Well, you’ve probably heard about the recent record breaking sale of Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man cover, which sold for $657,250.00 .  Now, that’s interesting, in and of itself, as that cover was published in January 1990, and isn’t considered as iconic as some of his other Spider-Man or Hulk covers.  (His Spider-Man #1 cover recently sold for $358,500.00 at the same auction.)

But here’s where it gets really interesting… from the auction description:

Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #328 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1990). Spidey demonstrates his awesome new powers on the Hulk, in this earth-trembling cover illustration by Todd McFarlane. Brimming with the raw energy that sky-rocketed McFarlane to the top of the industry, this cover illustration includes its original logo and masthead paste-up copy. The art has an image area of 10″ x 15″ and, aside from some light glue staining, it is in Excellent condition. Signed by the artist at the bottom. From the Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection.

According to the press release announcing the record sale:

“The auction is on track to break $9 million and become the single highest grossing comic and comic art auction in history,” said [Todd] Hignite [Vice President of Heritage Auctions]. “We’re thrilled with the results and especially thrilled for Martin Shamus, who had the foresight and good taste to acquire these pieces more than two decades ago.”

Martin Shamus operated [operates? No business name is mentioned.] a comics shop on Long Island, New York, and is the father of Gareb and Steven Shamus.

But… how many pieces has he recently placed for auction, and how much was realized?  Thankfully, a quick search on the phrase “From the Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection” lists 109 references on the Heritage Auction website.

  • Glenn Fabry Batman: Vengeance of Bane II Painted Cover Original Art (DC, 1995) $7,767.50
  • Carl Potts and Jim Lee Punisher War Journal #7 Wolverine Page 15 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $1,613.25
  • Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #319 Page 19 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $28,680.00
  • Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #319 Splash Page 1 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $28,680.00 [sic]
  • Dale Keown The Incredible Hulk #388 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1991). $11,352.50
  • Glenn Fabry Batman: Vengeance of Bane Special #1 First Appearance of Bane Painted Cover Original Art (DC, 1993). $33,460.00
  • Jim Lee Wolverine #27 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1990). $41,825.00
  • Mark Bagley and Sam de la Rosa Venom #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1992). $28,680.00
  • Rob Liefeld and Todd McFarlane The New Mutants #88 Cable, Blob, and Pyro Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $11,352.50
  • Mike Deodato Jr. Dark Avengers #11 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 2010). $1,553.50
  • Rich Buckler Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #113 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1986). $5,228.13
  • Mike Zeck and Mark Texeira The Punisher Magazine #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $15,535.00
  • John Byrne Wolverine #22 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1990). $3,346.00
  • Dale Keown and Bob McLeod X Factor Annual #5 Pages 60 and 61 Mighty Marvel Masterwork Pin-Up Original Art (Marvel, 1990). $717.00
  • Rob Liefeld and Bob Wiacek New Mutants #87 First Full Appearance of Cable Page 18 Original Art (Marvel, 1990). $2,868.00
  • Todd McFarlane Spider-Man #1 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1990). $358,500.00
  • Paul Ryan and Tom Palmer Avengers #330 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1991) $3,346.00
  • Bill Sienkiewicz Wolverine #10 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $31,070.00
  • Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi Fantastic Four #370 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1992). $2,270.50
  • John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Punisher: Hearts of Darkness #2 Page 37 Original Art (Marvel, 1991). $629.77
  • Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #313 Page 27 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $3,734.38
  • Sam Kieth Marvel Comics Presents #119 Splash Page 8 Original Art (Marvel, 1992). $5,377.50
  • Joe Quesada and Al Milgrom X-Factor #87 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1993). $4,182.50
  • Rob Liefeld X-Force #4 Splash Page 1 Original Art (Marvel, 1991). $1,314.50
  • Joe Madureira and Joe Rubinstein Excalibur #58 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1992). $3,053.23
  • Rick Leonardi and Whilce Portacio Uncanny X-Men #201 Page 20 Original Art (Marvel, 1986). $1,314.50
  • John McCrea Hitman #1 Batman Cover Original Art (DC, 1996). $13,145.00
  • Charles Vess Daredevil #247 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1987). $4,481.25
  • Rich Buckler and Ernie Chan Incredible Hulk #216 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1977). $17,925.00
  • Steve Lightle Marvel Comics Presents #112 Wolverine and Typhoid Mary Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1992). $1,434.00
  • Todd McFarlane Marvel Tales #235 Spider-Man and X-Men Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $56,762.50
  • Rob Liefeld New Mutants #100 Page 34 Original Art (Marvel, 1991). $657.25
  • Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #328 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1990). $657,250.00

These thirty-three items are all from the same auction:  2012 July 26-28 Vintage Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction- Beverly Hills #7063.  (More on that, below.)  The grand total: $1,389,106.26.  (Why the strange amounts?  Heritage Auctions requires whole amounts for bidding, but also converts foreign currency, so that might account for the cents above.)

Subtract Heritage Auctions 19.5% Buyer’s Premium (estimated: $270,875.72), and the owner earns a cool $1,118,,230.54

As Mr. Shamus stated in the auction catalog:

“I’ve cherished this great art immensely but I feel like this is the right way to do it. The biggest reason is that, right now, I’m alive and healthy and I want to give the proceeds to my grandchildren for their educations and enjoyment.”

Congratulations!  We know many fathers and grandfathers bequeath their collections to their children, but this is quite amazing!  Here’s an example of how the Fantasy Economy can fund some real dreams!


Also part of that auction was another retailer. The Doug Schmell/PedigreeComics.com Collection [click to see all lots offered] realized $3.94 Million in final results.  The top item?  The Pacific Coast pedigree X-Men #1 (Marvel, 1963) CGC NM/MT 9.8, which brought an incredible $492,938.  The cheapest item?  Daredevil #95 (Marvel, 1973) CGC NM/MT 9.8 Off-white to white pages, which sold for $203.15.

So, what did that entire auction bring in?  $10.47+ million. Not part of any particular group, Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1941) CGC FN/VF 7.0 Off-white to white pages sold for $89,625.00.  (That’s the first “Captain America #1” featuring Cap slugging Hitler.  Perhaps it would have sold for more if there weren’t so many other Captain America #1 issues out there.)


Meanwhile… Profiles In History hosted a Hollywood memorabilia auction a few days later.  The Hollywood Reporter has the highlights, but you should really scan through the lots…

  • Art and models from the Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline!
  • Concept art from Jurassic Park!
  • Terminator!
  • Star Wars props and masks!
  • Wilbur from “Charlotte’s Web”!
  • Vintage camera negatives from the Golden Age of Hollywood!  (Including Marilyn Monroe!)
  • Signed items galore, including an unsold letter from Bill Gaines!
  • Animation posters and marketing materials!
  • Edith Head costume sketches!
  • The Ten Commandments! (Including the Golden Calf!)  Ben Hur!
  • Scripts!  (Including one from “Tom and Jerry”!)
  • Title credits!
  • Davey and Goliath puppets!
  • The Rifleman’s rifle!
  • A Claymation Homer Simposn!
  • Spike’s Fangs!  A stake bat!
  • Vintage entertainment electronics!  Cameras!  Televisions!
  • James Montgomery Flagg painting John Barrymore!
  • Groucho Marx caricatures!
  • Steeve McQueen!
  • A signed copy of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” from the author and cast!
  • Bruce Lee personal nunchucks!
  • A French helmet from Monty Python and the Holy Grail!
  • Aliens!
  • Ghostbusters!
  • Doc Brown’s trenchcoat!
  • Roy Hobb’s baseball card!
  • Batman!
  • Star Trek!


  1. What’s the story? That some fanboys are 1%ers?
    I can only hope that this spills over into actual “art comics” and the most innovative among us get a good payday for being flavor of the moment.
    CF’s pages are worth way more than they are selling for.

  2. CF?

    The Hernandez Brothers are getting some good auction sales, but who knows who gets the money.

    There are different ways to value objects. Collectible auctions (and yes, almost all art falls under “collectible”, whether it’s renaissance masters or New Yorker cartoonists) provide some justification, that the original art from a comic book is valued both for the artistic and historic merit.

    Part of this post is the sheer desire of some of those objects… what would you bid on if you won the lottery? Or you can view it as a museum exhibition.

  3. The thing that bothered me about this is the total ignorance of the Heritage guys relative to an auction in June for a piece of Tintin cover art. It fetched 1.3 million euros when sold by Artcurial in Paris. It was the cover to the Tintin in America album from the early 1930’s.

  4. I am quite sure the Heritage Auction people are not ignorant of Artcurial. If you are bragging about your sales, it makes sense to ignore your European competitor that your clients largely don’t buy from. (If Artcurial’s online bidding was a little easier, Heritage might not be able to get away with ignoring them!)