Last week, Dallas-based Heritage auction brought in a total of $3.8 million in the first portion of a four-part auction series dedicated to sales of Comic memorabilia and original artwork. The house achieved top prices for works by Frank Frazetta and Lee Ellias alongside recognizable comic titles during the sale.
Among the leading lots of the sale was Frank Frazetta’s painting, The Princess of Mars (1970), which sold for $1.2 million. A seminal example from the artist’s illustration career of the 1970s and 1980s, another version of the work was originally made for Edgar Rice Burroughs’ publication of the same title in 1970. It is the fourth Frazetta piece sold by Heritage Auctions in the last four years to achieve over the $1 million price point.
“Frank Frazetta always felt that his art transcended genres,” said Nadia and Joe Mannarino, Co-Heads of Heritage Auctions’ East Coast Comic Books and Original Comic Art category. “This is the rare case when the second version is even better than the published one” said Barry Sandoval, Heritage Auctions’ Vice President.
Frazetta has seen high prices in recent years. A 1990 work by the artist, Death Dealer 6, sold for $1.79 million at a May 2018 auction at Heritage. The following year, Frazetta’s 1969 piece titled Egyptian Queen sold for $5.4 million, setting a new record more than three times higher than the 2018 price. It is the most valuable work of American comic book art to be sold at auction.
Elsewhere in the sale, Lee Elias’ cover of Chamber of Chills No. 19, published in 1953, sold for $174,000. That was almost double its pre-sale estimate. John Buscema and George Klein’s page for The Avengers No. 58 sold for $90,000. It was completed two years after Black Panther’s debut in the 1966 issue of Fantastic Four No. 52.
For years, Heritage has remained a leader in the collectibles market and in online sales. The Comics & Comic Art Department at Heritage has generated staggering annual sales in recent years. In 2019, the department sold a total of $79.3 million, up over 20 million from 2018, which brought in a then-record setting $58.5 million.