An incredibly rare copy of Suspense Comics #3, Pennsylvania pedigree (Continental Magazines, 1944) CBCS 9.0 stunned the comics hobby on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 when it realized $173,275 as the top lot in Heritage Auctions
' $5.1+ million Aug. 27-29, 2015 Comics and Comic Art Signature® Auction, the highest price ever realized at auction for a non-superhero comic book,
"This copy, the one pictured in Gerber's Photo-Journal, is now the ultimate mark of collecting credibility for the new owner" said Barry Sandoval, Managing Director of Comic Auctions Operations at Heritage. "True collectors, those at the heart of the hobby, understand that this is one of the most special comic books in existence and, we can now safely say, the most valuable one that doesn't feature a superhero."
A great deal of pre-auction buzz centered around the incredible original John Byrne and Terry Austin double splash page art from X-Men #137 (Marvel, 1980), "The Fate of the Phoenix!", arguably the most famous image from the greatest and most popular X-Men story of them all. The artwork certainly did not disappoint as bidders went toe-to-toe for it before the dust finally settled on a $167,300 final price realized, the highest price ever realized at auction for an original piece of John Byrne art.
"This splash page, for many fans, represents the very heart and soul of what made the X-Men one of the most popular comic books of all time," said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. "It's got it all: amazing art, incredible creativity and the luster of being the best X-Men story arc ever created."
Comic collectors took note of the CGC-graded 6.5 copy of All-American Comics #16 (DC, 1940) in the auction, the debut issue of the original Green Lantern, Alan Scott, currently ranked as the fourth most valuable comic of all time. The book finished the day at $110,538, almost doubling the pre-auction estimate of $60,000+.
Original Alex Raymond art continued to prove its strength at auction as the original Flash Gordon Sunday comic strip art dated 1-27-35 (King Features Syndication, 1935), in which Prince Barin steps in just in time to save Dale from a deadly fate in a strip from one of the most desirable periods of Raymond's run, rose to final price realized of $95,600.
Few artists are as venerated in the business as Frank Frazetta, and with good reason, as evidenced by the $89,625 final price realized for his sublime original painted cover art for the book The Amsirs and the Iron Thorn (Fawcett, 1967). The 1967 paperback edition of Algis Budrys' exciting science fiction novel had the honor of being graced with a fantastic cover with an exotic alien landscape background and a muscle-bound Buck Rogers-like hero engaged in battle with a strange, winged creature brandishing a spear, rendered as only Frazetta could paint.
Further highlights of the auction include, but are certainly not limited to:
Marvel Comics #1 (Timely, 1939) CGC VG 4.0: Realized $68,713.
Action Comics #23 (DC, 1940) CGC VF+ 8.5: The first mention of the Clark Kent's employer for the next 75 years, The Daily Planet. Realized $62,725.
George Wilson Magnus, Robot Fighter #1 Cover Painting Original Art (Gold Key, 1963): The highest price ever realized at auction for a piece of Gold Key art. Realized $54,970.
The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF- 7.5: Realized $50,190.
Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta New Gods #4 Cover Original Art (DC, 1971): A truly great offering from Jack "King" Kirby's cosmic Fourth World saga. Realized $45,410.