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1939 comic book introducing Batman could hit $1M at Hake's Mar. 13-15 auction
Ideal ‘Official Batman Play Set’ original-issue boxed set, copyright 1966, near complete. Est. $10,000-$20,000. Image courtesy of Hake’s Americana.

YORK, PA.- After a 50th-anniversary year whose record-setting sales far surpassed all expectations, Hake’s Americana is on track for a blockbuster 2018. A full two weeks ahead of its March 13-15 auction, Hake’s had already recorded more than $1 million in absentee bids, with the numbers flipping rapidly upward with each passing hour.

“This is unprecedented,” said Hake’s president Alex Winter. “It’s a clear Hake’s indication that rare comic books and blue-chip pop-culture and entertainment memorabilia has a rapidly expanding fan base worldwide. It also tells us that collectors have listened to the experts. They’re going for rarity and the best quality they can afford.”

A premier example of rarity and quality in one package would be the auction’s headliner: a fresh-to-the-market issue of Detective Comics #27 CGC 5.0 (May 1939) featuring the first appearance of Batman – then known as “The Bat-Man.” It emerged from a recently discovered Golden Age comic book collection whose original owner had purchased all of the comics new off the rack during the 1930s and ’40s.

“In any collecting category, there are certain items that every collector wants to own. For baseball card collectors, it would likely be a Honus Wagner 1909 T206 card. In the numismatics world, it might be a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar coin. To comic book collectors, nothing compares to the Golden Age issues that introduce beloved superhero characters,” Winter said. “The top comic book in the eyes of most collectors has always been Action Comics #1 with the first appearance of Superman, but there are fewer copies of Detective 27 in the CGC census – which maintains a global record of all known comic books – than there are copies of Action 1. From that comparison, collectors would immediately recognize the level of rarity. The Detective Comics #27 in our auction is complete, unrestored, and of a grade that may not appear for sale again for many years. When it does, it will likely be at a much higher price point.” Hake’s auction estimate is $500,000-$1 million.

Another superstar entry is Action Comics #7 CGC 4.0, scarce and important because it marks Superman’s second appearance on a comic book cover and also pre-dates Superman #1. Unrestored and in original condition, this comic book is highly prized in the collecting world. It comes to auction with a $100,000-$200,000 estimate.

Two other comics that are more than worthy of the spotlight are More Fun Comics #52 CGC 3.0, with the first appearance of The Spectre; and Captain America #3 CGC 7.0, featuring Stan Lee’s first work for the publisher Timely. “All of the early Golden Age Captain Americas are getting much harder to find,” Winter noted. The auction estimate for each of the comics is $35,000-$50,000.

In Hake’s November 2017 auction, Part I of the peerless Russell Branton Star Wars collection, containing 60 lots of AFA-graded pieces, commanded nearly $300,000. Many figures set new world auction records. A similar result is expected for the 70 lots in Hake’s March sale. Top entries include a Darth Vader 12 Back-A double-telescoping variant, AFA 70 (EX+), $35,000-$50,000; and a Boba Fett rocket-firing prototype AFA 85 (NM+), $35,000-$50,000, which Winter describes as “one of the most legendary and sought-after figures of all.”

The comprehensive 200-lot selection of coveted original comic book art includes covers, interior pages, Sunday and daily strips; specialty pieces and more. Among the highlights are the original Ron Wilson cover art for Marvel’s Daredevil #111 (July 1974) featuring The Silver Samurai’s debut appearance, and Greg Hildebrandt’s large and impressive acrylic-on-canvas cover art for X-Men variant Death of X #4 (November 2016). This near-mint artwork is professionally framed and, like the Daredevil cover art, is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

For more than a half-century, Hake’s Americana has distinguished itself as the ultimate source for rare, early political memorabilia. At the core of the March sale, collectors will find nearly 600 specialty lots from which to choose. The auction’s opening lot is an important copper button from George Washington’s 1789 presidential inauguration. Monogrammed with the initials “GW” and the image of a Liberty cap, it is assigned an R-6 rarity, meaning no more than 5 specimens of its type are known. Its pre-sale estimate is $20,000-$35,000. Another historical relic of great rarity – in fact, the only example ever to have surfaced – is an 1860 cloth campaign banner touting Abraham Lincoln and his running mate Hannibal Hamlin. It bears the image of a spread-winged American eagle, with the written call for “Liberty & Union!” Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

A fantastic array of 200 movie posters and lobby cards focuses on horror, sci-fi and other favorite films of the 1950s/’60s. There are some real gems, like the 14 x 36-inch insert posters for the original 1958 release of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman and the 1951 classic The Day The Earth Stood Still. Each is estimated at $2,000-$5,000.

One of the fastest-growing categories in Hake’s pop-culture stable is concert posters. Approximately 100 lots of 1950s/’60s-era posters will be offered, with many depicting influential jazz and rock stars. The two standouts within the grouping advertise legendary soul music acts Ike and Tina Turner (July 4, 1963), $5,000-$10,000; and the immortal Otis Redding (June 26, 1966), $10,000-$20,000.

Not to be missed is the outstanding selection of James Bond memorabilia, including movie posters and classic toys of the 1960s; as well as an elusive 1966 Ideal Official Batman Play Set in the manufacturer’s original windowpane box, $10,000-$20,000.

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