One of the finest known copies of The Avengers #1, CGC NM 9.4, is expected to bring $80,000+ to highlight the Don/Maggie Thompson Pedigree Collection Nov. 21-23 at Heritage Auctions
. The collection, estimated at $1 million, was lovingly amassed over 50 years by the husband and wife team who are considered icons in the world of modern comics fandom. The first round of the collection will be presented along with nearly 1,700 in Heritage's Comics Signature® Auction in Beverly Hills and again in February 2014 in Dallas.
The Thompsons were responsible for launching as well as participating in several publications that brought readers closer to creators, characters and fellow fans. Starting with a mimeographed one-sheet called Harbinger in 1960, the two produced a variety of other publications until both jointly edited Comics Buyer's Guide until Don's passing in 1994. Maggie then served in an editorial role until the end of the publication's run earlier this year.
"Don and Maggie Thompson were already adults when Fantastic Four #1 came out in 1961, and since comics were their great passion they purchased all of them and handled every new comic with great care," said Steve Borock, Senior Consignment Director at Heritage Auctions. "Their comic collection is truly one-of-a kind and is well deserving of a pedigree. It's rare to see such a fresh collection come to market and we are honored to be entrusted with it."
Additional key Silver Age rarities from the Thompson collection include Journey Into Mystery #83, CGC NM 9.2, which could sell for $80,000+, and The Incredible Hulk #1, CGC VF+ 8.5, estimated to bring $55,000+, among a cavalcade of near pristine books.
In addition to high-grade comics, the Thompson collection includes the original cover art for Conan the Barbarian #4 by Barry Smith from 1970, which is expected to hammer for $50,000+. Very little original cover art by Smith is available from his fan-favorite run, and this work for the fourth issue, illustrating The "Tower of the Elephant" tale adapted from the Robert E. Howard story, is considered a holy grail among Bronze Age collectors.
The Nov. 21-23 Signature Auction also includes a number of high-grade examples of key books, including one of just four known copies of Tales of Suspense #39, CGC NM+ 9.6, marking the first appearance of Iron Man, which could sell for $200,000+, and one of the highest-graded copies of the origin of Batman, Detective Comics #33, CGC VF 8.0, which is expected to cross the block for as much as $80,000+. A copy of Strange Tales #110, CGC NM+ 9.6, in which Doctor Strange makes his first appearance, is expected to bring $35,000+.
A wide variety of original art is led by a magnificent painting by Frank Frazetta, which could sell for $75,000+. The unforgettable image of a brawny barbarian jolted by an elemental lightning strike from the heavens has inspired other spin-off projects such as Richard Williams' famous animated cologne commercial for Jovan Sex Appeal in 1978.
Part of a major collection of original Peanuts art in the auction is led by an Oct. 20, 1968 Sunday strip, showing Snoopy and the gang at their beloved movie theater, from Oct. 20, 1968, which is expected to bring $50,000+.
Among the examples of rare original comic book art comes Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott's art on Page 14 from Fantastic Four #55, portraying an enraged Thing trying to bust the Silver Surfer's board in half, may fetch $50,000+.
Carl Barks' hand-painted cover art for Uncle Scrooge #43 makes its auction debut at Heritage, with a $20,000 estimate. It is one of the few original Barks comic book covers to exist, and its jet black background is unique for a reason. In 1963, a Western Publishing executive, wanting a color piece to hang on his office wall, asked Barks for an original Uncle Scrooge painting. Keep in mind this was years before Barks was granted permission by Disney to reproduce his earlier comic book work as fine art paintings, so he did the best thing he could at the time - he took his original inked cover art for a then-recent issue and painted in the background and details using a combination of oil paints and watercolors.