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2003 Market Report
the Beano Comic 1 reached its world record price of £7,565.00 in our auction last
December with all the resultant publicity, we got a call from a gentleman who
had unearthed a number 2 issue in worn, grubby condition. Although complete, he
wondered if it was good enough to offer at auction in the first place. After our
assurances he said that he would be thrilled to get “a couple of hundred quid”
for it and popped it into the post for our March catalogue.
we received it we graded it as [fair] with an estimate of £350-400 and we illustrated
the more worn back page, as well as the front, in the catalogue to give a really
true picture of its condition. By the time the bidding had finished the tatty
number two was knocked down for £1,028.00, the successful bidder telling us he
would have gone quite a bit higher to secure it. What a brilliant result for a
comic in such low grade, although one of only five copies known to exist.
Blake was often thought of as the poor man’s Sherlock Holmes, but his adventures,
told by a variety of authors, were enormously popular in the 1930s as printed
by Amalgamated Press in square-bound booklet format.The richly coloured covers,
illustrated by the wonderfully prolific Eric Parker, were only made of light card
and they would show their wear quite quickly, the spine titling often being the
first to suffer. Fresh copies are therefore hard to come by so when we offered
an unbroken run of 168 issues in fine to very fine grades it created a strong
level of interest. From an estimate of £550-600 the lot went to an overseas collector
unbroken run of the Sexton Blake Library Third Series from the 1940s, in the same
high grades, will feature in our next auction which is online at the end of May.
volumes continue to attract strong attention, especially when the contents are
in high grades, so Dandy years of 1944 and 1945 realised £887.00 and £818.00 respectively,
a high average of over £33.00 per copy. We also offered the Beezer 1-363 in seven
bound volumes, and these comics, published by D C Thomson between 1957 and 1962,
totalled £4,192.00 or £11.50 each, very firm prices for comics from this era.
Dan is not so desperate these days, his first annual from 1954 in fine plus grade
sold for a cowpunchin’ £484.00, more than double the price he has ever achieved
before. High grade 1940s annuals are also rare, especially when mummy’s little
treasure didn’t carve his name into the page that innocently stated, “This Book
Belongs To…”. A Magic-Beano Book from 1948 and a Dandy Monster Comic from 1949
were two such uncarved examples which were chased to £666.00 and £424.00 respectively.
our last Market Report we alerted bargain hunters to Mickey Mouse Movie Stories
Book 2 from 1935, a rare Dean & Son publication that had failed to reach its reserve
of £250.00 in our December auction. Offered at No Reserve this time, it was snapped
up for £97.00, its new owner disney with delight at his purchase.
Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, Rock and Roll and Beatlemania all collided in Liverpool in 1963
independent “Beat Papers” sprang up locally to chart the progress of home-grown
bands like The Beatles, The Swingin’ Blue Jeans, Gerry and Billy J. Kramer. If
you weren’t lucky enough to be crammed into a sweaty cavern the night your favourite
band appeared, the next best thing was to read about it the following week in
Mersey Beat and Combo, two titles that only had Northern distribution at that
time and were dragged off the shelves by an adulating army of fans, many eager
to put their local barber out of business. Today, these papers in early runs are
rare and avidly collected, so twenty-one Mersey Beat issues with another 40 loose
“pop” pages went back to Merseyside for a chart topping £510.00 and the first
nine copies of Combo with No. 12 were taken to £266.00.
the last eleven years, since we started our quarterly catalogues, we must have
individually graded over 100,000 comics. The eye gets so used to searching for
the tiniest flaw that sometimes it’s the obvious which eludes it. American comics,
especially those from the Golden Age between 1938-1956, can go through many pairs
of hands and centre pages often work their way loose sometimes separating from
the comic altogether. Knowing the amount of pages that were originally published
can often be helpful when grading as ad pages in these early issues followed each
story and were often un-numbered.
other major flaw that can often be overlooked is “trimming”; the practice whereby
unscrupulous owners attempt to give a comic the sharper look of a higher grade
by shaving or trimming the edges by a few millimetres to remove or diminish small
tears and chips. Silver Age Marvel comics from the early Sixties were often rough
edged and chipped after the cutting process at the printers, their guillotines
becoming blunted prior to resharpening. This is generally known as “Marvel Chipping”.
cuts and unparralel edges could also result during the cutting process, especially
when the comics towards the base of the stack could skew round as the guillotine
started its forty-five degree cut through them. One of our customers told us that
there is an algebraic formula that explained this but we told him that a beautiful
comic was more interesting than A Beautiful Mind.
copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s first appearance, had its right-hand
edge trimmed from nothing at its top, down to a slight taper at its base, where
there was a two millimetre loss. Convinced that it was a “factory” trim, rather
than a later cosmetic adjustment, the successful bidder was delighted with his
purchase of this [vg+] pence copy for £734.00. Our Amazing Spider-Man #1 cents
copy in [fine-] grade made a mid-estimate £1,270.00 and The Hulk [fn] and X-Men
[fn+] first issues both weighed in at just under £900.00 each.
of trimming, a year ago I weighed a cumbersome twelve-and-a-half stone but I’m
now down to a lively eleven thanks to regular swimming and jogging sessions and
a balanced diet of Marvel, DC and Beano comics to sustain me. Perhaps this new
trim will increase my value, but I doubt it.
Comic Book Postal Auctions, Ltd.
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