First Anniversary Review & November 2017 Hake’s Auction Report
Hello everybody, welcome to the first anniversary of Original Art Aficionado! I’d like to heartily thank all contributors and readers for your support in helping us reach this milestone – the success of this column owes everything to you!
Exactly one year ago on 1 December 2016 my introductory article was published, and we’ve produced 52 weekly articles since then. Our mission to promote awareness, understanding and appreciation of original comic art is advancing nicely, with increased involvement by many new and existing collectors in the column and hobby at large. I’m delighted that the conversations stirred in these articles have resulted in wider attention being paid to creators and titles which may heretofore have been overlooked, and an increased appreciation of the talented individuals responsible for sequential storytelling’s evolution.
To reiterate some of the items discussed in my mid-year commentary, I once again appeal to collectors to try their hand at producing OA-related media content. Whether it be written, audio or video features, doing so will help you form a deeper connection and appreciation of our hobby, as well as introduce new collectors to the wonders of original comic art!
And for new or prospective collectors, here’s a recap of previously shared advice:
- Take time to learn the hobby before jumping in. Part 1 & Part 2 of my guide to collecting original comic art can help you out!
- Understand what gives you long-term pleasure of ownership, rather than the quick thrill of acquisition. Try to establish a collection “blueprint”, outlining the overall theme/scope of your collection.
- Be disciplined in your spending, and maintain a war chest of cash so that you can pounce on opportunities when they arise. This way, you let the availability of quality artwork guide your purchases, rather than be beholden to the availability of funds.
OA Market Review
As a whole, the original comic art market remained robustly healthy over the past year, with no significant dips in major segments. Silver, Bronze, Copper and Modern Age OA values continue to either hold firm or rise (spectacularly so for some artists/titles). In particular, collector demand and pool size appear to be growing for various artwork from the mid-’80s to late-’90s.
$50k and above is the apex bracket of OA collecting, where supply of artwork for sale remains limited and demand appears stable. $10k-30k constitutes the higher end of the market, with marked price moves upward for desirable pieces in this category. High 3-figure to mid 4-figure artwork from in-demand artists/titles have been appreciating briskly. Most pieces under $400 remain range-bound, fluctuating gently within their price bracket.
A few divestments of major OA collections took place at auction this year, which the market absorbed with aplomb. There as yet does not appear to be a deluge of collectors over 60 years old exiting the market. From anecdotal evidence, the influx of Millennials (those up to mid-30 years old) into OA collecting is steady, with several willing to spend mid 4-figures on artwork. Given that for many Millennials and younger generations, their fairy tales and mythologies originate in large part from comic books thanks to movies, TV and video games, the long-term relevance of our beloved characters remains bright. It’s up to us to ensure that this familiarity and interest translate into desire for the source material – comic books and original art!
Market Report – Hake’s 16 November 2017 Auction
As discussed in my July 2017 Market Report, it’s good to see another auction house expanding their presence in the original comic art marketplace. Hake’s built on their successful previous auction and included more significant and high value items this round. Buyers are taking note of their efforts, as overall prices realized were around FMV or higher.
Incredible Hulk #3, page 7 by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers – $19,703.64
A strong Kirby Hulk page featuring the Green Goliath in all eight panels recently fetched $44k, and another superior one went for $19k just two years ago. Given that this page contains only one (albeit dynamic) Hulk panel out of eight, $20k seems a pretty potent price for this slice of Marvel history, and is indicative of the soaring values of early-Marvel Kirby OA!
Strange Tales #109, page 2 by Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers – $16,874
$17k is a fulsome amount for this fantastic page featuring multiple panels of the foursome, with bonus shots of ’Torch in flight. I wouldn’t have been shocked to see it end closer to $20k, and it certainly would have streaked past that number if the page had hailed from the main Fantastic Four title.
Fantastic Four #289, cover by John Byrne – $24,726.90
Hake’s pre-auction estimate was $20k-35k (mine was $25k), so this arresting Byrne FF cover performed per general expectations. However, as discussed last week, lower-tier mid-’80s Byrne Marvel OA is flying up in value, meaning this might have been a prescient buy by a canny collector anticipating some near-term price upside!
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear #1, title page by John Romita Jr. & Al Williamson – $4,544.30
Given that strong action panel pages from this series go for around $2k, and the iconic #1 cover fetched only $17k at auction recently, $4.5k is an eye-catchingly high result for this headshot splash. Although, it is a rather large piece, with board size measuring 14.5”x20.25”. I still regret not pursuing the #1 cover further!
Punisher #15, cover by Scott Williams – $1,966.47
You rarely ever see a piece fully pencilled and inked by inker-extraordinaire Scott Williams, let alone an awesome cover like this one. In light of the paucity of Williams-only public sales, it’s hard to pinpoint FMV, but $2k seems an eminently fair figure. I really dig Scott’s hulking, chunky depiction of Kingpin and his powerful, tightly-rendered (and Zipatoned) art on this cover!
Marvel Swimsuit Special #4, cover by Tim & Greg Hildebrandt – $3,540
$3.5k qualifies as a bargain for this large (21.5”x27.5” framed), seasoned (1995) cover painted by the beloved Brothers Hildebrandt. A (admittedly larger) Greg-only 2016 Black Panther cover in Hake’s previous auction pulled in $5.9k. If this piece had been more specifically marketed as the cover, rather than no mention being made of its pagination, it would have likely fetched considerably more!
Michaelangelo: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle #1, pin-up by Kevin Eastman & Bob McLeod – $5,528.44
Historically, pieces which both Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird worked on together in their haphazard collaborative style are the most desired by OA collectors, with strong panel pages currently valued at $5k+. Although this Eastman & McLeod rendition doesn’t fall within that category, I think $5.5k, while stiff, is a fair price for an early (1985) full-page splash of the whole team on TMNT‘s signature Craftint art board.
Until next time, happy collecting!
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