Collectors set for bidding battle over comic books March 16 at Ewbank – bid online through LiveAuctioneers.com
GUILDFORD, U.K. – The Salvation Army will benefit from the auction of thousands of forgotten comic books, March 16 at Ewbank Auctioneers, with online bidding facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com. A chance discovery by workmen called in to clear a warehouse in the northwest of England led to the cache that may produce a substantial windfall for the charity. To their amazement, workmen uncovered thousands of highly collectible American comic books and magazines, some dating back to the 1950s, and some wrapped and boxed in the same pristine condition as when they left the printer.
The liquidation company that found the comics – which number approximately 12,000 – decided to donate the profit from their sale, after shipping and handling expenses, to the Salvation Army. "We handle a great number of jobs where we are asked to clear the complete contents of a shop, office or warehouse, and we handle some interesting things, but this was one of most amazing discoveries of my career," said Robert Majithia, of Woking, Surrey-based Drakus Limited, distributors of excess, surplus and liquidation stock.
"There were 40 boxes of the comics, each containing about 300 copies, sitting on pallets which had been forgotten over the years. When we realized just how valuable some of the collectible comics are, we called in Ewbank to auction them for us. We were working in the warehouse on a completely different assignment, and the comics were a surprise bonus. Consequently, we have decided to donate the proceeds from the sale less our expenses to the Salvation Army."
Among the most valuable and sought-after comics in the consignment are some dating from 1955 featuring Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion. They will be sold in lots of 50, giving collectors the opportunity to buy a lot, keep one copy for their collection and trade the others for similarly rare prizes. Estimates of $100-175 have been deliberately kept low to encourage private buying, particularly in the United States, where the hobby has a huge following.
Other comic book heroes and titles represented in the collection include American Flagg, Champions, Outposts, Northguard, Judge Dredd, The Sisterhood of Steel, Terraformers, Shapers of Worlds, Robotech Masters, The New DNAgents, Dynamo Joe, Dan Dare, Mai The Psychic Girl, Doom Patrol The Official Index and many more.
Elsewhere, the sale is an altogether more genteel affair. The most valuable lot is expected to be a fine 19th century Italian walnut circular table, the apron profusely carved with scrolls, fruit and the heads of mythical beasts. Unusually, the table stands on four supports each carved in the form of a bearded man with crossed arms, terminating in a scaled leg on lion paw foot. Despite its altered state, the table is estimated $5,000-7,000.
Also highly desirable is a 19th century walnut harlequin davenport desk with rising stationery compartment fitted with pigeonholes and cupboard. The hinged piano top opens to reveal a tooled leather writing surface and the desk has doors at either side, one revealing a cupboard, the other four drawers. It is estimated at $2,500-4,000, while an earlier mahogany example has a sliding top with tooled leather insert, four drawers and hidden inkwell above two slides, four graduated drawers and ball feet. It is estimated at $800-1,350.
Among the most imposing pieces is a monumental pair of Continental brass eight-branch candelabra, each decorated with scroll stems applied with flowers on columns supported by square green marble bases with applied brass festoons and masks and brass feet embossed with acanthus leaves. Standing just over six feet in height, the candelabra need plenty of room to be shown at their best, particularly when the opaque glass flame shades are lit. A winning bid in the region of $2,500-3,000 will be required in order to take them home.
Equally imposing and slightly taller is a late 19th century mahogany eight-day long-case clock by Maple & Co., London. The clock's hood is inlaid with fans and has Corinthian column supports. The dial has pierced brass spandrels and a silvered chapter ring with subsidiary seconds and chime/silent dials, the triple train movement chiming on five gongs. The clock is estimated at $1,750-2,000.
The sale contains a particularly strong grouping of pottery and porcelain, including designs by Meissen, Royal Worcester, Royal Doulton and Poole. Also featured is a strong selection of oils, watercolors and prints; and an array of fine toys and dolls, including a nicely outfitted, double-fronted dollhouse styled as an Edwardian townhouse, estimated at $2,500-4,250.