Heritage Auctions has reported that the company achieved numerous records in 2017 in their Comics & Comic Art category. The auction house reached the impressive total sales of $44.3 million, clinching their biggest total in the category’s 16-year history. It set a new record for the second year in a row, surpassing 2016’s total of $42.95 million.
Robert Crumb’s Fritz the Cat original cover art set a new world record for most valuable piece of American comic art, selling for $717,000. Joshua Middleton’s NYX #1 original cover and concept art for X-23’s first appearance set a new mark for a piece of 21st century art when it hammered for $71,700. The top animation art piece sold in ’17 was the Kay Nielsen concept painting for “Night on Bald Mountain” scene in Fantasia that hammered for $59,750.
“The last year has been the best in the history of our department,” Heritage Auctions Comics and Comic Art Operations Director Barry Sandoval said. “We were able to offer a number Robert Crumb items in which collectors saw premium value, and our weekly internet auctions underscored the quantity of in-demand lots our consignors consistently sell through Heritage Auctions.”
The Weekly Internet Auctions achieved the $10.8 million mark, averaging $208,000 per week. It was the first year the weekly sales cracked the $10 million mark.
“Our average weekly auction has more than $200,000 worth of material, all sold without any reserves or minimum bids,” Sandoval said. “In addition to the Disney animation drawings and comic art we sell week in and week out, we’re proud to have a steady flow of key comics. In weekly auctions this year alone we have sold 22 Amazing Fantasy #15s, 26 Amazing Spider-Man #1s, 33 Incredible Hulk #181s, and 27 New Mutants #98s … and there are plenty more in the pipeline.”
The top lot sold in a 2017 weekly auction was Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 5.0 for $35,850. The highest comic art sale in the weekly listings was John Buscema and Jim Mooney Amazing Spider-Man #76 Lizard original art for $11,950.
A vast portion of sales for the comic department came from the Ethan Roberts collection of comic art, which netted over $2 million from 1,000 lots. Highlights from the collection were Alex Raymond Flash Gordon original art from 1935 for $131,450, Alex Raymond Flash Gordon with Jungle Jim Topper Sunday comic strip original art from 1939 for $95,600, Steve Ditko Amazing Spider-Man #34 story page 16 original art for $71,700, and Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing #6 original cover art for $58,555.