First difficulty of ‘Captain America’ comedian ebook fetches $3.1 million at public sale

A replica of the primary “Captain America” comedian ebook, that includes the memorable cowl picture of the superhero socking a shocked Hitler whereas keeping off Nazi bullets, fetched greater than $3.1 million at an public sale Thursday, turning into one of many world’s priciest comedian books.

The near-mint copy of “Captain America No. 1,” the creation of Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, was dated March 1941 — 9 months earlier than the United States entered World War II. It was bought to an unidentified bidder at an occasion carried out by Heritage Auctions, which is predicated in Dallas.

With the sale, which officers mentioned was the fourth-highest-priced comedian ebook to promote at public sale, “Captain America” joined “Superman” and “Spider-Man” in having debut points that topped $3 million at public sale. The comedian ebook with the very best public sale promoting worth was the primary look of Spider-Man — a near-perfect copy of “Amazing Fantasy No. 15” from 1962 — additionally bought by Heritage Auctions, in 2021, for $3.6 million. Two copies of Superman’s first look, “Action Comics No. 1” from 1938, occupy the second and third spots.

The public sale was additional proof that high-end classic comedian ebook gross sales have exploded lately, with three of the 4 highest-priced comedian books bought at public sale inside the final eight months, in keeping with information supplied by Heritage.

The gross sales are fueled by a resurgence of curiosity in superheroes attributable to blockbuster movies and to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has heightened the need for collectibles, Barry Sandoval, vp of Heritage Auctions, mentioned in an interview late Thursday. He remembers the fun in February 2010 when Heritage bought its first comedian for greater than $1 million, a duplicate of “Detective Comics No. 27,” which was the debut of Batman.

“The COVID-19 era sort of led to a general explosion in collectibles,” Sandoval mentioned. “That’s part of it. Part of is people, with each passing year, have a better feel for what the scarcity of these things is at high grade. Thirty years ago, one might have been a bit more reluctant because you didn’t know how many other nice copies might be out there.”

The Marvel movies didn’t damage, Sandoval mentioned. In somewhat greater than a decade, the “Captain America” movie franchise has seen three in style additions: “Captain America: The First Avenger,” in 2011; “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” in 2014; and “Captain America: Civil War,” in 2016. Those movies, together with the “Avengers” sequence that includes the character, have grossed billions worldwide.

“Even if you’re buying something strictly because you love it, with no thought of resale or investment or anything like that, you’re always a bit more comfortable if you think, ‘Oh, OK — if I did have to get rid of this I could get my money back or make money,’” Sandoval mentioned. “The fact that Captain America has been in so many recent movies, I think that gives people a better comfort level.”

The copy that was bought Thursday additionally had many benefits. It got here from a revered assortment, often known as the San Francisco Pedigree Collection, and was in near-mint situation, Sandoval mentioned. Moreover, he mentioned, the unique “Captain America” difficulty has had a particular place within the hearts of comedian ebook aficionados.

The hero — Steve Rogers, as reworked by experimental serum right into a U.S. superagent who dons a dressing up with an American flag motif — was a response to the rise of Nazism by Simon and Kirby, who had been each Jewish. Other comedian books of the time had villains on their covers that hinted they had been Nazis, however didn’t straight say so, Sandoval mentioned.

“’Captain America’ not only called it by name but also had Hitler right there, front and center, getting punched out,” he mentioned. “After that, publishers rolled out Hitler covers by the dozens to capitalize on that.”

The copy that was bought Thursday illustrates the surge in costs. In August 2019, the identical comedian ebook bought at public sale for $915,000, Sandoval mentioned. The purchaser, who additionally needs to stay personal, was properly conscious of the growing costs and approved Heritage Auctions to place the copy again available on the market.

Sandoval was within the room, sweat dripping down his face, because the bidding started Thursday. But the day shortly turned extra pleasing as bidding progressed.

“It’s pretty fun to watch,” he mentioned, “when you have $100,000 jumps.”

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