Secret Comic Collection Of Deceased Man Nets 3.5 Million

Spider_Inferno | 23 February 2012 | 0 Comments   


A comic nerd could only dream that they’d stumble upon a vintage comic book collection so rare that it was worth over 3.5 Million bucks. That dream became a reality for the relatives of Martinsville, VA native Billy Wright, who recently passed away. Wright collected comics between the 1930′s and 40′s and massed of collection of over 350 valuable comics.

The collection went up for auction yesterday at Heritage’s Vintage Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction in New York City. The copy of Detective Comics #27 received the highest bid, selling for a little over $522,000. As for the other big draws of the day, Action Comics #1 sold for about $299,000, Batman #1 sold for about $275,000, and Captain America #2, a 1941 issue with Adolf Hitler on the cover, sold for about $114,000.

To give you an idea of how miraculous this find was, The Huffington Post talked to J.C. Vaughn, the associate publisher of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Vaughn said that most of the comics from the golden age, which occurred from the late 1930s into the 1950s, were donated to wartime paper drives, normal wear and tear, or victim to mothers throwing them away. “Of the 200,000 copies of Action Comics #1 produced, about 130,000 were sold and the about 70,000 that didn’t sell were pulped. Today, experts believe only about 100 copies are left in the world,” he said.

This really has its place in the history of great comic book collections,” said Lon Allen, the managing director of comics for Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which oversaw the auction in New York City

Most comics from the golden age — the late 1930s into the 1950s — fell victim to wartime paper drives, normal wear and tear and mothers throwing them out, said J.C. Vaughn, associate publisher of Overstreet. Of the 200,000 copies of Action Comics No. 1 produced, about 130,000 were sold and the about 70,000 that didn’t sell were pulped. Today, experts believe only about 100 copies are left in the world, he said. There were 227 of the collection’s comic books sold on Wednesday for $3,466,264.

The remaining comics, which are of lesser value, will be sold in online auctions Friday and Sunday and are expected to fetch about $100,000. Rorrer, 31, said he didn’t realize how valuable the comics were until months after returning home to Oxnard, Calif., when he mentioned them to a co-worker who mused that it would be quite something if he had Action Comics No. 1.

“I went home and was looking through some of them, and there it was,” said Rorrer, who then began researching the collection’s value in earnest. He reached out to his mother, Lisa Hernandez, who still had half the comics at her home in League City, Texas, that she intended to give to his brother in Houston. They then went through their boxes, checking comic after comic off the list. The find was a complete surprise for the family, and it is unclear if Ruby Wright was aware of the collection’s significance. Rorrer said he remembers her making only one fleeting reference to comics: Upon learning he and his brother liked comic books, she said she had some she would one day give them. He said his great uncle never mentioned his collection. Hernandez said her uncle went to The College of William and Mary and then had a long career as a chemical engineer for DuPont.

As a comic collector I’m a bit saddened that this collection was sold, but at least it was sold to collectors. I’d make sure my comics were passed down to my kids so they could continue the collection. I know just how much my comics mean to me, and I’m sure they meant a lot to Billy as well. Billy, I hope you rest easy knowing you’re family is 3.5 Million dollars richer.