For Sale: The World's Best Collection Of Silver Age Marvel Comics
The vintage collecting community has been salivating this morning as word has spread that Doug Schmell of pedigreecomics.com, widely known as one of the most avid collectors of high-grade Silver Age Marvel comics in the world, is selling his painstakingly-assembled collection. Most of the comics in the collection are the highest graded copies (or tied for highest graded) on the CGC census. Many copies are from the top Silver Age pedigrees, such as the Pacific Coast, Curator, and White Mountain collections. Heritage Auctions has just announced that Schmell's collection will be auctioned off during its July 26-27 Beverly Hills Signature Auction.
I've been admiring some of the highlights of this collection for years in the "vault" section of Schmell's website, and it's truly amazing to consider that the quality of the collection extends through complete Silver Age runs of several titles -- and that it's now all coming up for auction at once.
There are a couple of things worth noting when calling this the best SA Marvel collection out there -- Schmell sold off his Amazing Spider-Man run some time ago, and I see that Hulk #1-6 are also not listed,among other things, so it's not a complete SA Marvel set. Schmell also traded one of the crown jewels of his collection -- the census-topping Fantastic Four #1 CGC 9.6 -- to well-known collector/dealer Tom Brulato in 2008 for a Fantastic Four #1 CGC 9.4 plus cash. So that mind-bogglingly nice copy, one of the single mostdesirableSilver Age comics in the world, will not be part of this sale (though presumably the FF #1 CGC 9.4 he got in trade will be).
Even with those qualifications, this is an unprecidented group of high-grade SA Marvels:
The gem of the collection? Virtually impossible to choose just one, but even with Avengers-related comics scorching hot right now, the X-Men #1 CGC 9.8 does stand out. A major Silver Age key in 9.8? Wow. As for the rest of the collection, if you're a dedicated auction watcher like me, you're going to want to follow along as Heritage adds each comic into their listings for the auction. Bleeding Cool has already noted some of the original art highlights from this auction, a collection from Martin Shamus which includes Todd McFarlane's cover for Spider-Man #1, so it looks like another blockbuster event for Heritage.
Or.... you could buy the TPBs/reprints of the exact same issues and have thousands and thousands of dollars to spare to buy all sorts of other great comics.
I just purchased a few old sci-fi pulp mags for my nephew, all which include first-ever printings of Philip K.Dick stories, and of the two (of 5) I've so far received, they're in even better condition than described. And, I gotta tell ya, it reminded me of how cool it is to have a piece of history in your collection. There's nothing like that.
I even went back to my own comics, read a DD #82 that I have and Amazing Spidey #90 (Death of Capt. Stacy) -- the great thing about Marvel comics is how they really reflect what's happening in pop-culture and counter-culture at the time. And the ads and letter pages really add to that. You don't quite get all of that in a TPB. Some of it...not all of it. =]