Robert Crumb’s Fritz artwork sets new American record

Robert Crumb’s iconic cover art for a Fritz the Cat omnibus has sold for a record $717,000.

The lot crossed the block at Heritage Auctions in New York over the weekend.

Crumb Fritz Cat

Crumb began drawing Fritz the Cat at the age of 16

That’s the highest sum ever paid for an original artwork by Crumb. It also makes it the most valuable piece of original American comic book art sold at auction.

The previous record was $657,250, paid for the final page of Incredible Hulk #180 (featuring the first appearance of Wolverine) in 2014.

Fritz the Cat was one of Crumb’s earliest creations (he began life in 1959, when Crumb was just 16). 

The character first appeared in various underground "comix" in the mid-1960s and swiftly became a counter-cultural icon.

Like much of Crumb’s work, it’s extremely sexually explicit.

In 1972, an animated adaptation of Fritz the Cat became the first movie to receive an X-rating in the US.

This proved to be a major publicity boost. 

This cover appears on a 1969 collection of Fritz the Cat stories, published by Ballantine.

A 9.2-graded copy of Suspense Comics #3 (1944), featuring the infamous “Nazi bondage” cover, sold for a record $262,900.

That’s a huge increase on the previous record of $173,275, set for a 9.0-graded specimen in 2015.

It just goes to show the premium collectors place on condition.

The lot originates from the legendary Mile High collection, a vast holding of Golden Age comic books that had been stored in optimal conditions for decades.

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