A 75-year-old New York man who never threw anything out left an unexpected windfall for his grieving kin: a collection of vintage comics worth $2.5 million .

David Crippen started collecting comics when he was a kid and never let up, leaving behind some 11,000 comics in near mint condition for his son Tom to sift through. The younger Crippen suspected the trove might have some value, but was astonished to hear of its net worth.

Heritage Auctions has begun sellng the collection, and the first lot of 55o comics has sold for $717,000.

Perhaps the REAL hero of the story is Mrs. Crippen, who didn’t throw out her husbands comics.

Hoarding was just something that Davis Crippen did. Cynthia Crippen said she let her late husband amass his various collections as long as they didn’t spill into common spaces.

“The comics were always there but not in my sight,â€? said Mrs. Crippen, who works as a book indexer. “I ignored it. People would tell me I should sell them, but I knew it was important to him. I loved him; he was a wonderful man despite his eccentricities.â€?

The tale is not without skullduggery of a Wimbledon Green like-nature however:

While he was poring over his father’s comics, Tom Crippen noticed that, in such a methodical collection, vast numbers of copies were missing. The mystery began to unfold when the experts were called in. They told Mr. Crippen that, unbeknownst to the family, large numbers of his father’s comics had been in circulation since the early nineties. Many bore distinctive marks, including a D on the front cover that earned them the name “D collection.â€?

No one is sure how the comics went missing. However, some of the comics were traced to a New York dealer who said he’d bought them in the early nineties from a man who’d entered his store. The Crippen family discovered that the seller’s name was that of a contractor who’d been doing extensive renovations at the Crippen home at that time.

“A lot of the jewels were ripped off,â€? Tom Crippen said.

[Thanks to CS for the link!]


  1. This was in the Wall Street Journal about a week ago. I’m surprised this didn’t hit the blogosphere a little sooner. I’m not ashamed to say I’d never heard of “the d collection” before this.

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