Bought for an ‘exorbitant’ $100 in the 1960s, expected to bring $300,000+, Feb. 25, 2010
DALLAS, TX — When a truly exceptional copy of Detective Comics #27, the very first appearance of Batman, is auctioned by Heritage Auction Galleries in its Feb. 25 Signature® Comics & Comic Art Auction, it will set two important marks:
It will, more than likely, become the single most valuable comic ever offered at public auction. Though it’s being sold with no reserve and no minimum bid, it’s expected to bring at least $300,000. The current record for a comic sold at auction stands at $317,000, for a copy of Action Comics #1, sold last year at another auction house.
The other question the auction will settle, at least for the time being, is one of the great debates of Pop Culture: Who is worth more today, Batman or Superman?
“Since Heritage began auctioning vintage comics, we have heard more client requests for Detective #27 than for Superman’s first comic, Action #1, and that’s both from hard-core comic collectors and from clients in other fields who are interested in this issue as a pop culture milestone,” said Lon Allen, Director of Sales for the Comics Division of Heritage. “Superman came first, but I think in certain quarters Batman is the more popular character. This is probably the most desirable comic Heritage has ever auctioned.”
The third-party certification service CGC has graded the comic Very Fine 8.0, a grade that only one other copy of this issue has reached and none has surpassed.
“The eye appeal is absolutely outstanding,” said Lon Allen, Director of Sales for the Comics Division of Heritage. “Most comics from 1939 are smudged, torn, creased, and so on – this one’s got really bright colors and looks fresh. It has no restoration which is a major plus as well. We’ve never handled a copy that’s anywhere near this nice.”
Heritage has not disclosed the source of the comic other than to note it comes from a savvy collector who assembled his collection in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Back then, if someone spent even $100 on a comic book from the 1930s or 1940s, which is what the collector paid for it, it was considered absurd by the general public,” said Allen, “but smart buyers who did their legwork and paid so-called ‘outrageous’ prices could put together excellent collections that today’s collectors are envious of.”
To say that today’s hordes of comic collectors, Batman fans and Pop Culture devotees are envious of a comic such as this, bought for a mere fraction of what the current price will be, is an easy understatement. By late February the top collectors in the world will be eyeing this book closely, and weighing just how much it’s worth to them to have the have the holy grail of comic books, and to be part of history.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 475,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HA.com.