First issue of 'Amazing Spider-Man' swings to record-setting $1.38 million at Heritage Auctions
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First issue of 'Amazing Spider-Man' swings to record-setting $1.38 million at Heritage Auctions
Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC FN/VF 7.0 Off-white pages.

DALLAS, TX.- Heritage Auctions’ $20.3-million Comics & Comic Art event, held Jan. 11-14, contained more records than a jukebox.

As expected, the auction proved a history-maker and a headline-maker thanks to its remarkable assemblage of the sole-highest-graded examples of key titles. Chief among their impressive ranks was one of only two copies of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 graded CGC Near Mint/Mint 9.8, which realized a record-setting $1,380,000.

The book, which hit newsstands in March 1963, just seven months after Peter Parker and his web-slinging alter-ego debuted in Amazing Fantasy No. 15, made its auction debut at Heritage during Thursday afternoon’s Platinum Session. This landmark book came from CGC’s Curator Pedigree and sold for nearly three times the amount realized by the CGC Near Mint+ 9.6 copy that sold in July 2023 for $520,380.

Spider-Man wasn’t the lone seven-figure superhero in this auction: One of only two copies of Superman No. 1 graded Fine/Very Fine 7.0 soared to $2.34 million, close to a record high for the first issue of the Man of Steel’s solo book. And a bidding war over the single highest-graded copy of 1942’s All Star Comics No. 8, featuring the debut of Wonder Woman, drove its final price to $1.5 million.

The complete sold-out 1,177-lot auction realized $20,338,429 thanks to the more than 5,500 bidders who participated worldwide — and who kept things exciting well into the Sunday session full of bidding wars and five-figure results (like the one for Glenn Fabry’s cast portrait that appeared on the cover of Preacher No. 56, which realized $27,600).

This auction will likely be remembered as the one that, for the moment, reset the market for some very significant titles. Among its most coveted lots was one of comicdom’s most defining moments: 1956’s Showcase No. 4, which kicked off the Silver Age by introducing Barry Allen’s Flash. A bidding war helped that historic book, graded Near Mint+ 9.6, race to its final price of $900,000, smashing the previous high of $179,250.

Not far behind was the world’s highest-graded copy of The Brave and the Bold No. 28, in which the Justice League of America debuted. A stunning Near Mint+ copy realized a record-setting $810,000, shattering its previous highwater mark.

“All of the biggest books in the Platinum Session met our expectations — and, in many cases, exceeded them,” says Vice President Barry Sandoval. “It was obvious this Spider-Man was an opportunity not likely to come around, and the final price reflected that. And the Showcase No. 4 and Brave and the Bold No. 28 are the two best copies of any Silver Age DC that exist, and it was nice to see the market respond.”

And Hulk smash! Auction records, anyway, thanks to the nicest copy of Incredible Hulk No. 1 Heritage has ever offered. This CGC Near Mint- 9.2 example opened live bidding at $340,000. But a heated bidding war drove its final price to an auction record of $825,000. And a Silver Surfer No. 1 from the Boston Pedigree, graded CGC Near Mint/Mint 9.8, soared to a new record of $132,000.

Comics had company in the spotlight, too: Heritage has offered but a handful of copies of the October 1912 All-Story, in which Edgar Rice Burroughs introduced readers to “Tarzan King of the Jungle.” The copy in this auction, the finest unrestored copy Heritage has ever offered, is now the King of the Pulps: It sold for $264,000, shattering a pulp record once held by The Shadow.

Original art likewise made history in this auction, led by the legendary George Pérez’s Avengers No. 161 cover, on which Captain America, Black Panther, Wonder Man, the Vision and the Scarlet Witch are being “Attacked by the Ant-Man!” It realized $288,000, tying the artist’s auction record set in December 2022, when his cover for Justice League of America No. 195 likewise sold for $288,000.

Not far behind was John Romita Sr.’s unforgettable cover of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 87, which concluded a long-running storyline in which Peter Parker appeared to be losing his powers. That iconic image sparked a bidding war that resulted in a final price of $210,000.

Page 9 from Daredevil No. 181 set a new auction record for a page from Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s historic, influential run on The Man Without Fear when it sold for $156,000. That’s called hitting a Bullseye!

Frank Frazetta, still the title-holder for the maker of the most valuable work of comic or fantasy art ever made, made his mark in this event when his 1972 painting Snake Bit realized $186,000. What’s most interesting about this work, created as a promotional piece for the Spurs: the Western Writers of America Book Club, is that the public never saw it, as it went unused. But client-collectors sparked a bidding war over a rare Frazetta work that goes west.

Grant Morrison and Brian Bolland’s Animal Man also roared in this auction when Bolland’s original cover for Animal Man No. 1 realized $102,000. Bolland’s work on 1988’s Batman: The Killing Joke and, before that, Judge Dredd has long made him a favorite of collectors. Animal Man No. 1 is his first work outside those titles to break the six-figure mark.

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