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Record prices for vintage comic books in Bruneau & Co.'s April 4th auction
This copy of Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962), featuring the first appearance of the Ant-Man, graded CGC 3.5, changed hands for a record $3,875.

CRANSTON, RI.- Record prices were shattered in an online-only Spring Comic Book & Toy Auction held April 4th by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, based in Cranston, along with Altered Reality Entertainment and Travis Landry, Bruneau & Co.’s Director of Pop Culture. Three copies of the comic book Tales to Astonish all brought record prices, for a combined $9,500.

The top lot of the auction was a copy of Tales of Suspense #39 (Marvel Comics, March 1963), graded CGC 4.5 out of 10 for condition and featuring the origin and first appearance of Iron Man. The comic book had cream and off-white pages and came housed in a 12 ¾ inch by 8 inch CGC case. It went to a determined bidder for $9,250 – a record – falling just shy of five figures.

The record-setting copies of Marvel Comics’ Tales to Astonish included Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962), featuring the first appearance of the Ant-Man, graded CGC 3.5 ($3,875); Tales to Astonish #13 (Nov. 1960), featuring the origin and first appearance of Groot, graded CGC 5.0 ($3,750); and Tales to Astonish #1 (Atlas Comics, Jan. 1959), featuring a Stan Lee story and cover art by Jack Kirby and Christopher Rule, graded CGC 4.0. The book gaveled for $1,875.

The auction was loaded with hundreds of graded rare comic books, generous key book lots, many Marvel and D.C. comics and a great collection of tin key wind, friction and battery-op Japanese robots and tin toys – 430 lots in all. Some nice original comic art also came up for bid.

“Absolutely phenomenal, that is the only way I can describe this auction,” Travis Landry said. “The bidding action for all the major key comic books was intense, with several records being broken. The first Iron Man, Ant-Man and Groot were all show stoppers. The results proved that.”

Kevin Bruneau, the president of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, added, “Even amid a poor global economy and the insidious COVID-19 virus, the Pop Culture market stood strong. While stocks may be falling, people are investing in other tangible assets. We can’t wait for our next auction.”

Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by,, and, plus the mobile app “Bruneau & Co.” on iTunes or GooglePlay. Phone and absentee bids were also taken. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium (20 or 25 percent, depending on the platform).

Illustrator Dan Green’s original artwork for the graphic novel Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa was a single panel featuring Dr. Strange in Shamballa, surrounded by wisps of red wind with surreal biomorphic faces towering over him. The circa 1986 watercolor, with an image size of 13 inches by 5 ¼ inches, proved to be the ultimate Dr. Strange collectible. It hammered for $2,750.

Anything having to do with Spider-Man is a surefire crowd-pleaser. A copy of Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #8 (Jan. 1964), featuring the first cover and appearance of the Living Brain, plus an appearance by the Fantastic Four, graded CGC 2.0, changed hands for $3,240.

Two highly desirable comic books sailed past their $2,000 high estimates. One was a copy of DC Comics’ Detective Comics #168 (Feb. 1951), with the first appearance of the Red Hood identity and origin of the Joker, CGC 2.0 ($2,040). The other was a copy of Marvel Comics’ Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov. 1974), featuring the first full appearance of the Wolverine, CGC 7.0 ($2,400).

Due to the Governor of Rhode Island’s orders regarding COVID-19, all Tuesday Appraisal Days and Thursday DiscoverIt auctions, normally held in the Bruneau & Co. gallery in Cranston, have been postponed until at least May 1st. Also, the planned May 2nd on-site estate auction and May 7th Pokémon and trading card auction have both been postponed.

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