Tuesday, May 3, 2016


About three years back I did a post about vellum covers, here...http://originalcomicartlocator.blogspot.com/2013/02/whats-issue-with-vellum-anyway.html

At the time I was wondering whether or not vellum covers still had the negative stigma for purchase they had in years past.  Historically collectors had to be cautious when considering acquiring a vellum cover at a premium price...even if it was a highly desirable cover.  A majority of the collecting community would not purchase art if it was on vellum and this was clearly reflected in the resale purchase price.

Recently, however, some high profile vellum covers have come to market and seem to defy the collectible rule to stay away at inflated prices.  I wonder why this is.  Has vellum found respect with the collecting base?  Or has new blood entered the market that doesn't worry about this old rule?

In November, 2014, Heritage Auctions sold this Wilson/Romita AVENGERS 118 cover, below, for $65,725--certainly a record for a vellum cover--most figured it being the best cover from the coveted Avengers/Defenders War storyline was the reason it overcame the vellum handicap.

But I'm not so sure--just nine months later, the AVENGERS 123 cover, below, also on vellum by Romita came to market at Heritage and sold for $35,850. This cover does not have the same pedigree as the 118 cover in terms of importance--yet I would argue that it way over performed it's expected market price at this time last year.  It seems that the vellum did not stop this cover from reaching a premium price.

The question is about to be tested again--in the next couple of weeks, two prominent vellum covers are coming to market, one at Heritage Auctions, DEFENDERS 10, and the other at Comiclink, CAPTAIN AMERICA 171.  The Defenders cover is already at 38k with ten days left before the auction.  I think it's safe to say that vellum will not be a factor on this cover which is the considered by some to be a key bronze cover.

Here is the Defenders 10 cover, in the May Heritage auction, before and after restoration:

Here is the Cap 171, in the May Comiclink Auction, before and after:

I'd love to hear some feedback from the collecting OA community--is vellum now a non-issue?  Would it stop you from chasing down a cover you had to have?  I'd like to hear from the old-timers and the new guys.  I suspect that the newer collectors are less adverse to collecting vellum.

A number of vellum covers were assembled from pieces of vellum that were in the hands of different collectors.  In some cases if the complete cover pieces could not be found, partial stats were made to go with the vellum pieces in order to give the look of a complete cover.  Here are a few examples that I know about:

ASM 135 - In this case the original art pieces to Tarantula and Spider-Man were missing.  The original art pieces that exist here were all drawn on a separate sheet of vellum that was split up and placed on with art board with the missing stats to give the appearance of a complete cover.

ASM 136 - This is an interesting one.  This cover was drawn on two separate original pieces of vellum.  The Spidey fighting Goblin image was much bigger than a standard cover and would not fit on a regular size board--an oversize board was created with Parker and Harry statted at the bottom, the first cover below.

Additionally the second piece of vellum, the original image of Parker and Harry, which was the right size for a standard board was placed with a stat of Spidey fighting Goblin--the second cover below.

ASM 136 exists on two separate covers--each with a part of the original.

ASM 138 - This is the most successful of the three covers as all the original pieces of the cover were reunited on a single art board and can be consider a complete original cover.  The head of the Mindworm was on a separate piece of vellum from the main image of Spider-Man being attacked originally.

After work is completed on vellum covers they often are sold in the marketplace.  As they change hands from one collector to another the history of what was done becomes lost. When buying a cover like this it's important to ask questions in order to figure out if you are getting a cover that has been assembled long after publication to make a larger profit in the collectibles market.  In other words, let the buyer beware.