Original Trading Card Art Auction

This Nov. 13-15, as part of its Vintage Comic and Comic Art Auction, Heritage will offer something much better than examples of these iconic trading cards to their respective generations; Heritage will offer examples of the original artwork itself. These pieces are part of an already stellar sale that will feature the last of the great, original MAD Magazine cover art, never before seen Conan paintings by the legendary artist Sanjulian. With the art of Jets, Batman and Wacky Packages, there is yet another powerful nostalgic draw to this major auction.

“The popularity of these cards was huge in their respective times,” said David Tosh, Heritage Auction Galleries’ Comics Expert. “Those kids that loved these cards may have grown up a long time ago, but they still remember what these cards meant to them, and they’re certainly willing to pay for the privilege of owning the original art work now.”

Headlining the selection are seven pieces of art from Jets, Rockets, and Spacemen series, which have been in a private collection for decades. Produced in 1951 by Bowman as a series of 108 cards (with an additional set proposed but never finalized), these mini-masterpieces were a big hit with kids enthralled with the growing trend of Science Fiction in television, the movies, and comic books. Each beautifully rendered card advanced the far-out storyline of space explorers on fantastic voyages. These cards have been fondly remembered by collectors ever since, and having seven of the seldom-seen original paintings in this sale, all in excellent condition, is truly rare.

Another wildly popular card series were the Wacky Packages, first produced in the ’60s and finding a heyday in the ’70s, Wacky Packs, as kids called them, have been much-discussed lately thanks to a new retrospective book of the same name that was just released. Collectors have shown already that they are willing to pay handsomely for top-drawer examples: the art for the Spit and Spill card (a parody of the household cleaner Spic and Span) sold for $16,730 in the August 2006 Heritage auction, despite its modest size of 5 by 6 inches. The November auction will feature two originals by noted underground comic artist Jay Lynch.

Another Topps product was the Batman cards released in 1966, the peak of the Batman TV series. These benefited from painted art by noted illustrator Norman Saunders. Here again, the best examples are very popular: one such original, measuring just 3.5 by 4.75 inches, sold for $15,535 in the November 2007 Heritage Auction. The original piece in the upcoming sale is conservatively estimated at $5,000 and up.

“This is not artwork that comes up for auction too often,’ said Tosh. “A lot of attention has been paid to the MAD Magazine art so far, but these pieces carry much the same nostalgic weight for many people and we expect to see serious competition to take these home.”

Following are a few highlights of the auction.

Jay Lynch Wacky Packages “TV Garbage” Illustration Original Art (Topps, 1975).
George Moll Agency Jets, Rockets, and Spacemen Card #49 Original Art (Bowman, 1951-52).
George Moll Agency Jets, Rockets, and Spacemen Card #28 Original Art (Bowman, 1951-52).
Norman Saunders and Bob Powell Batman Trading Card Second Red Bat Series Illustration Original Art (Topps, 1966).
Heritage’s Comic and Comic Art auction will be held Nov. 13-15, 2008, in Dallas, Texas.

For more information, please visit www.HA.com