He's no Superman
but Archie Andrews, the lead character of the Archie comic books, proved he can hold his own on the auction floor. At Heritage Auctions' Feb. 24-25 Signature Vintage Comics & Comics Art Auction
a CGC-certified 8.5 copy of Archie Comics #1 brought a world record price of $167,300 (including 19.5% Buyer's Premium). It's a record for Archie but is also the highest price ever paid for a non-superhero comic book. It sold to a West Coast collector who has been collecting Archie comic books for decades and was looking for a copy of Archie Comics #1 in top condition.
"Archie may have a ways to go to catch the likes of Superman and Batman, his Golden Age counterparts," said Lon Allen, Managing Director of Comics at Heritage, "but you can bet that collectors sat up and took notice when this comic brought that price. This amount exceeds the priciest of Spidey and Hulk comic books we've sold, which brought in excess of $125,000 each."
There's more in store for Archie Comics. Jon Goldwater, CEO of Archie Comics, recently gave an interview
about the future of the brand saying he wants to make Archie and the gang a reflection of what's going on with kids today in high school. The comic introduced a gay character, an interracial romance and other changes. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that Archie Comics is also working with the legendary Stan Lee, co-creator of most of Marvel's superheroes, on a secret project. Keeping the brand in the public eye is also good for the value of the earlier comic books.
The Heritage auction reached a total of $4,270,483, with more than 2,375 bidders vying for 1,262 lots. More of the original artwork of Scrooge McDuck, done by his creator, Carl Barks,was also up for sale. Barks' Business as Usual, 1976, a painting of Uncle Scrooge in his massive money bin went for $179,250 and other Bark's paintings including also sold well.
Other items that sold well included R. Crumb's original art for the two-page story, "Kitchen Kut-Outs," from Zap Comics #1 which went for $47,800. The five original production proof pages
from Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of "The Bat-Man" in 1939, found in 1975, in an old steamer trunk destined for the landfill brought $69,011 altogether, with the proof for Page 3 – the first time we see "The Bat-Man" – bringing the most at $19,120.