Wednesday, September 21, 2016
This Week's Heritage Auctions
To see all my items on Heritage's website, follow this link. Here are the auction items and my comments:
These annual books are extremely scarce. I buy them whenever I find them, yet my collection is still missing dozens of the annual issues, for which I am forced to rely on really bad microfilm copies.
An oddball but fabulous conglomeration here. First up is Famous Artists and Writers, an incredible spiral-bound book sent to newspaper editors as a promo by King Features in 1946. It offers samples of all the comics they offer (quite a few in glorious glossy color stock), along with bios of the artists. These are tough to come by and highly prized.
Next is an incredible rarity from 1902 -- a catalog from a cartoon exhibition and sale -- perhaps the very first in history! Would you like to buy a Winsor McCay original? No problem, there were something like 50 different examples up for sale in this exhibit. What an amazing document that shows cartoon art taken seriously so early.
Finally there are five different instructional booklets from Norman Marsh's cartoon school full of interesting art.
Here's another odd but delightful assortment. Three issues of Crapouillot, a French political humor magazine with superb illustrations and cartoons, plus a couple issues of New Masses with those terrific leftist cartoonists represented (one is a special expanded anniversary issue), a rare issue #2 of Americana, a 1932 satire magazine with an amazing high-end list of cartoonist and writer contributors, plus an issue of Touchstone, the humor magazine of Amherst College.
Yet another assortment of wonderful goodies. First and foremost, an original edition copy of Your History by J.A. Rogers, the black historian who authored the weekly cartoon panel series for black newspapers from the 1930s to 1960s. In the same vein, there is also Facts About the Negro #2, a later reprint book of the Your History cartoons. Next up is Eventful Decade, which is a real sleeper item -- this classy booklet was issued by the American Federation of Musicians in 1952 and features a retrospective of political and humor cartoons related to their profession from the mainstream press; lots of interesting material and neat jazz music references of course. Next we have two different editions of Texas History Movies (1935 and 1959), which we've discussed on the blog. Next there is Picture Life of a Great American, a very scarce comic strip reprint book detailing the life of Herbert Hoover (an election giveaway), and finally, In and Around the Lehigh Valley, a book of cartoons about eastern Ohio by Leo Hammer.
For two glorious seasons, Winsor McCay contributed the covers for the New York Hippodrome's annual souvenir books. In this lot, much to my chagrin, the auctioneers have included two (!) copies of the scarcer 1908-1909 edition, along with one copy of the 1909-1910 issue.
In the realm of rare platinum comics, Buttons and Fatty in the Funnies rates at the high end for scarcity. This is the only copy I've ever encountered. Condition isn't the greatest (the original binding was ridiculously fragile and doomed from the start), but as the saying goes, where you gonna find another one?
Another ridiculously rare platinum comic, Comic Cuts is all but unknown to collectors. My guess is that its rarity is even greater because when copies are found, they are often mistaken to be from the British series of the same name. But these rare issues came out of New York, and contain all original material, which makes them among the earliest original comic books ever published (along with The Funnies, below). This is issue #5. Though it has a good size hunk out of the front cover, the same admonishment applies -- where you gonna find another one!
Three issues of Gulf Funny Weekly, the gas station giveaway series with some great newspaper comics-style art and stories. Issues in this lot are #38, 56 and 319.
Here's a nice group of Platinum books, with the oversize Gumps Cartoon Book, Tad Dorgan's very funny Daffydils, a couple of Briggs books, and a very niuce copy of the scarce original material comic book Knock Knock Featuring Enoch Knox.
A nice batch of Cupples and Leon platinum comics in lesser condition, featuring some of the harder to find issues: Harold Teen, Keeping Up With the Joneses #1 and #2 (by Pop Momand), Percy and Ferdie by the great H.A. McGill, and Tillie the Toiler #2 and #4.
Some absolutely great material here in this lot! T.E. Powers' Joys and Glooms is very tough to find, and expensive if you do. Landfield-Kupfer's very early reprint of The Gumps is also very tough to find, though this copy is in rough shape. Also a tough book to find is Billy the Boy Artist's Book of Funny Pictures as it was probably only sold in the Boston area -- this one is also quite rough.
Much lesser known is A Child's Book of Abridged Wisdom, which is by the naive cartoonist Childe Harold. His work appeared often in Hearst's New York American in the 1900s.
Another really special item, though, is The Adventures of Peter Pupp, which isn't a platinum book at all. It's also not rare, but somewhat tough to find in decent condition It was issued in 1943 by comics pioneer Jerry Iger though his Action Play-Books imprint. The fantasy/sci-fi story is by comic book scripter Ruth Roche, and the illustrations are uncredited. The exciting thing, though, is that those cartoons are adapted from a comics series by none other than a very young Bob Kane! Iger recycled Kane's art for this kid's book and didn't give him any credit.
There are three groupings of miscellaneous golden age comic books in the present auction, but they didn't even bother to picture many of the issues. I understand why they look down their noses at these I suppose -- condition is generally merely average -- but there are some wonderful seldom seen issues mixed in. I hope you comic book fans will take a look at these:
Group 1: Smash Comics #63, Crack Comics #39, Red Band Comics #3 (one-eyed monster in a jive hat cover!), Black Magic #31 (bizarre Kirby cover), G.I. Joe V.2 #9 (Saunders painted cover), Justice Comics #17 (scarce Canadian comic book), Official True Crime Cases #24 (nice Syd Shores cover), Pioneer West Romances #5 (classic Firehair cover), Super Magician Comics V.5 #6 (strange title and scarce), Young King Cole #4, and the highlight: Picture News #1, 3 and 9 (very tough to find, and full of great art -- Milt Gross and Kirby!). #3 and #9 are in SUPERB condition, which they didn't even bother to mention.
Group 2: Captain Marvel Jr. #24 (Raboy cover), Feature Comics #89, Ibis the Invincible #6 (classic monster cover), Journal of Crime (one of those cool Fox giants with all sorts of strange material inside), Key Comics #2 (oddball issue seldom seen, neat cover), Smash Comics #45 and (my favorite series, again) Picture News #7 (very scarce, not indexed on GCD).
Group #3: Police Comics #30 (Cole and Eisner art), Jane Arden Crime Reporter #1 (uncommon reprint comic), Red Circle Comics #1 (neat and scarce series with adventure, crime and comedy inside), Cow Puncher #3 (classic cover), Young King Cole V.3 #2, Super Comics #28, 33, 51, 54 (all with great Dick Tracy and other comic strip reprints)
Other comics lots:
Gay Comics #27 in superb condition, with Wolverton art and lotsa pretty gals.
Georgie Comics #6 (Georgie visits the Timely Comics office), 9 (Kurtzman art), 24 and 29.
Sexy good girl art lot with Tessie the Typist #14 (Wolverton and Kurtzman art), Margie Comics #44 (Kurtzman), Nellie the Nurse #16 (Kurtzman), Miss America V.3#3, Candy #2 (Gustavson art), Gay Comics #34 (3 Hey Look pages by Kurtzman).
Two Mighty Midget Comics with great covers in nice clean shape.
Three very uncommon sports-related comic books; Sport Stars #4 is the only one that Overstreet even knows about. How Champions Play Football is so obscure that GCD doesn't know about it either -- they only list the companion baseball issue. Sport Slants is a real gem containing sports cartoons and caricatures by famed sports cartoonist Tom 'Pap' Paprocki, and seems to have been issued by his syndicate, the Associated Press. It must have sold terribly at 25 cents in 1946!
We finish off with Zip Comics #8, featuring an incredibly gruesome cover from the pen of Charles Biro. Inside art by Mort Meskin and others.
Generally I'm happy with how they've been handling things, but when they get into the more obscure and rare items, they seem to sometimes be in over their heads. I do get to see the auction listings before they go live, and in the past they've for the most part responded when I belly-ached about something being mis-described or in an inappropriate lot combination. On this batch my requested changes were ignored -- including ridiculous errors like the misspelling of Winsor McCay's name. So I have to admit I'm a little tweaked off at them this week.