be noted however, that $14.1k for this weaker page is proportionately in-line with the solid prices recently fetched by stronger X-Men #2 pages on Heritage Auctions.
To recap: values of decent early FF and Incredible Hulk pages are now around mid-$40k, with good early X-Men and Thor Journey into Mystery pages commanding mid-$20k to low-$30k.
Until next time, happy collecting!