08 February 2021
2,266-lot auction also features elusive Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures, plus rare Transformers Jetfire
Last September, Hake’s Auctions set world record prices for pop-culture memorabilia and broke their own house records for sell-through rate, the number of registered bidders and the number of bids placed. Lightning could strike twice on 24-25 February when the Pennsylvania auction house hosts a 2,266-lot sale containing original comic art, exotic Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures, important political relics, baseball memorabilia, and the Michael Jordan sports card all fans dream of owning: a 1986-’87 Fleer #57 rookie card.
A collecting category on the upswing is original comic book cover art. The auction features a few of the finest such artworks ever to come to auction. Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff’s original pen-and-ink cover art for Action Comics #329 (DC Comics, Oct. 1965) is a full-body portrayal of Superman – with an uncharacteristically ferocious expression – wielding the Super-Sword of Krypton and large Super-Shield. It represents one of only an estimated 20 covers on which Swan and Moldoff collaborated. With provenance from the David Barsalou collection, this lot will cross the auction block with a $35,000-$50,000 estimate.
A likely auction showstopper is Johnny Craig’s (1926-2001) original, signed 20-by-26-inch artwork for EC Comics’ The Vault of Horror #41, an issue that never saw daylight. “The Vault of Horror’s last issue, #40, published in January 1955. Craig imagined and created what the cover of #41 would have looked like and drew it in the 1970s. It’s all hand-done and features portraits of horror-hosts The Vault-Keeper, The Crypt-Keeper, and The Old Witch. EC fans will be all over this artwork.” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
A small trove of original Mickey Mouse daily comic strip art from the estate of Disney artist Earl Duvall includes several outstanding pen-and-ink works from the early 1930s. With penciling by longtime Mickey Mouse comic artist Floyd Gottfredson and ink work by Duvall, a February 4, 1931 strip is from the “Mickey Mouse Vs. Kat Nipp” storyline. It features five panels of interaction between Mickey and tough guy Kat Nipp, who snips off the hero rodent’s tail, an action that prompted an outcry from readers. Its pre-sale estimate is $20,000-$35,000.
Uzay (Turkish) unauthorized Star Wars figures sometimes display wonderfully bizarre modifications and humorous card art, and have attained cult status with collectors. This auction features a 3.75-inch Uzay ‘Starswar’ Emperor’s Royal Guard figure encapsulated in a blister card, which is AFA-graded 60 EX and expected to make $5,000-$10,000. A 1985 Kenner first-shot prototype for an unproduced Kleb Zellock figure is AFA-graded 85+ NM and comes with its original weapon. Accompanied by a CIB COA, it is also estimated at $5,000-$10,000.
G.I. Joe will be back in a big way, as an encapsulated 3.75-inch-tall action figure of Cobra Commander, Series 2/20 Back, from Hasbro’s 1983 G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline. AFA-graded 95 Mint, it is the highest-graded of all known examples, per the AFA census. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000. Also the highest-graded example of its type, a 1984 Hasbro Transformers Series 2 encapsulated, original factory-sealed window box containing an Autobot Air Guardian Jetfire is AFA-graded 90+ NM+/MT. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000
More than 1,000 comic books will be auctioned, including at least 300 that are CGC-certified. An Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962) comic, a key Silver Age issue that introduces The Amazing Spider-Man, is CGC-graded 4.0 VG and carries a $20,000-$35,000 estimate.