UNRESTORED COPY OF BATMAN #1 (DC COMICS, SPRING 1940) BRINGS $237,300 AT PHILIP WEISS AUCTIONS, FEB. 15; BATMAN #2, GRADED 9.2, FETCHES $39,550

. February 26, 2015

The copy of Batman #1 was a record for its 7.5 grade; the auction was held in Lynbrook, N.Y.

LYNBROOK, N.Y. – An unrestored copy of Batman #1 (DC Comics, spring 1940), graded 7.5 out of 10 for condition and considered one of the most desirable of all comic books, soared to $237,300 at a sale of comics, comic art and sports items held Feb. 15 by Philip Weiss Auctions, in the firm’s gallery at 74 Merrick Road in Lynbrook. The comic was the top lot of the auction.

This copy of Batman No. 1, from spring 1940 and graded 7.5 out of 10, sold for $37,300, a record for its grade.

This copy of Batman No. 1, from spring 1940 and graded 7.5 out of 10, sold for $237,300, a record for its grade.

It wasn’t a new auction record for a copy of Batman #1, but it was a record for the comic graded at 7.5. And considering it was only estimated to bring $100,000-$150,000 to begin with, the final hammer price came as a pleasant surprise. “It sold to two men in the room who were delighted to have scored such a rare comic in any condition,” stated Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions.

The two buyers turned out to be Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo, the owners of Metropolis Collectibles, a firm that made the news last year when they paid the most ever for a comic book: $3.2 million, for a CGC-certified 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1 (the first comic book appearance of Superman). The men expressed confidence that the value of the Batman #1 will only escalate.

By contrast, a copy of Batman #2, from summer 1940, was also offered, with a far superior grade of 9.2 out of 10. But because it was #2, not #1, it was considered less desirable and only brought $39,550 (within the pre-sale estimate of $30,000-$50,000). That was still a nice payday for the seller, and a nice coup for the buyer, but it gives an idea as to how wildly comic prices can vary.

Two other comics also fared well. One was a copy of Adventure Comics #40 (first appearance of the character Sandman, considered a rare book); it went for $25,990 (against a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$40,000). The other was a copy of Action Comics #23, the first appearance of Lex Luthor (Superman’s nemesis). The beautiful example, estimated at $5,000-$10,000, hit $20,905.

“This was the best sale we’ve had since moving into our new facility,” Mr. Weiss remarked (the company was displaced from its previous gallery in Oceanside, because of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012). ‘Aside from the Batmans and other comics, which obviously did well, we were excited to handle such a fine selection of fresh merchandise from so many great consignors.”

In all, around 700 lots came under the gavel in an auction that grossed more than $800,000. About 65 people attended the sale in person, while many more participated online, through Proxibid.com. Phone bidding was also quite brisk (especially because of all the snow) and a good number of absentee bids were also fielded. “It was an all-around great sale,” Weiss said.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.

An original animation concept painting for the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty, drawn by the noted Disney artist Eyvind Earle, changed hands for $9,605. The painting, measuring 22 ¼ inches by 9 inches, was a wonderful depiction of the Briar Rose, the fairies’ cottage, with animals grazing, and the three good fairies (Flora, Fauna and Merryweather). The piece was in fine condition.

Another piece of concept art – this one for the film Peter Pan, done by David Hall and pulled from the estate of early Disney animator Hal Sloane – showing Michael and Nana playing with the Mer-Babies, hammered for $8,192; while a pen and ink drawing of Snoopy in space gear, by the late illustrator Charles Schulz and titled The First Cartoon Character to Land on the Moon, rose to $5,650. It was a specialty piece, not a daily strip, captioned “Apollo 10, May 22, 1969.”

Philip Weiss Auctions’ next big sale after this one will be on Thursday, March 12th, at 10 a.m., Eastern time, also in the Lynbrook gallery. Around 700 lots dedicated to toys, trains, toy soldiers, die-cast collectibles and more will be sold to the highest bidder (internet bidding via Proxibid). Headlining the sale will be Part 1of the Howard Gries collection of great toys in super condition.

Sold will be vintage Britains sets, high-grade Barclays, Manoils and other Dimestores; pressed steel and tin toy vehicles; boxed Matchbox, Tootsie and Dinky toys; Elastolin; early Disney and comic character toys from the Teddy Schapiro collection; vintage European and early American trains; 1960s-1980s toys from a hobby store collection; and toy soldiers of every variety and era.

Dolls will include bisque, composition and other dolls; Barbies and Barbie cases; automotive toys, including cast-iron, pressed steel, tin litho and plastic; and toys offered on behalf of the Nassau County Public Administrator’s Office, from the estate of Robert E. Lee. Two important auctions are also slated for April. Watch the website for details, at www.WeissAuctions.com.

Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To consign a single item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (516) 594-0731; or, you can send an e-mail to Philip Weiss at Phil@WeissAuctions.com. For more information about Philip Weiss Auctions and the upcoming March 12 and April auctions, please visit www.WeissAuctions.com.

Category: Auction News

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