Friday, August 2, 2013

Recent Auction Sales

In late February 2013, Heritage Auctions featured their annual Vintage Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction in New York City. Among the highlights was original Charles Schultz panels for the PEANUTS newspaper strip, which all sold at amazing prices (the lowest was $12,000 sans taxes, fees and premiums). Among the highlights was this original art work used for the cover of issue #121 of The Amazing Spider-Man, considered by many as one of the most important issues in the Spider-Man legacy... the death of Gwen Stacy... Peter Parker's girlfriend.

John Romita's art work was considered the most desirable piece of 1970s comic art. "Not a trick! Not an imaginary tale -- but the most startling unexpected turning point in this web-slinger's entire life. How can Spider-Man go on after being faced with this almost unbelievable death?"

It's a story that fans still talk about, and the most sense-shattering deathblow in comics. Letters from outraged fans flooded the Marvel offices, and led to another mini-controversy... did Stan Lee O.K. this storyline or not? The loss of Gwen marked nothing less than an end to the carefree fun and offbeat innocence of the Silver Age era. If you don't know the story, I recommend you brush up on your Spider-Man lore... while the masked man was battling The Green Goblin, it was Spider-Man himself who unintentionally killed Gwen Stacy. Peter Parker swore he would kill The Green Goblin.

With the new Spider-Man movie franchise and Emma Stone plays the role of Gwen Stacy. Rumor has it that in the third movie, they are going to kill her off... which means you can expect the Green Goblin to come into play with the third movie. Those familiar with the Spider-Man comics already predict how each movie will introduce one or two more villains and none of them will meet a demise like Venom, Doc Ock and Norman Osborn did in the prior films. One of the landmark story arcs was "The Sinister Six" with six of Spider-Man's deadliest foes joining forces to wreck havoc and with the recent success of The Avengers, we can only assume that the fourth or fifth movie in the new franchise will feature their own version of "The Sinister Six." So expect Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. The Lizard, to make a come back.

The Lone Ranger Auction
 On June 22, 2013, an auction of Lone Ranger merchandise, formerly owned by The Lone Ranger himself, Clayton Moore, brought in more than $62,000. The auction was conducted by Denver's Old West Show & Auction and included one of The Lone Ranger's white Stetson hats (which went for $7,000); a powder blue suit made exclusively for Moore by Western designer Nudie, boots and kerchief ($33,275); an Edward Bohlin Buscadero gun rig belt ($27,500); and a single silver bullet struck for the classic 1950s show ($500).

Clayton Moore's TV costume for sale.
The merchandise came directly from Moore's collection and were made available by his daughter, Dawn Moore. Clayton Moore, as anyone who met him at festivals during the 1980s can recall, had great respect for his fans. "His wishes were always for me to keep whatever was particularly meaningful to me and then offer the rest to be enjoyed by fans and collectors," Dawn remarked in a press release.

"It's been an honor to have been the steward of these treasures," the late actor's daughter, Dawn Moore, said in a public statement. "Now, in the hands of their new caretakers, new adventures can be added to my own sweet personal memories and the aura of Dad's spirit."

Moore died in 1999 after a heart attack in his Calabasas home and is best known for playing The Lone Ranger for four of the five television seasons. He continued making personal appearances as the character in the decades after the show ended.


The 24th Annual Live Old West Auction was open to the public. Honestly, I am surprised that the prices went for so low. But the next auction might surprise you... especially for the prices they went for.

Captain Kangaroo Auction
Captain Kangaroo premiered on television in 1955 and remained a staple for children for nearly thirty years. Bob Keeshan, a former Clarabelle the clown (from Howdy Doody), created the series and played the lead. After he passed away in 2004, his estate donated a few of his beloved hand puppets to the Smithsonian... including Mr. Moose who I fondly recall would, every week, trick the Captain into reading a poem or sign or something that would include the words "ping pong balls"... at which point a ton of ping pong balls would drop from the ceiling and fall on his head. Moose laughed his butt off... and as a kid, so did I.

Just a few months ago, the Nate D. Sanders auction house was commissioned to auction off all of Bob Keeshan's memorabilia -- including awards, bound volumes of scripts, costumes, props and more. That means fans of Captain Kangaroo had a good chance of owning a piece of television history. But be prepared for deep pockets.

The prices ranged from minimum bids of $300 to $207,019 (the most popular item turned out to be Keeshan’s “Dancing Bear” costume).

One person theorized that the reason for the high price was because Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose had already been donated to the Smithsonian and they, along with Dancing Bear, were the three most popular.

Captain Kangaroo's keys to his ''Treasure House'' from the opening of every episode in the first ten years of the show was purchased by the same Tennessee resident who bought the Dancing Bear costume. Millions of children eagerly anticipated the program's cherished daily ritual -- Captain Kangaroo unlocking the door to his house with these very keys and then hanging them up in their place on the wall. Iconic keyring features six different keys. The base featured a plaque that read, "October 3, 1955 / Original Keys to the Treasure House / They Opened a World of Enchantment / to Millions of America's Children / Presented by the Captain Kangaroo Staff to Bob Keeshan / October 3, 1980." Encased in a lucite block on a wooden base to an overall size of 8" x 11.5" x 2.25." There was heavy tarnishing and rubbing to the keys and keyring from 30 years of daily use. The lucite block detached from the base but rested securely upon it. There was a small chip to the rear right corner of the base. It was the most prized and constant symbol of the show and went for $27,971.

Three bound volumes of scripts containing the first 65 episodes of Captain Kangaroo went for $2,758. Three-volume set begins with the outline for the 3 October 1955 episode, the very first ever. Hand notations are scattered throughout the volumes. Volume 1 contains episodes 1 through 21; Volume 2 contains 22 through 43 and Volume 3 comprises episodes 44 through 65. Bound in black cloth boards with gilt letting, measuring 9'' x 11.25''. Near fine.

If you had loose cash on hand, for $300 you could have bought his contact sheets from 1955, six award certificates including one from Howdy Doody, four binders from 1956 to 1971 containing summaries of each and every broadcast, ten awards spanning 1957 to 1997, 33 publicity photos, and a bound set of scripts for the complete 1961 Emmy-Nominated season... all of which went for $300 each! His screen-worn Fire Captain Hat went for almost $5,000 (including buyer's premium) and the Navy Blue suit worn from 1955 to 1971, with the kangaroo pocket jacket, sold for $15,786.

Which makes me wonder if one person bought the majority of the memorabilia and if so... hopefully a Captain Kangaroo museum is in the works? We can only cross our fingers and hope.

The Ten Commandments...  for sale!
The Oswald Museum
Speaking of museums, the city of Irving, Texas, is restoring the home that Lee Harvey Oswald slept in the night before he assassinated President John F. Kennedy. The plan is to turn the house into a museum after a $100,000 effort is completed, a plan to return the structure to its 1963 look, both inside and out. Oswald usually stayed in a rented room in Dallas during the week and visited his estranged wife and children on the weekend in Irving.

The Ten Commandments For Sale
The fake stone tablets from the 1956 motion-picture, The Ten Commandments, sold for $60,000 at an auction held in Calabasas Hills, California. Drama, Action and Romance: The Hollywood Auction highlighted the fake tablets, perhaps one of the most famous props in the movie. For anyone curious, they are 23 inches tall by 12 inches wide and constructed of richly hewn fiberglass on wood backing. They were made to look irregular and chipped, as if carved by God himself.

1927 Metropolis three-sheet poster
A three-sheet German movie poster advertising Fritz Lang's 1927 science-fiction classic, Metropolis, went up for auction on December 13 at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It sold for $1.2 million. The sale was for the bankruptcy of collector Kenneth Schacter of Valencia, California, who bought the poster seven years ago for $690,000. The buyer was New Jersey collector Ralph De Luca. I've met Mr. De Luca at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention and he struck me as a really nice guy. If you have any rare posters (and I do mean really, really, really rare posters, drop him a line via e-mail.

Metropolis, by the way, is one of the ten best science-fiction movies ever made. Way ahead of its time, the film has been licensed through Kino-Lorber (formerly Kino on Video) and has been released multiple times on DVD in various formats. The film was originally incomplete -- edited versions have circulated for years. And every time new footage was found from the original theatrical release, the film was reissued on DVD... the expanded with each release. The lastest release is finally complete -- but only from a poor and scratchy print interlaced with prior restored footage. People can argue over which version is the best but if you have not seen the movie and want a good two-hour escapism without any distractions, catch the 2004 release on Amazon.com by CLICKING HERE. It's my favorite version and I suspect it will be yours, too.

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