NEW YORK, NY.-
In an auction where spectacular prices were in abundance - a World Record price of $448,125 for the original art from Page 10, issue #3 of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, $179, 250 for Carl Barks' Vacation Panel Painting Original Art, $131,450 for two bound volumes of Action Comics #1-24, among the many - it was the final total for Heritage Auctions
' May 5-6 Signature(r) Vintage Comics & Comic Art Auction that ended up being the most impressive of all: $6,077,355, the highest total ever realized for a single Comics & Comics Art auction. All prices include 19.5% Buyer's Premium.
"The quality was there, the collectors were there and the Heritage comics department worked incredibly hard to put this great auction together," said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President at Heritage Auctions. "The result, as we all saw, was the single highest total ever realized for a comics auction. It just doesn't get too much better than this."
In total, 2,728 bidders were vying for 1,766 total lots in the auction, resulting in the World's Record total, translating into a sell-through rate of 97.13% by lot value.
The star of the auction was The original art from Page 10, issue #3 of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC, 1986), which became the single most valuable piece of American comic art to ever sell when it brought $448,125, against a $125,000+ pre-auction estimate. The image is the single most memorable image from the entire comic book series and the greatest image from the decade of the 1980s ever to come to market.
"The Dark Knight Returns defined the best of 1980s comics and is one of the most important pop culture stories ever published," said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director for Comics and Illustration Art at Heritage, "and no image from that important comic series is more iconic than this Splash Page. It's an incredible result, but also not shocking that this piece is now the most expensive piece of American comic art ever sold at auction."
The Twin Cities pedigree, otherwise known as The Gary Dahlberg Collection, had comic collectors buzzing since last year, after news of the collection became public following Dahlberg's tragic death in a house fire that miraculously spared only the two rooms that housed his comic books. The auction featured just more than 400 pieces of that collection and the result was nothing short of fantastic.
"Not only did the collection garner the most in-person lot viewers we've ever had for a collection," said Barry Sandoval, Director of Comics Auction Operations at Heritage, "bidder enthusiasm pushed the total to $1.38 million for just those 407 comics."
Highlights from Dahlberg's amazing collection included his Amazing Spider-Man #4, (Marvel, 1963) CGC NM+ 9.6, the best copy of that issue known to exist, which realized $77,765, along with his copy of The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (Marvel, 1963) CGC NM+ 9.6, which finished the auction with an impressive $65,725 total amidst spirited bidding.
Prices on the original artwork of Carl Barks have long been on the rise, and with the release of the Kerby Confer Collection of Disney Art last year, that trend has continued to build and gain strength; the May 5-6 Heritage auction saw the strongest prices realized yet for Confer's amazing grouping, including a $179,250 payday for Barks' Vacation Panel Painting Original Art (1972), the first painting in the large format (18" x 24") that Carl Barks ever did and a total that equals the highest price to date for a piece in Confer's collection.
Beyond Barks' Vacation Panel, fully four of the top 10 lots in the auction were Barks artwork that originated in the Confer Collection: Carl Barks Scrooge's Old Castle Painting #21-72 Original Art (1972), which brought $119,500, Carl Barks Dam Disaster at Money Lake Painting Original Art (1986), finishing the day at $107,550 and Carl Barks Time Out For Therapy Painting Original Art (1973), which realized $77,675 after several rounds of intense bidding.
The Batman: Dark Knight Returns splash page was not the only notable piece from that influential title to turn heads in the auction, as the original artwork from Miller and Janson's Batman: The Dark Knight #4, Death of the Joker, page 2 (DC, 1986) realized $41,825, the best result Heritage has ever seen for a 1980s panel page.