Rare comic books could fetch $80,000 at Edmonton auction
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012 1:02PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012 1:35PM EDT
Comic book collectors will have all eyes on Edmonton, Alta. this month, when 2,000 rare items will go on sale in a private auction at the end of July.
From three coveted entries in the 1960s series, “The Fantastic Four,” to the first issue of Marvel Comics’ “The Avengers,” the mint finds included in this auction surfaced recently thanks to an anonymous collector.
The collection dates back decades and includes more than 6,000 valuable items.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the secured storage room with these books just sniffing them. They have that old book smell you don’t experience that as often as you would like,” said Jay Bardyla, the co-owner of Happy Harbor Comics.
The Edmonton-based comic book shop acquired the collection, which is now being called one of the most extensive and impressive comic book collections in Western Canada.
The upcoming sale is expected to fetch as much as $80,000 from bidders.
“We’ve contacted a small handful of select customers through the store -- people that we know who will be very interested in these books,” Bardyla told CTV Edmonton reporter Brenna Rose on Tuesday.
These invite-only bidders also have the money it will take to acquire these auction items, which will include entries from the 1960s Marvel Comics creation, “The Hulk.”
“Some of these books will range in the several thousands per book,” said Bardyla.
Collectors, however, are unlikely to complain.
“This is a chance to own a bit of history,” Bardyla told CTVNews.ca on Wednesday.
Many of these unusual finds have also inspired successful Hollywood movie franchises.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” -- the latest entry into the Spider-Man franchise -- netted a whopping US$7.5 million on July 3, 2012. That sum came from moviegoers who only attended midnight screenings on the film’s opening day.
Since its release in May of 2012, Joss Whedon’s film version of “The Avengers” has earned more US$1.4 billion worldwide.
Remarkably, that success began with just 12 cents of yellowed paper and the heroic tales printed in The Avengers” comic books decades ago.
However, amassing those tales of superheroes has not always been an easy task for collectors.
“It’s not unusual to see comic book collections that include 5,000 to 10,000 items. But those collections are usually very scattered,” Bardyla told CTVNews.ca.
By contrast, the Canadian collector behind this upcoming Edmonton auction spent his youth amassing a collection filled with complete runs of comic books.
“This person bought few titles as a kid and filled them in as he grew up,” said Bardyla.
“It’s exciting and rare to see a collection like this that is so complete,” he said.
Bardyla himself could not contain his excitement when he learned that this collection included the first and fourth entries in “The Avengers” comic book series.
“I’ve never seen a No. 4 before in “The Avengers” series. I may have to bid on it myself,” said Bardyla.
The official date for the Happy Harbor Comics auction has yet to be released, but Bardyla is giving collectors a clue.
“We haven’t finished appraising everything yet, but the auction will likely happen in the last weekend of July,” said Bardyla.
Two thousand more items from this anonymous collection will also go to auction in six months’ time.
“The owner’s goal is to move as many comic books as possible,” said Bardyla.
“We’re starting with 2,000 items, and then we’ll move on to the next batch. Hopefully, this will be a win-win for everyone,” he said.
With a report from CTV Edmonton’s Brenna Rose.