'Finest' Joe Shuster Superman drawing to top Hake's at $35,000

An original drawing of Superman by creator Joe Shuster is to provide one of many highlights in Hake's Americana & Collectibles online auction, which runs March 18-20.

Joe Shuster Superman drawing
With a modest estimate, the drawing could exceed expectations

The circa 1941 piece is a fantastic depiction of the Man of Steel (who first appeared in 1938) with his legs apart and hands on hips - the quintessential hero pose.

Described by JC Vaughan in the respected Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide as "the single finest Joe Shuster Superman I've ever seen", it will sell with a $20,000-35,000 estimate.

Adding value to the piece is its inscription from Joe Shuster and co-creator Jerry Siegel that reads: "Best personal regards to Lefty Gomez from one SUPERMAN to another." The piece was made out to the legendary New York Yankees pitcher Louis "Lefty" Gomez - a hall of famer.

The piece could far exceed its estimate, as the earliest known cover art from any Superman comic sold for $292,000 at Heritage Auctions.

This is the only known set of these cards, acquired by one of the leading authorities and a respected collector

The most valuable lot of the sale will be the only complete collection of Cuban baseball cards issued in 1923-1924 by Tomas Guttierrez of the Diaz brand cigarettes. Featuring 84 SGC-graded cards, they are valued at $75,000-100,000.

"To give you an idea of how valuable this set is to collectors, we sold eight cards from the same series (from the late Richard Merkin's collection) for $30,000. The cards in this set are in higher grade, and there are 84 of them," said Hake's general manager, Alex Winter.

Richard Merkin (1938-2009) was a renowned painter, illustrator and cultural figure, who became renowned as a professional dandy. An eccentric character, he "loved and evoked the great spirit of the nineteen-twenties" according to the New Yorker, for whom he regularly contributed his illustrations, when not working as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

Merkin also appears on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (between Fred Astaire and a Vargas pin-up).

He illustrated the book Leagues Apart: The Men and Times of the Negro Baseball Leagues by Larry Ritter, and is known for his collection of vintage pornography, which was published in Velvet Eden - The Richard Merkin Collection of Erotic Photography.

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