Extraordinarily rare ‘ashcan’ comics by DC offered at PBA March 28

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BERKELEY, Calif. — Part 2 of the DC Universe Collection, titled Pre-Hero, Ashcans and Oddities, comes to PBA Galleries on Thursday, March 28. The 166-lot sale focuses on the earliest days of DC (then known as National Allied Publications), beginning with its first publication, Fun, released in February 1935. The complete catalog is now available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

As the sale is comprised entirely of pre-super hero titles, the majority of the lots are more historic than top-dollar, though condition is generally quite good. As a result, there will be tremendous buying opportunities for those looking to complete their collections with pre-Detective Comics titles from National Allied Publications. Founded by former U.S. Army Cavalry Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, the company was the first to publish entirely original content in a magazine format versus recycling newspaper comics, which had been the norm.

One of the more interesting elements to the sale is the inclusion of ‘ashcan’ comics. DC was a pioneer in the practice, which involved creating ‘dummy’ comics — often with black-and-white covers using recycled artwork — to fool United States Patent and Trademark Office clerks into issuing copyright protection to, say, a new name for a comic. As such, often only two copies were ever made — often by hand: one for the USPTO clerks, and one for DC’s files.

Flash Comics #1 is considered the holy grail of DC comics collecting. Produced in December 1939 with cover art recycled from Adventure Comics #41 and interior content from All-American Comics #8, it tops Gerber’s Photo-Journal Guide Scarcity Index with a solid 10 (“Unique: Less than 5 copies known”). At the time, the company had rebranded to National Periodical Publications and found themselves in a creative battle with rival Fawcett Publications over the use of the term ‘Flash.’ Fawcett was set to launch Captain Marvel under the ‘Flash Comics’ brand, but this ashcan secured the naming rights for NPP instead. The ashcan edition is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster are well-known as the creators of Superman, who debuted in NPP’s Action Comics #1 in April of 1938. Less well known is that Siegel and Shuster, before coming to NPP, self-published what today would be known as a ‘fanzine’ titled Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization. The sale includes #3 of the self-published series, and is the only known copy to have been later signed by both Siegel and Shuster. Most notably, #3 marks the first appearance of the Superman character in a story titled Reign of the Superman. This publication carries an estimate of $20,000-$30,000.

Described by Comic Book Marketplace as “one of the 20 rarest Golden Age books” is Double Action Comics #2. Released in January 1940, only eight copies are known. Since it recycled content from various earlier publications, some collectors were led to believe it was an ashcan edition, but PBA quotes a comment from Reddit as the best explanation: “Double Action Comics was an experiment by DC to see if black and white comic books would sell, and was apparently printed in small numbers and test marketed at newsstands in Connecticut in late 1939.” It is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
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Flash Comics #1 ashcan edition, estimated at $20,000-$30,000 at PBA.
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Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization #3, estimated at $20,000-$30,000 at PBA.
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Double Action Comics #2, estimated at $20,000-$30,000 at PBA.
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Amazing Spider-Man #1 comic book leaps to $520K at Hake’s

Marvel ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #1 (March 1963), CGC 9.6 NM+, white pages, one of only five CGC 9.6 copies in existence and one of only three in its grade to have been offered for public sale in the past 10 years. Provenance: John B. Goodrich collection. It exceeded its high estimate by more than $170,000, selling for a heart-stopping $520,380.

YORK, Pa. – A super-clean, CGC 9.6 copy of Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963) – one of only five of its type and grade known to exist – set off a bidding war at Hake’s July 25-26 auction of pop culture memorabilia, rocketing to an astonishing final price of $520,380. The comic had been displayed at Comic-Con in San Diego and attracted huge interest from fans, a sure sign of what was to come.

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Bid Smart: Women are wielding their superpowers in today’s comic books

A Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993), picturing Batgirl flanked by two female villains on the cover, earned $1,628 plus the buyer’s premium at Hake’s Auctions in November 2019. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

NEW YORK — Since they were first published, comic books have been mostly male-centric. They were and still are, created primarily by boys and men for just that audience: boys and men. In today’s collector marketplace, rare vintage comic books starring Batman, Superman, the Green Lantern and Spider-Man  can bring six- and even seven-figure prices. But one would be hard pressed to find a comic book featuring a female character on the cover that hits the five- or six-figure price range — not yet, anyway.

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Robots and space toys dominated high-end array at Milestone auction

Masudaya (Japan) 15in battery-operated Target Robot from the famed Gang of Five series. All original toy with correct dart gun and two darts. Accompanied by original box. Sold for $34,440 against an estimate of $20,000-$25,000

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio – Many hundreds of absentee bids were already on the books by the time Milestone Auctions’ co-owner and principal auctioneer Miles King stepped up to the podium to officially open the Ohio company’s May 27 Spring Premier Toy Auction. The 835-lot event, which featured virtually every popular category in the antique-toy realm, was on many a collector’s radar and had been closely monitored online, especially after word got out about a stellar collection of rare Japanese robots and space toys featured in the sale.

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Tune in to peerless TV memorabilia collection at Heritage, June 2-4

PL!INKO prize board from ‘The Price Is Right,’ estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, ha.com
‘Cheers’ bar counter, estimated at $100,000-$200,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, ha.com
‘Cheers’ bar counter, estimated at $100,000-$200,000. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions, ha.com

DALLAS – From Friday June 2, through Sunday, June 4, Heritage Auctions will offer nearly 1,000 pieces from the Comisar collection of television memorabilia, most of which have never before been to auction. Among its voluminous highlights are The Tonight Show set from which Johnny Carson kept a nation awake and entertained until his 1992 farewell; the desk and New York City skyline where David Letterman became every college student’s Late Night fixture during his NBC tenure; Archie and Edith Bunker’s Queens living room from All in the Family, including the two most famous chairs in sitcom history; and the bar around which the Cheers regulars congregated. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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MVPs in multiple pop culture categories drove in $2.57M total at Hake’s 

James M. Cox and Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1920 jugate button, 1-inch diameter, believed to have been a salesman’s sample. One of only six of its type known to exist, this button was the crown jewel of the legendary John Hilhouse collection. Sold for $100,300 against an estimate of $35,000-$50,000

YORK, Pa. – Hake’s served up a pop culture feast at their March 21-22 Premier Auction, with one exciting rarity after another eliciting pre-sale comments like, “I’ve never seen one of those in the marketplace before” or “I never even knew that piece existed.” Closing at $2,570,000 inclusive of buyer’s premium, the two-day event was led by heavy hitters from the baseball, political memorabilia, Star Wars, comic art and vintage toy categories. Many items powered past their high estimates, and some set new world auction records along the way.

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Congressman to be sworn in on rare comic ‘Superman’ No. 1

California Congressman Robert Garcia will be sworn into office on a copy of the Constitution, a photo of his parents, his citizenship certificate, and a copy of Superman #1. Photo credit: Congressman Garcia’s Twitter account
WASHINGTON – Superman is heading to Capitol Hill. Incoming Congressman Robert Garcia is being sworn in as a representative for California’s 42nd congressional district on a copy of the Constitution, a photo of his parents (both of whom died of COVID-19), his citizenship certificate, and a copy of Superman #1 that the Library of Congress is loaning for the occasion.

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Pop culture rarities, Americana drive Hake’s auction total to $2.4M

Encased Star Wars (1978) 3.75in Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi 12 Back-A double-telescoping lightsaber action figure with SKU on footer denoted earlier production, AFA 75 Ex+/NM. Extremely rare and only the third carded specimen of its type ever to be offered by Hake’s. Sold for $79,178. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions
Encased Star Wars (1978) 3.75in Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi 12 Back-A double-telescoping lightsaber action figure with SKU on footer denoted earlier production, AFA 75 Ex+/NM. Extremely rare and only the third carded specimen of its type ever to be offered by Hake’s. Sold for $79,178. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions

YORK, Pa. – Financial markets may be taking a breather, but there’s never a time out for those who pursue investment-grade vintage collectibles. Hake’s, the auction house that lit the fire for America’s pop culture obsession 55 years ago, rang up yet another high-flying auction total on November 15-16, achieving excellent prices across many specialty categories and closing the books at $2.4 million.

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Hake’s brings more rare Star Wars, vintage video games to auction, Nov. 15-16

Encased Star Wars (1978) 3.75in Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi 12 Back-A double-telescoping lightsaber action figure with SKU on footer denoted earlier production, AFA 75 Ex+/NM. Extremely rare and only the third carded specimen of its type ever to be offered by Hake’s. Estimate $100,000-$200,000. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions
Encased Star Wars (1978) 3.75in Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi 12 Back-A double-telescoping lightsaber action figure with SKU on footer denoted earlier production, AFA 75 Ex+/NM. Extremely rare and only the third carded specimen of its type ever to be offered by Hake’s. Estimate $100,000-$200,000. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions
Encased Star Wars (1978) 3.75in Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi 12 Back-A double-telescoping lightsaber action figure with SKU on footer denoted earlier production, AFA 75 Ex+/NM. Extremely rare and only the third carded specimen of its type ever to be offered by Hake’s. Estimate $100,000-$200,000. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions

YORK, Pa. – The quest for early Star Wars collectibles has reached a fevered pitch, but the auction market tells us the journey is just beginning. Interest in Star Wars items is stronger than ever, especially for prototypes and samples, rare variations, and toys produced in low numbers or no numbers at all. To some, it may seem that Hake’s – the auction house holding numerous world records for Star Wars material – has already sold the ultimate rarities from that wildly popular category. But exciting surprises continue to emerge, some from unexpected sources, and those fresh consignments and new discoveries will be front and center at Hake’s November 15-16 pop culture auction. View the fully illustrated catalog on LiveAuctioneers.

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Hake’s Nov. 15-16 auction answers demand for Star Wars collectibles, vintage video games

Left: ‘Journey Into Mystery’ #83, August 1962, features origin and first appearance of Marvel’s God of Thunder, The Mighty Thor. CGC 5.5 Fine. Estimate $10,000-$20,000; Right: Marvel ‘Tales Of Suspense’ #39, March 1963, features origin and first appearance of Iron Man. CGC 4.5 VG+. Estimate $10,000-$20,000

YORK, Pa. – The quest for early Star Wars collectibles has reached a fevered pitch, but the auction market tells us the journey is just beginning. Interest in Star Wars items is stronger than ever, especially for prototypes and samples, rare variations, and toys produced in low numbers or no numbers at all. To some, it may seem that Hake’s – the auction house holding numerous world records for Star Wars material – has already sold the ultimate rarities from that wildly popular category. But exciting surprises continue to emerge, some from unexpected sources, and those fresh consignments and new discoveries will be front and center at Hake’s November 15-16 pop culture auction.

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