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Pre-code comics

Pre-code comics bring hair-raising prices at PBA Galleries

Pre-code comics
One of the most lurid covers of the pre-code era, ‘Weird Mysteries No. 5,’ depicts a mad scientist removing the brain from a severed head. Price realized: $19,200. PBA Galleries image

BERKELEY, Calif. – PBA Galleries announced world record-breaking results from their June 4 auction of Comic Books: Pre-Code Horror, Silver Age Marvel and Undergrounds. The sale was PBA’s inaugural comic book auction under the direction of Ivan Briggs, whose catalog showcased “the best overlooked gems in the world of comics, all the good stuff that hasn’t been vacuumed up by the big guys yet.” Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“It’s a niche that no other auctioneers have filled and PBA is glad to step up and lead the way,” said Briggs. Bidders communicated their appreciation with their paddles, closing the sale with a tremendously successful 96% sale rate. Overall revenue exceeded expectations, and many individual lots achieved either auction highs or auction records.

Horror comics attained historically momentous prices, driving steep competition for the fantastically eye-catching and compelling covers. Weird Mysteries #5 (CGC 7.5), featuring one of the most lurid covers of the pre-Code era, established a new world-record price for its grade at $19,200, beating the previous high price of $15,600 established in August 2019 (above). Similarly, Weird Mysteries #7 (CGC 9.2) sold for $9,000, thus realizing the best result ever for this comic in any grade (below). The sale price far surpassed the comic’s previous high price ($2,272 for a 7.0 copy) by a significant margin.

Pre-code comics
‘Weird Mysteries No. 7’ was used in Dr. Fredric Wertham’s ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ as evidence of the lewd content to be found in comic books. Price realized: $9,000. PBA Galleries image

Other world-class sale records included those for The Thing! #15 (7.0), whose final price of $3,000 represents the best result by far in any grade, obliterating the previous record of $1,701 from December 2018. When the gavel landed at $3,600, the Tomb of Terror #5 (9.0) sold for a world-record result that was over $2,000 higher than any other CGC copy in any grade, and the result was repeated with #13 and #16 of the series.

Other sale highlights included Shock Illustrated #1 (CGC 6.5): When the winning bidder took the sale for $3,600, they attained the best-ever result for a non-Gaines file copy, and the second-highest price in any grade, only exceeded by a 9.6 Gaines file copy ($4,995, April 2009). The Mister Mystery #12 (5.0) sold for $1,920, achieving a record price in this grade and beating the previous record for CGC 5.0 copy ($1,650, Feb. 2020).

PBA looks forward to continuing to achieve world-class results in future comic auctions, and is currently accepting consignments of comic books, original comic art, or comic-related ephemera and literature. For more information or to inquire about consigning, please contact the galleries at 415-989-2665 or email Ivan Briggs at

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