Newly discovered collection of more than 40,000 comics sells in Dallas
The collector of this 'pedigree' trove of rarely-seen titles sourced them straight from the distributor
Heritage Auctions has announced that a newly discovered collection of more than 40,000 comic books, "The Savannah Collection," spanning from 1958 to the present and valued in total at more than $1 million, will be sold by the firm beginning February 24.
The collection has already been recognised as a pedigree selection by the certification service CGC, one of few collections from this era to receive that designation. The comics are being put up for auction by Shelton Drum, proprietor of the Charlotte, NC comic store Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, and a comic seller for three and a half decades.
Drum purchased the comics from the original collector, a Savannah, Georgia resident who was middle-aged in the late 1950s when he began collecting in earnest, but continued purchasing every comic he could for the following 50 years.
"I was amazed by the consistent quality of the comics from 1959 and up," Drum said. "While quite a few people have extensive collections of superhero comics from that era, almost nobody bought every genre.
"This collection also has all of the science fiction, horror/mystery, romance, and war comics, as well - lots of books you don't usually see as a dealer or a collector. This guy bought everything! He collected DCs and Marvels as well as the other publishers like Charlton and Dell."
The collector had an ingenious way to make sure he never missed an issue: he acquired the comics directly from the distributor from the late 1950s through the 1970s.
"It's tough to overstate the importance of this, because it means the comics don't have the various markings that news dealers would make on comics back then," said Steve Borock, Consignment Director for Heritage. "And, of course, they've been handled much less than comics on the racks would have been. Condition is everything in comic collecting."
Drum, who today runs the well-known Heroes Convention in Charlotte each year, had organised one-day comic conventions in various states throughout the 1980s, and the collector knew him from those days.
"The pre-1975 comics were in vertical stacks, with the earliest issue at the bottom," recalls Drum of his first look at the collection. "The first stack I got into had a mid-1970s issue of X-Men on top, and when I got to the bottom there was X-Men #1. I knew this was going to be something special right then."
"The very best comics from the collection will be featured in a special auction catalog in February, and we'll be offering the remainder to our bidders throughout 2011," said Ed Jaster, Senior Vice President of Heritage.
Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, bills itself the world's third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000-plus online bidder members.
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Images: Heritage Auctions Galleries