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Man's comic collection from childhood fetches $4.2m at auction

Wellington , Thu, 23 Feb 2012 ANI

Wellington, Feb 23 (ANI): The bulk of a US man's childhood comic book collection, which included many of the most prized issues ever published, sold at auction early on Thursday for about US 3.5 million dollars (NZ 4.2 million dollars).


A copy of Detective Comics number 27, which sold for 10 cents in 1939 and features the debut of Batman, got the top bid at the New York City auction and sold for about 523,000 dollars (NZ 630,000 dollars), including a buyer's premium.


"This really has its place in the history of great comic book collections," quoted Lon Allen, managing director of comics for Heritage Auctions, the Dallas-based auction house overseeing the sale as saying.


According to Allen, the auction was high energy, with "a bunch of applause at a couple of the top lots".


Action Comics number 1, a 1938 issue featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold for about 299,000 dollars (NZ 360,600 dollars), Batman number 1, from 1940, sold for about 275,000 dollars (NZ 331,700 dollars) and Captain America number 2, a 1941 issue with a frightened Adolf Hitler on the cover, brought in about US 114,000 dollars.


Among the 345 well-preserved comics bought decades ago by the Virginia boy with a remarkable knack for picking winners were 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide's top 100 issues from comics' golden age.


"It was amazing seeing what they went for," Michael Rorrer, who discovered his late great uncle Billy Wright's collection last year while cleaning out his house in Martinsville, Virginia, following his death, said.


Opening up a basement closet, Rorrer found the neatly stacked comics that had belonged to Wright, who died in 1994 at age 66.


"This is just one of those collections that all the guys in the business think don't exist anymore," Allen said.


According to experts, the collection is remarkable not only for the number of rare books, but also because the comics were kept in such good condition for half a century by the man who bought them in his childhood.


"The scope of this collection is, from a historian's perspective, dizzying," JC Vaughn, associate publisher of Overstreet, said. (ANI)


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