When I hear the name ‘Sothebys’, I tend to think of the mega-rich buying famous paintings or jewels that empires have fought over. Today they’re selling DC Complete: The Ian Levine Collection.
That’s right; Sotheby’s are selling a comic book collection.
Can you imagine how impressive it must be? Well, Sotheby’s are calling it the Holy Grail of comic book collections. There are over 40,000 comics in it, and this includes every comic book released by DC from 1935 to 2014.
There are complete runs of Action Comics and Detective Comics, of Superman and Batman. It has the first appearance of Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and the Justice League.
The collector is the producer and DJ Ian Levine, the same fan who helped return missing Doctor Who episodes to the BBC’s archives.
Richard Austin, Head of Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts Department in New York, told press;
… Levine’s collection embodies the passion and fandom that has defined comics culture for generations, which today is best encapsulated not through printed issues but popular superhero films that regularly break box office records. Featuring some of the most valuable individual books as well as extremely rare promotional issues, the Levine Collection includes all the DC heroes that are among the most recognizable and versatile pop culture touchstones in the world.”
The collection nearly didn’t happen. According to Sotheby’s, there was a time in the 80s (pre-internet) in which Levine thought he’d never complete the set and so sold his rare comics. A change of mind was costly as he had to repurchase them at a 50% premium.
How much might this collection be worth now? Well, in 2014 a single issue of Action Comics #1 sold for $3.2 million and before that, in 2010, Detective Comics #27 sold for $1.075 million.
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