The "Aloha Copy" of a rare Batman comic book brought in close to $660,000 at an auction in Dallas Thursday, the second highest ever paid for a comic book offered at public auction.
Dubbed the "Aloha Copy" due to its previous ownership by an anonymous Hawaii consignor, a certified original-print copy of a Detective Comics No. 27 from 1939, which contains Batman’s first appearance, sold for $657,250 through Heritage Auctions.
The record price of $1,075,500 was set in February when a copy of the same Batman comic book sold through a New York City auction website.
(At the same Thursday event held by Heritage Auctions, an "Arctic Circle" copy of Detective Comics No. 27 from a collector in Fairbanks, Alaska, fetched $55,269.)
The "Aloha Copy" was originally bought in 1974 for $1,200 from a local bookstore and was traced back to its original sale for a mere 10 cents from a local newsstand in 1939.
"It’s safe to say that the astonishment … people felt at the first price the consignor paid for has now been replaced by the astonishment at what a smart investment it was for him," said Barry Sandoval, director of operations of the comics division of Heritage. "There are very few of this particular comic around, possibly less than 100, and very few others that can even approach the condition of this one."
With interest in the "Aloha Copy" high, thanks in part to its display at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, pre-sale bidding was at $500,000 when it closed. The book opened at that price at the Thursday auction. Noah Fleisher, the auction house’s director of public relations, said via e-mail that "it immediately went up another increment via the Internet, to $550,000, and stayed there for a minute more as the auctioneer waited until all interested parties had a chance to think it over."
"He then hammered it home at $550,000, which comes to the $657,250 total when the 19.5 percent buyer’s premium is put on the piece, which is a fee the buyer pays to the auction house and which is always included in the price of the an object sold at auction (as reported by any reputable auction house.)"
"This is one of the few times I’ve talked to the winning bidder and the consignor of a lot on the same day," said Sandoval via e-mail. "Both were thrilled, so that’s a win-win situation in my book!"
One thing the anonymous Hawaii consignor did say earlier was that the money gained from the comic book sale would help pay for his son’s college education.