Carl Barks the Sport of Tycoons Realizes $262,900 at Heritage Auctions

Carl Barks the Sport of Tycoons (1974), a classic image of Scrooge McDuck taking a dip in his money bin, finished the auction of The Kerby Confer Collection of original Disney art, comics and memorabilia with a world-record-setting $262,900 price realized. The painting was the top lot in Heritage Auctions’ $5.375+ million Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature(r) Auction, Nov. 15-17. All prices include 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

Even more impressive than the $5.375+ million auction total was the 99% sell-through rate by both total value and lot totals. More than 2,500 bidders vied for 1,740 lots.

“This is one of the top five auctions in the history of this category,” said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “The combination of rarity and quality is an irresistible mix to the world’s top collectors, and they were out in force for this one.”

The Kerby Confer Collection finished its six-auction run with the record sale of Sport of Tycoons accompanied by two more Barks masterpieces – Donald Duck Sheriff of Bullet Valley Oil Painting Original Art, 1973, which realized $107,550 and McDuck of Duckburg, which realized $101,575 – to bring the total of the entire offering across those six auctions to $3.97 million.

“The results of this auction were about 50% higher than I expected,” said Confer.

The other name that dominated the auction was that of legendary DC artist Jerry Robinson, who offered three treasures from his personal collection, including one of his own original early DC covers, Detective Comics #67 First Penguin Cover Original Art (DC, 1942), which was the top prize of the trio, bringing $239,000, the second highest price ever achieved at auction for a piece of American comic book art.

“It was a great honor to handle this iconic piece for Jerry,” said Jaster. “It now occupies a spot of serious prestige in the halls of a world class collection.”

The other pieces from Robinson offered in the collection were also the subject of spirited bidding and much collector buzz. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s Adventure Comics #73 Manhunter Cover Original Art (DC, 1942) realized $119,500, while Fred Ray Action Comics #46 Superman Cover Original Art (DC, 1942) realized $101,575.

The Collection of slain Florida millionaire Ben Novack, Jr. – a name very much in the media in the last several years due to the salacious circumstances of his murder – also figured prominently in the auction, with his restored copy of Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939), the first appearance of Batman, topping the offerings from his estate with a $101,575 price realized.

This Nov. 15-17 auction also saw the end of Chuck Rozanski’s famous find, The Mile High Collection. The last 150 books of the collection had been kept personally by Rozanski for more than 30 years, and represented his personal favorites from the legendary find. The collection was led by Red Raven Comics #1 Mile High pedigree (Timely, 1940) CGC VF/NM 9.0 White pages, a significant key title, copies of which rarely see the light of day. Rozanksi’s Red Raven #1 obliterated the record price realized for a copy, bringing $75,688 when bidding finally ended.

Immediate blog buzz started after the sale of the original John Byrne and Terry Austin X-Men #137 page 44 art (Marvel, 1980), the famous issue featuring “The Death of Phoenix,” which brought $65,725, continuing the strong prices realized for post-1980 original comic art.

“The death of Phoenix is remembered by anyone who read comics in the 1980s, and the significance of the page commanded a premium,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director at Heritage. “Seldom does a panel page from any era fetch that high of a price, and it’s a remarkable amount for a 1980s page.”

Alex Ross’s Superman:20th Century Painting Original Art (1998), originally used to create a limited edition lithograph, a series of signed giclee prints and a large regular-edition poster run for Warner Bros., all of which sold out, was wildly popular with collectors, soaring to and settling at $52,282 after several rounds of bidding.

Another notable result was $16,730 for Our Army At War #83, the first appearance of Sgt. Rock, from the amazing war comic collection of Keith Marlow.

“As far as we know,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Comics Operations at Heritage, “a DC war comic had never sold for even half that amount

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