Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If you had any doubt about The Flash’s superiority, you now stand corrected: Showcase #4 brings almost $180K and Chicorel brings $600K+

May 26, 2009
Posted by Noah

I know I had waxed an awful lot on last week’s Comic Auction, especially about the Showcase #4 – featuring the single greatest super hero in the history of the known universe, and even those we don’t know about, the one and only Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen – and about the astounding Chicorel Collection, but as the results for the auction, across the board, shows, these were and are indeed amazingly good comic books. In fact, the Showcase #4 that I coveted so dearly is now the single most-expensive Silver Age book in history as a determined and erudite collector paid almost $180,000 for it, including the BP. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: That’s one big matzo ball.

As impressed as I was by the price for Showcase #4 – and as proud as I am to point to my lifelong love of The Flash – the true heart and soul of the auction was The Chicorel Collection, which realized more than $600,000 all told. It was an astounding thing to watch made even better by the presence of Ralph Chicorel and two of his sons who were in Dallas for the event. I sat behind them, and chatted with them throughout the first 70-odd lots of the auction and was impressed with the level-headedness of Ralph and his sons, both of whom clearly love their old man and were thrilled to be part of the event with him.

Ralph, for his part, was quite relaxed and sanguine. Here he was, almost 70 years after buying these comics off the stand and putting them away watching a frenzied buying public pay tens of thousands of dollars for his collection. He seemed well at ease with the proceedings and quite happy with the results. I know it was 70 years in the making, but as the first part of the auction concluded and I had to leave to go finish my daily work, I couldn’t help but clap Ralph on the shoulder and say:

“Not bad for an afternoon’s work, huh?”

Not bad at all, and it really couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of folks. For my part, this is one of the best things about being the Media and PR Liaison at this company. I get to witness these great auctions and spend the time with the consignor – in this case a man who has lived an excellent life so far, has a loving family and is able to watch the fruits of his labor come to auction and quantify them with great prices. It’s the cherry on top for Ralph, who was a successful businessman and a way more successful family man. Yes, the money is a sizable amount for the collection, but the obvious love and respect of his children – and their excitement at the event – made it way better. I’ve seen many times when hardcore collectors sell their stuff for big money but the family doesn’t care much, because they know nothing about the collection, or don’t care, or maybe have no close relatives to revel in the respective glory of the accomplishments.

There were plenty of records set in this auction, including the most ever for an Underground comic – Zap #1 at more than $13,000 – and for Modern Age – Wolvie #1 in 10.0 Gem went for more than $15,000, which is gratifying to see given how good a comic book it is – but before you decide yourself to dig out your 1980s comics and inundate Heritage with your own comics, the ones you are absolutely sure have to be 10.0s themselves, remember the Wolvie #1 is the exception to the rule, not the norm. Do us all a favor and dig out the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s comics and inundate us with those. The chances are way better that they actually would have some value, and way better that Heritage would be willing to take a look. Store your ‘80s and 1990s comics away for another 60 years – like Ralph Chicorel did with his – then maybe we can talk.

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-Noah Fleisher

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