Shane Ferro
Art market news and commentary by the staff of Art+Auction

MARKET WATCH: Art market news and commentary by the staff of Art+Auction

Holy Smokes, Batman! Rare Comics Fetched $4.4 Million at Heritage This Weekend

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Heritage Auctions has really solidified itself as the leading rare comic auctioneer. Over the weekend, its comic sale in New York fetched $4.4 million in one of the many categories that just seem to keep growing at the Dallas-based house. Among the top lots was the original cover art of the Watchmen No. 1 comic by Dave Gibbons, which sold for for $155,350. In its report on the sale, Wired dug especially deep on the story behind this particular lot, and ended up with an interesting overview of the rise in comic values in the last 20 years:

The artist, Dave Gibbons, hasn’t seen the covers since he drew them in 1986. “My experience with original art was that a lot of the money pages went quickly, and then you were left with potato pages after the meat was gone,” Gibbons said. “So when [Comic Showcase store owner] Paul [Hudson] offered to buy each Watchmen issue off me, complete, that seemed like a really good idea to me.”

The problem for Gibbons? He never specifically discussed the covers as part of the deal. “Covers were just thrown in with the art from the original issues,” he said. “I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much I got for them. But I will tell you [that] a whole issue was less than 10 percent of what individual pages are going for now.”

In addition, a 1939 edition of Detective Comics #27 — which includes the first-ever appearance of Batman — sold for $567,625 and John Romita Sr.’s original cover art for Amazing Spider-Man #121 from 1973 hammered down at $286,800.

Shane Ferro

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