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Original comic art, toys and historic Americana generate $1.26M at Hake's March 13-14 auction
J.E. Miller panoramic photo of 1924 Negro League World Series contenders, the Kansas City Monarchs and Hilldale Giants, and management, est. $23,365. Image courtesy of Hake’s Auctions.

YORK, PA.- Fresh-to-market original comic book art spurred a fan frenzy at Hake’s March 13-14 auction and produced a $1.26 million result, with new auction records set by several prize entries.

Predicted to finish well in the money, Rob Liefeld’s original pen-and-ink art for Page 27 of New Mutants #98, published by Marvel in February 1991, did not disappoint. It swept past its $20,000-$35,000 estimate to settle at $40,380, making it the auction’s top lot.

“The artboard is from the issue that introduced Deadpool, the wildly popular antihero who went on to star in countless comics, video games and films,” said Hake’s president Alex Winter. “Original page art from Issue 98 is especially rare if it actually depicts Deadpool – which was the case with the page art we sold – because he appears on only seven pages in that issue.” The artwork had been held privately since shortly after the issue’s publication and had never before been offered for public sale.

Frank Quitely’s original cover art for All-Star Superman #6 (DC Comics), from a series that ran from November 2005 through October 2008, sold for $15,575 – an auction record for any original Quitely art. The poignant scene depicts Superman standing at the gravestone of his adoptive father, Jonathan Kent, with his loyal canine companion Krypto beside him.

Next up was the 11- by 17-inch original art for Page 33 of Sandman Vol. 2, #14 (DC Vertigo, March 1990), penciled by Mike Dringenberg and inked by Malcolm Jones III. Few Sandman pages have appeared for public sale, and the $14,280 auction-record price paid for the early seven-panel page validated the timelessness and enduring popularity of the series.

Comic books held steady, with particular interest in Golden and Silver Age issues that debuted or provided the backstories for important characters. Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, August 1962, CGC 3.0 Good/VG), introducing Spider-Man, leaped to $16,955; while Detective Comics #168 (DC, February 1951, CGC 3.0 Good/VG), which tells the origin story of The Joker (“The Man Behind the Red Hood”), was on target at $10,450.

The demand for rare, early Star Wars action figures has been insatiable since Hake’s first introduced the Russell Branton collection to bidders in 2017. Since then, the company has presented additional helpings from the fabled collection in its subsequent auctions, and did so again on March 13-14. An AFA-graded 75 EX+/NM Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Bespin Alliance 3-pack series charged past its $10,000-$20,000 estimate to reach $24,400; while an AFA-graded 85 NM+ 3-pack Android Set made $15,705 against expectations of $5,000-$10,000. From another premier Star Wars collection, an AFA-graded 80NM Luke Skywalker 12 Back-A double-telescoping figure crushed all challengers with a closing price of $25,310.

Bases were loaded as two premier sports lots stepped up to the plate to take a swing. A fantastic panoramic photo taken prior to Game 5 of the first “Negro League World Series” of October 1924, depicting 42 players (including eight future Hall of Famers), managers and owners, retired at $23,365. Also, a treasure trove of 150 Cracker Jack collector cards produced in 1914-15 was offered, including the elusive “Shoeless” Joe Jackson card. Measuring only 2.25 by 3 inches, it set a world auction record for an example of its type (PSA Good 2 condition), knocking it out of the park at $18,345.

Historical and political Americana flew high, especially an important 1860 “For President, Abram [sic.] Lincoln – For Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin” 35-star parade flag. “This flag descended through successive generations of a Connecticut family, then went into a private collection where it remained for 50 years. We were proud to have been chosen to offer it for public sale for the first time,” said Winter. It realized $19,210.

Political buttons were hotly pursued, including an iconic 1940 Wendell Willkie/FDR “Y’r Out At Third” baseball-theme button, $9,735; and a button showing Harry Truman’s face on an 8-ball, a reference to his being “behind the 8-ball” as he headed into the 1948 presidential race, $9,475. A top Kennedy keepsake, a “Kennedy Election Night Staff” button of a type worn by staffers to gain access to the Hyannisport family compound on election day in 1960. It came with provenance from the archive of Helen Lempart, who was an executive secretary in JFK’s inner circle. Selling price: $9,410

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