Thursday, August 2, 2012

OPINION: McFarlane cover sells for $657,250 record!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 328 cover by Todd McFarlane
So this is the game-changer--the one that everyone will point to when the question is asked, "When did this little hobby of ours turn into a full on investment portfolio?"  Heritage Auctions, on July 26, 2012, sold this to Metropolis Comics owner, Stephen Fishler.  I feel it's fair for me to discuss the current owner since it was mentioned for all to see on McFarlane's blog.  At first glance this appeared to me to be an insane purchase, by a collector, that was never going to see a return on his investment.  But Fishler is a prudent buyer--I have seen him pick up many quality pieces over the years at prices that are almost either slighty below or substantially below market.  What could be the reason for Fishler's sudden change in purchasing strategy?  Maybe he's got a buyer waiting in the wings to give him an even better deal.  But one thing that occurs to me is that Fishler, over the years, has put together a museum worthy collection of OA originals and their worth only increases as the market moves up in value on the heels of such an expensive item selling at public auction.  Congratulations on making history, Stephen! Link to image at Heritage: http://tinyurl.com/c3exped

25 comments:

  1. Don't forget Vincent ! they are co-owners ;)

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  2. You're right, I should have mentioned Vinnie. Next big Metropolis purchase, Vinnie gets the spotlight. :)

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  3. The story I'm most interested in is: Who were the under bidders?

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  4. Hard to know if it was one...or more. Someone who was actually present at the auction might have been able to tell if it was a fight between two bidders or if more were involved.

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  5. BENNY wrote: "I predict a Byrne X-Men cover will be the first to break the 1 M mark."

    Could be, Benny. But I'll bet if a nice Diko Spider-Man pops out it'll be the cover to go to a million!

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  6. First time I read that it was Fishler who purchased the piece. Considering his previous track record, that makes a already shocking final bid even more shocking. As mentioned, maybe he has it pre sold, or purchased it for someone who for some reason did not want to personally bid? Considering his collection, generally speaking, the price of escalating OA can only benefit him.

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  7. Not a fan of McFarlane's art, sorry, so this one does absolutely nothing for me . . .

    Terry Doyle

    http://www.comicartfans.com/GalleryDetail.asp?GCat=1865

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  8. So you're saying that this was money well spent? :)

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  9. I'd prefer the cash to the art ;)

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  10. Knowing Fisher, the only reason he would go public with a sale like this is because he is sitting on other examples of Todd's work, or he is building a market for art, so that he can start selling to his client list of investors as a viable alternative to comics.

    He is not in it for the love of the medium or piece, with Fishler it is only ever about the money (either short or long term)

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  11. I don't think that's true. I think Stephen does love the art. But he has a lot of it and I'm sure will eventually sell certain things at the right price.

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  12. Just about anyone owning a decent OA collecion, or doing OA auctions, will probably see some benefit from this sale, sometime in the future. And, while most bids, at most auctions, I beleive, are legit, who's to say what other motives one may have for bidding up that cover so extraordnarily high. Especially one noted for usually being so frugal. Market manipulation? Certainly, the explanation by VZ sounds like mostly BS, imho. They bidded the cover so high just because they like Mcfarlanes art so much? Come on now! If that is the sole reason, then I wish I had that kind of FU money. Maybe a side deal, or some sort of kickback of some sort? Cooperation between parties who can both/all benefit? I want to sress, I am not suggesting that is what happened here, just that it can be a remote possibility.

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  13. I think it's very possible that Metropolis bought this for a third party or that their intent is to trade it for a stronger deal already in place for a bidder that wants to be unknown. It does not seem to me like this was a buy for their collection either. Time will tell.

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    1. I find the entire sale of the McFarlane ASM #328 fishy (sorry Mr. Fishler).

      There are literally hundreds of pieces of comic art in existence, far more historical, and more importantly, BETTER, than this piece! How in heaven's name could it be worth more than double than the issue# 1 from the same auction ???

      If this auction hasn't been staged, then I have morlocks living under my house !!!

      I also don't buy the story that Fishler or Metropolis were buying it for a third party, because "he" or "she" wanted to remain anonymous. Since when is it that Heritage are allowed to reveal the identity of their auction winners?

      By publicly bragging to the media that this piece sold for a world record, benefits Heritage exactly what they want, more imbeciles spending ludicrous amounts of money on an artform that is no longer to be enjoyed by the afficiandos who read the books and love the art. It is purely for rich investors now.

      A sad, sad day for all comic art lovers, as anybody with ink on paper will want a king's ransom for it now.

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  14. I agree, probably the most likely scenario. But the next question is, that being the case, why wouldn't the eventual owner just bid the cover himself? Even assuming he/she did not have all the cash in hand, if it was a trade deal, then that couldn't that individual just have consigned his/her ownings to Hertitages next auction?

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  15. Hard to answer that. Maybe the collector has books he wants to trade and felt he could get a better deal with Metropolis. Maybe Metropolis is fronting the collector the financing at a better rate than Heritage would. Just speculation. There could be many reasons.

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  16. Please sign your. name at the end of your post so I know who I'm talking to.

    Thanks!

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  17. To me it defies logic that Steve and Vince passed on the ASM #1 and went full tilt on this cover. The only answer is that they must've had some third party private deal lined up. The next phase will be the announcement of the monumental figure they flipped it for. That's months from now. Right now we're in the "let's soak this for all the publicity we can" phase.

    --Hans

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  18. I think that's right on, Hans. That's where I'd place my bets.

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  19. Hans,

    ASM 1? You mean Adjectiveless Spider, right?

    Mike

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  20. I think this is a business deduction for Metropolis Comics (much like Bill Woo's X-Men 1 art purchase)so it is not as expensive as it would be for us simple OA collectors. Nevertheless, the price for a modern piece of comic art is very impressive! It may mean that comic art has attained serious art status. We should be both happy and unhappy at this prospect. Having said this, does anyone know who purchased the Dark Knight splash whose record this broke?

    Ted

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  21. I think the person that bought that splash wants to keep it private...or it would have been posted. :)

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  22. I must admit that I was more dubious about the Dark Knight splash. I thought that you could sell the SM 1 cover next year for the same price or more (my test of not overpriced art). I didn't think that to be the case for the DK splash at the time it sold. When I told this to my non-OA collector friends, they said, think of who that sale would benefit the most and you're likely to find your answer. Of course, I think that the McFarlane ASM cover would also not pass that test.

    This is a nice blog, Glen especially for those of us who cannot attend conventions on a regular basis. It allows us to remain in the loop. By the way, I still have the cover I bought from you in 2001 (Captain America 128 by Marie Severin).

    Ted

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  23. Thanks so much, Ted. I'm doing my best to keep it lively and informative .
    I love that cover! Actually, if you could send me a scan of that cover I would appreciate it. I never saved one.

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