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Pop culture rarities line up for their stellar auction debuts at Hake’s Nov. 14-15 auction

Pop culture rarities line up for their stellar auction debuts at Hake’s Nov. 14-15 auction

John Byrne original pen-and-ink cover art for ‘Action Comics’ #588, published by DC Comics May 1987.depicts Superman in space with Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Signed by Byrne. Size: 11.25in x 17in. Shown here with actual comic (not included). Estimate: $20,000-$35,000

Sunday, March 31, 1968 church program book from Washington Cathedral, signed by the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who delivered his last Sunday sermon at that service.. Possibly MLK’s last public signature. JSA LOA. Estimate: $35,000-$50,000

Mego Iron Man action figure from ‘World’s Greatest Super Heroes’ line, copyright 1975 Marvel Comic Group. Intact blister card. AFA-graded 75 Ex+/NM. Only graded example in AFA Population Report. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

‘The Bat Man’ card, one of 24 cards in Wolverine’s 1936 ‘Strange True Stories’ gum card set. Extremely rare full set, only the second of its type offered by Hake’s in 56 years. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

Darth Vader action figure collector’s case, 1982 first-shot prototype for Kenner’s 1983 ‘Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi’ toyline. Metallized gold finish over white plastic. Archival case. AFA-encapsulated & graded 75 Ex+/NM. CIB LOA. Estimate $10,000-$20,000

Featured: Original comic book art, artist/author-signed comic books, Star Wars, Transformers, Jackie Robinson card, MLK-signed last Sunday sermon book

There’s no way of knowing if the 1936 Bat Man gum card had an influence on DC Comics’ Batman, but it definitely pre-dates the superhero by a full three years.”

— Alex Winter, President of Hake’s Auctions

YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, USA, November 6, 2023 / — Two things have proved to be true with each successive pop culture auction hosted by Hake’s: bidder engagement has increased over the previous sale, and collectibles once thought to have been apocryphal have surfaced to prove that they do, indeed, exist. All indications point to that trend continuing at Hake’s November 14-15 auction, which is packed with the elusive memorabilia today’s collectors desire but rarely see in the marketplace.

Perennially a strong category for Hake’s, political memorabilia will open the 1,909-lot sale, starting with an item of great historical importance. Lot #1 is a March 31, 1968 church program book from Washington Cathedral, signed by the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who delivered his last Sunday sermon at that service. Four days later, Dr King lost his life to an assassin’s bullet. The autograph was obtained by a then-18-year-old college student who went on to become a Washington lawyer. He treasured the memento for 55 years before making the decision to part with it. According to Hake’s research, no other MLK-autographed item ever to come to auction was signed at a later point in Dr King’s life. A framed presentation, the signed book comes with a JSA LOA and a letter from the consignor detailing the circumstances leading up to his fortuitous encounter with the civil rights icon. Estimate: $35,000-$50,000

An 1856 hand-painted folk art parade banner designed in Spencerian style promotes the ultimately unsuccessful Republican presidential/VP candidates John C Fremont and William L Dayton. Hand-inked by artist FW Wells onto two vertical sections of unglazed cotton joined at the center, it is attached to a horizontal wooden pole with 31 handmade square nails. A sizable textile measuring 57 by 77inches, this pre-Civil gem is estimated at $20,000-$35,000.

More than 400 CGC and CBCS-certified comic books will be offered, from Golden Age to Modern-era issues. Around 75 are from the Duke Caldwell signed comic book collection, described by Hake’s president, Alex Winter as “unprecedented – no one has ever had a collection like this one. Each issue has been autographed by someone significant to the book’s production.” The top prize is a Marvel Amazing Spider-Man #667 (Oct. 2011) comic book with cover art by Gabriele Dell’Otto. Issued as a 1:100 retailer incentive variant, it is one of only an estimated 200 in circulation, but it enters another realm of rarity due to the fact that its front cover is boldly signed by both the story’s author Dan Slott and interior artist Humberto Ramos. The CBCS-verified and graded 9.8 NM/Mint book is expected to make $20,000-$35,000.

A 1984 original first printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, which introduced the reptilian crimefighters in comic-book form, has a CGC 9.2 NM signature and Turtle head sketch by co-creator Kevin Eastman on its cover. This key Copper Age comic had an estimated print run of only 3,000 issues. Estimate: $20,000-$35,000

More than 150 lots of original comic art include daily and Sunday strips, comic book covers and pages; VHS cover art, Disney animation and more. A John Byrne original pen-and-ink cover art for Action Comics #588 (DC Comics, May 1987) portrays Superman in space alongside Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Signed and inscribed by Byrne, the 11.25- by 17-inch classic-cover artwork is in excellent condition and estimated at $20,000-$35,000.

After 56 years, Hake’s specialists still can’t say they’ve “seen it all.” That’s because in just about every one of their sales, something extraordinary turns up that has never been seen before in a Hake’s auction. Several notable examples rise to the top layer of the November 14-15 auction, the first being a 1936 Wolverine “Strange True Stories” gum card set. It’s complete with 24 colorful cards including “The Bat Man,” who is shown flying with bat-like wings. “There’s no way of knowing if the gum card had an influence on DC Comics’ Batman, but it definitely pre-dates the superhero by a full three years,” said Winter. PSA-graded and with provenance from the John Grossman collection, the set is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

Other noteworthy gum card sets include a 1940 Gum, Inc. R145 Superman set of 72 cards, $10,000-$20,000; and a fully PSA-graded 1970 Topps test set of 55 cards based on the popular country music and variety show Hee Haw, estimated at $5,000-$10,000.

Another Hake’s first appearance comes in the form of a 1964 music speaker that recalls Glenn Strange’s portrayal of Frankenstein’s Monster in 1940s horror films. Designed as a functional piece, the creepy disembodied head could be plugged into any music source, including a transistor or car radio. Amazingly, the complete and all-original monster curiosity retains its original pictorial box. It could easily scare up a winning bid of $10,000-$20,000.

An extremely rare 1948 Captain Marvel play cape of silkscreened linen faithfully reproduces the design that Fawcett’s “World’s Mightiest Mortal” wore in comics. It is an actual finished piece, but the design never saw mass production. In fact, it is the only known example and is being offered for the first time on day two of Hake’s sale. In Fine/VF condition and with provenance from the collection of Harry Matetsky – one of the greatest collectors and historians the pop culture hobby has ever known – it is guided by a $5,000-$10,000 estimate.

Amongst baseball memorabilia collectors, few names garner as much respect as that of the immortal Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. There will never be a lack of interest in Robinson memorabilia, especially for rarities like the 1953 Our Sports magazine subscription-incentive baseball card that has his picture on the obverse side. In that photo, which is the same one used for the colorized 1953 Topps card that became #1 of a classic set, Robinson is shown in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform with his facsimile signature across the chest. The only known example, the card is accompanied by a rare issue of Our Sports #2, the CGC-graded 2.5 Good+ card is estimated at $5,000-$10,000.

One of only a handful of its type known to exist, an “Iron Man” action figure is from Mego’s “World’s Greatest Super Heroes” line. With a 1975 Marvel Comic Group copyright and contained in a blister card, it is AFA-graded 75 Ex+/NM and is the only graded example in the AFA Population Report. It will make its Hake’s debut with a $10,000-$20,000 estimate.

More than 250 Star Wars items will cross the auction block, most of them third-party graded. They include an impressive, nearly 3ft long 1978 display header that advertises the first 12 “Star Wars Action Figures,” $20,000-$35,000; a quirky 1988 Uzay (Turkish) Darth Vader action figure on blister card, $10,000-$20,000; and a 1982 metallized gold-finish Darth Vader action figure collector’s case. A first-shot prototype that Kenner produced for their 1983 “Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi” toyline, the figural case is AFA-encapsulated and graded 75 Ex+/NM. With provenance from the Tad Moore collection, it is expected to reach $10,000-$20,000.

From an outstanding 50-lot selection of Transformer toys – a category that has “caught fire” over the past couple of years – comes a highly desirable 1985 Hasbro Series 2 Jetfire display box containing an Autobot Air Guardian Jetfire with the desirable “Trademark” logo. In an archival case, it is AFA-graded 90 NM+/Mint and estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

Hake’s Nov. 14-15, 2023 online auction is now open for bidding. For a free printed catalog or additional information on any item in the sale, call 866-404-9800 (toll-free) or 717-434-1600; or email [email protected]. View the full catalog online and sign up to bid at

Alex Winter
Hake’s Auctions
+1 866-404-9800
email us here

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