If it wasn’t for the neighbors setting off fireworks and driving my dog crazy, I would have slept right through the turn of the year. I was getting up early the next morning anyway as I planned on going to the 28th anniversary of Racine’s New Years Day Auction. I didn’t know that one could assemble that many sober people in one spot at 8 in the morning on January 1st.
Racine’s is a pretty big place with one side dedicated to the more hoity-toity items – and chairs. Me, I was hunkered down with the common people–standing room (barely) only. Their site showed some early pulp magazines–you know, the ones with the great sci-fi covers, but I never found them. But, after only 20 minutes there, one of the helpers was holding them aloft. I was too far away to see their condition well, so dropped out when the bidding got fairly high. That was why I went there and could have left with the whole day left, but nooo.
I happened to see 5 pieces of original comic book page art half covered up by some other ephemera. I’m sure you know what happened…they got around to them around 3:00 PM! I had watched as an old, rusty 50′s Schwinn bicycle with both tires completely dry-rotted went for $550. I assume that was being influenced by the tales on “American Pickers”. By the time it was getting around to MY table, the auctioneer was getting tired and really started moving the merchandise and lumping items together. Right before he got to the artwork, there was a short comic box full of Valiant Comics trade paperbacks. I was thinking maybe 15 bucks. It went for $75.
Finally, my stuff, but, he made it the “rest of the table”! There were also dozens and dozens of large holiday stickers, a number of fairly large stuffed rabbit dolls and a bench, a limoges plate, a file box, and other stuff, in addition to the 5 pieces of art work. I got everything for $12.50. There were 2 pieces of ICP from Chaos Comics and 3 pieces from Valiant Comics – one by Sean Chen, one by local favorite Bob Layton and one by Dick Giordano! Oh, yeah, I’m sorry, for those of you out of the loop, ICP stands for Insane Clown Posse. Now, I don’t know much about original comic book art, but each piece is unique and takes the artist quite a bit of time, so I guessed at a value and threw them up on eBay. All 5 were sold in less than a week! And, at a nice little profit, I might add. Now that’s “pickin”.
The previous day, I wasted time and gas going to an auction in lower Delaware that stated there were going to be “over 1,000″ comic books. The site didn’t offer any pictures, but I wasn’t doing anything special and made the trip. An hour and a half later, I find the auction house and the comics were spread out on a table. Maybe, MAYBE, 400 issues and not a single one was a current ongoing title. This wasn’t even worth the time to hang around and see what they would go for.
But, I went for the “over 1,000″ description less than a week later to once again discover that they had also vastly over estimated the number of books. I had traveled to the location the day before the auction since it was fairly close and I would need the time to inspect this thousand books. They had them arranged strangely–by cover price. Depending upon whether the comic was originally 25 cents, 75 cents, a buck, or a dime, you were going to bid on the stack of them that way. The 10 centers were a mess, except for an early Flash Gordon Four Color–maybe a “VG” copy. The rest were heavily damaged. Of all of the comics there, again, MAYBE 300, only a couple were in comic bags. Fortunately, two of them were Wolverine 1 & 2 from the mini series and they were in great shape! Both were in the “60 cent” pile. On the next table, there were a few pieces of comic book related art – not actual pages from an issue – pretty neat stuff nonetheless. There was a Frank Thorne rendering of Red Sonja, a nice drawing of some monster with great detail and color and two pieces of Popeye art from George Wildman, who drew Popeye for Charlton Comics for years. Each was on a 14″ by 17″ board, colored, signed and numbered with a C.O.A. Having sold 3 of those other 5 pieces of art already, I was coming back the next day! So, next day comes and after about 2 hours, they get to the table with the comics. I passed on the a couple of piles, dropped out on the 10 cent pile when it went too high, but got that pile of 60 centers. I won the Popeye art, too. One was a nice picture of the character “Eugene the Jeep” and the other showed the evolution of Popeye, how his image had changed over the decades – also a neat piece. I was somewhat upset to find that the Wolverine #2 was not in the pile where is should have been. Be watchful when attending auctions, as there are those who carelessly or deliberately move items around. Anyway, the “Jeep” piece sold in less than one day after being listed on eBay, and the buyer didn’t even make a “best offer”, which was an option I had. He received it, left me a nice feedback and bought then immediately bought the other piece–again without quibbling about my price. Hmmm, maybe getting into art work?
You may have noticed more Big Little Books in the showcases. A week and half ago, I went to another auction, hoping to snag a copy of Green Lantern 76 (NM = $2,000!). It was shown on the website, but with no particular fanfare, as it was appeared to be just thrown in the mix. Turns out, it was auctioned separately and the first of the comics they had. I looked at it and figured I would price it at about $400 in the shop– a decent fine+ copy. With the 17% Buyer’s fee (penalty) and sales tax added on, it would have cost me at least $290 and I still don’t know how high the winner would have gone. Since our regulars get 25% off back issues and then Joe gets his commission, that would have been a losing proposition. That kind of set the tone for the comics and I wished I had brought my old copies of Disneys and Golden Age up there. I wasn’t getting any comics at this auction, but I waited since there were those fat little books still there. I got very little competition for them or the interesting Disney items in the front showcase. Check next time you’re in and you will see a couple of subscription gift certificates to Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories from the mid 40′s. One could buy these for birthdays or Christmas back then and the recipient would get these in the mail with the number of years of subscription that was purchased from them and the names of the givers. I did some research and have them priced well below what others are asking. something that I could not find was an example of the actual envelope these were sent in. These have to be quite scarce as who keeps the envelope once opened for this type of item? And, like the gift certificates, it was decorated with Disney graphics, also.
I love that Kevin Bacon commercial where he plays his own number one fan [Me too! -Dave]; but it occurred to me after seeing it several times, that I couldn’t remember what the product was. If you know which one I’m talking about, you’ll notice that they have now added a piece at the end mentioning Logitech.
A commercial that irritates me is the one with the dysfunctional, out of ideas, hip-hop rodents–You can deal with this and I can’t deal with that.
O-Kay, the first week of American Idol has come and gone. I wasn’t sure I would get into it that much this year with Simon gone, but Steven Tyler is a riot. He’s going to have to carry the show.
The Comic Code Authority (remember those CCA stamps in the corners) was basically dealt a death blow this week when both DC Comics and Archie Comics have announced that they are withdrawing from using their ratings. Marvel already has gone its own way and a rating can be found on its covers. Parents, be careful with the little ones. If you stay on the “tile” in the shop, you are always safe!
Another comic related demise is Wizard! along with its sister publication Toyfare. They are no more! Judging by the huge sales drop (and drop in quality and usefulness as a price guide) we have experienced the past few years, I can’t say I’m surprised. Toyfare, however, seemed to be holding its own. The conventions will still take place.
Speaking of demises, did you get your copy of FF 587? The day they arrived, they had sold out at Diamond and Marvel claimed they would not open print or make them available to the newsstands. People are already paying over cover for them on eBay.
I stopped by a number of other comic shops this past week and saw something that Joe caught on to early. There was a shop that has boxes and boxes of variants and incentives taking up space. Most, especially the 1:10 incentives, are offered to retailers, but we have to actually buy them. It is assumed that people will pay a very high premium to get these. One could see these listed on eBay at extremely high prices. We would always go way below so the eventual buyer would not be upset with us. That gimmick seems to be on its way out and Joe has ordered fewer than he is entitled to, mostly those he has pre-orders for, passing up on most. From the looks of all of those extras I saw in another shop, a smart move.
One last thing – evidently eBay has agreed to help the IRS and will be reporting sales activity to them by sending 1099′s to those accounts if they have had at least 200 sales during this year AND those sales have amounted to at least $20,000 (including S&H, I believe). Yes, the forums are already discussing “what about those that sell $100,000 with only 100 sales? – Don’t they get reported?” For those thinking about setting up several accounts, each staying under those limits, it will be for the COMBINED totals.
‘Til next time. Paul