Monday, August 2, 2010
Comic Book Fan Selling Rare Mint Copy of Batman No. 1
A longtime Alaska comic book buff is selling one of the gems in his vast collection, a rare copy of Batman No. 1 published 70 years ago.
Mike Wheat of Fairbanks has put the 1940 comic book on the auction block through Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, where it's expected to fetch more than $40,000. A live auction has been set for Thursday.
Wheat, a retired city wastewater treatment plant operator, said he considers the Batman comics an investment. He said it feels like the right time to sell.
"I just decided it's time for someone else to have it," he said.
The Batman No. 1 comic book was discovered after local businessman Ron Jaeger bought an old dresser at a garage sale in the early 1970s, then kept it in storage for a few years. When Jaeger finally brought it out, he noticed one of the drawers didn't slide easily.
Three comic books and a few old issues of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner were tucked beneath the drawer and a quarter-inch piece of plywood. The haul included a copy of Batman No. 1, Superman No. 17 and an old issue of a Red Ryder Western comic.
Wheat bought the comic books from him for $300.
The auction house has handled many copies of Batman No. 1, but Wheat's copy is notable because the low humidity and cool temperatures in Fairbanks have kept the paper in excellent condition, said Barry Sandoval, director of comic auctions and operations at Heritage. Old comics were printed on cheap newsprint, but the pages in Wheat's copy remain white and crisp.