Hake’s Auction closed their fall premier auction on November 14-15, 2023, seeing a total of $2.4 million in sales. Blending pop culture and Americana material, the auction offered a wide spectrum of collectibles, such as campaign buttons, comic books, baseball cards, action figures, Civil Rights items, original art, and gum cards. These and many other categories produced impressive results, surpassing many of their preauction estimates.
The auction’s top spot went to the 1936 Wolverine Gum “Strange True Stories” complete gum card set, featuring “The Bat Man” card. The PSA-graded set that also includes the wrapper, sold for an incredible $64,905 – more than triple its $20,000 estimate. The 24-card set that deals with strange and macabre subject matter is highlighted by “The Bat Man” card, which came out three years before Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27.
Original art was led by the Action Comics #588 cover by John Byrne that soared to $35,695. The 11-1/4” x 17” Sparta artboard has pen and ink art of Superman, Hawkman, and Hawkwoman flying through space. The title, issue number, and publication info are inked at the top and Byrne signed it in the newsstand rectangle.
The early Copper Age key Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 CGC 9.2 Signature Series with sketch by Kevin Eastman (first printing) cleared $31,152. Not only does this issue introduce the Turtles, Eastman signed the right side of the front cover with a head sketch of one of the Turtles.
The incredibly rare Captain Marvel play cape from the Harry Matetsky collection nearly tripled its $10,000 estimate to sell for $28,556. During his heyday, Captain Marvel was a very popular character with many pieces of merchandise and premiums made for comic readers. However, a Captain Marvel costume playsuit was never produced – making the play cape the only costume style piece. It is one of, if not the rarest, piece of vintage Captain Marvel merchandise.
The Martin Luther King-signed program from his final Sunday sermon on March 31, 1968 (and perhaps the final autograph signed by the Civil Rights leader), realized $28,556. After King finished what would be his final Sunday sermon, he was ushered to St. Alban’s School gymnasium on the grounds of the National Cathedral for a press conference. The consignor, Michael Feldman, attended that event and King signed the program for him before he left the press conference.
A Star Wars Early Bird Mailer Kit featuring the first action figures AFA 85 NM+ soared well beyond its $10,000 estimate to sell for $25,570. The kit includes Luke Skywalker with the double-telescoping lightsaber, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and R2-D2 in a vacuform plastic tray and the original white mailing box.
Spider-Man claimed two of top spots in the comics section, starting with the Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 2.5 (with the first appearance of Spider-Man, and the debuts of Aunt May and Uncle Ben) for $24,254. Amazing Spider-Man #667 CBCS 9.8 Verified Signature Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos (with the Gabriele Dell’Otto 1:100 retailer incentive variant cover) from the Duke Caldwell Collection totaled $17,853.
One of the littlest Star Wars figures brought a big price when the Jawa 12-back AFA 85 NM+ with the vinyl cape reached $23,837, surpassing the $20,000 estimate. The 12 Action Figures long display header AFA 80 that advertises Kenner’s first wave of Star Wars action figures released in 1978 cleared $20,060.
Gum cards were well represented among the auction’s biggest sellers. A 1940 Gum Inc. Superman gum card #1 PSA 6 (one of the higher graded cards in the PSA census) brought $23,600, besting the $20,000 estimate. The 1970 Topps Hee Haw test card set complete PSA graded, based on the country music/comedy variety show, Hee Haw, saw competitive bidding more than double the $10,000 estimate when it sold for $22,066.
A rare 1952 Mickey Mantle “Fan Club” real photo button hammered for $17,561. The button from early in Mantle’s career was available for a short time by mail only to members of his fan club. This newly discovered example of the rarely seen button came to Hake’s from Canada.
The Fremont & Dayton 1856 campaign Spencerian folk art hand painted parade banner topped $15,851. Promoting the first ever Republican Presidential nominee John C. Fremont, the large 57” x 77” banner is hand inked on two vertical sections of unglazed cotton joined at the center. It is signed by the artist F.W. Wells at the lower right.
The Hughes and Fairbanks jugate button on “Erie County” New York ribbon cleared $15,576. The colorful 1-3/4” jugate, Hake #3002, is suspended from an “Erie County Republican Committee 1916” ribbon with an ornate brass hanger “Executive Committee” cello insert.
The 1953 Our Sports Magazine Jackie Robinson Sports Authority subscription incentive card CGC 2.5 scored big at $14,276, well over the $10,000 estimate. The front has a photo of Robinson in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform and the back has the name of the original recipient, Tom Reekie, with the text, “The holder of this card is a sports authority.” Our Sports was a Black sports magazine that Robinson edited, with all five issues published in 1953. This card is the only known example and the first to come to auction.
Competitive bidders pushed multiple lots well beyond their expectations to produce impressive results. A Davis and Bryan real photo 1-1/4” jugate button for the 1924 Democratic candidates reached $7,303, over the $5,000 estimate. The Timoshenko and MacArthur for Victory rare WWII button highlighting the alliance between the USSR and US soared to $7,009, crushing the $700 estimate.
All of the top results in both parts of Hake’s Auction #239 can be viewed at hakes.com.