That’s the end of an era. And, I suppose, one way to reduce your tax bill.
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum has been open in Baltimore for twelve years, displaying and exhibiting much of Steve Geppi’s personal collection of comics and comics-related ephemera. It is to close on Sunday.
Founder, sole owner, president and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, will make a multimillion-dollar donation of more than 3,000 items from his collection to The Library of Congress. It will include comic books, photos, posters, original comic book and comic strip art, newspapers, pinback buttons, and other rare, vintage pop culture artifacts including the original Plane Crazy storyboards that document the creation of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse.
Items are expected to go on display at the Library of Congress beginning this summer.
The collection also includes Big Little Books, Beatles memorabilia, a collection of flicker rings popularizing comic book characters and political figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., R.F. Outcault’s The Yellow Kid printing blocks, and the No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak Company.
Geppi’s Entertainment Museum will close its doors in June, with its last day open to the public this Sunday from 10am to 6pm, with free admission for the final day.
Geppi states that he met with with Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who Geppi knew from her time heading up the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. And he’s chosen to expose his collection to a wider audience.
The Collection will go on display this Summer at the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building, where it can be seen by millions of visitors.
“The Library of Congress is home to the nation’s largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings,” said Hayden. “The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide.”
The Library already holds more than 140,000 issues of approximately 13,000 comic book titles, dating back to the 1930s. The collection includes many firsts and some of the most important comics in history, including the first comic book sold on newsstands, the first comics featuring Batman and other iconic characters, such as All Star Comics #8, the first appearance of Wonder Woman. The Library also holds a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the origin and first appearance of Spider-Man, along with the original artwork that Steve Ditko created for the issue. According to The Library, The Geppi Collection expands and enriches this strong foundation and fills gaps in specific issues.
“I’ve been blessed to make my living from something I love for decades, and further blessed to be able to share these treasures with others. The idea of how many more people will get to see this material under the auspices of The Library of Congress invigorates my mind with a multitude of possibilities. I definitely have other plans for the future as well. Besides, it’s not like I’m going to stop collecting,” said Geppi.
He will also be considering other donations to the Library of Congress in the future. “I view this newly established connection to the Library of Congress as the beginning of a long-term relationship,” said Geppi.