Friday, February 03, 2006

Windy City pedigree

WINDY CITY - The Windy City collection surfaced out of Chicago and was purchased by Gary Colobuono. The collection consisted of around 2000 #1 comics, and thousands of #1 magazines. Almost every single #1 comic that came out between 1937 and the Silver Age was in the Windy City collection.

In the early 1930's a mailman who made regular deliveries to a bus station newsstand told the owner he wanted to buy every new #1 magazine. After doing so for a couple of years the newsstand owner suggested he also try collecting #1 issues of comics as well. Following his suggestion, the mailman began purchasing the #1 comics each week. This went on for nearly 30 years until communication was lost between the two.

In the 1970's the newsstand owner's son, realizing the comics were worth money, attempted to locate the mailman by finding his name in an old yearbook.

Successful, the son soon found out that the mailman had passed away, but his sister had saved everything he possessed, including the comics. Unwilling to sell them, the sister instead settled on trading them bit by bit for common items, such as a new microwave. When the son obtained the first batch of comics he brought them to show a local dealer who had just opened his store that particular day in September 1978--Gary Colobuono. In that first batch was the following books: Superman #1, Batman #1, Captain America #1, Marvel #1, Detective #1, Silver Streak #1, All-Star #1, All-Winners #1, Wonder Woman #1, Daring Mystery #1, Mystic #1, Sub-Mariner #1 and a few others. As he looked over it Colobuono thought to himself "and this is only my first day...what can tomorrow bring?" The son wanted to wait until he had received all of the books from the woman before he sold the collection. This was not accomplished until 1986, eight years later! By this time a few other dealers had caught wind of the collection and were making offers. The son ended up taking bids and Colobuono won the collection for $85,000, to be paid in three installments. The first batch received by Colobuono included many of the most sought after #1's and made it's debut at the Chicago Con that year. The second batch yielded the key Fawcetts and was put up for sale at the San Diego con a month later. Finally, the lesser #1's were obtained a couple of weeks after that.

The sister eventually died years later, and about 1000 more #1 issues missing from Colobuono's purchase were present, but most were insignificant. The lot was auctioned off to an anonymous bidder.

There never was an Action #1 or New Fun #1 in the Windy City collection, although the Detective #1 is one of the best existing copies and one source claimed the Marvel #1 to be the third best existing copy.

IDENTIFICATION-Over half of the Windy City collection has the name "A. Wallace" written in pencil in the first letter of the title logo on the cover. There is speculation that the "A" stands for Anna, the name of the mailman's sister. For any copies that do not have the name written on the cover a master list exists for which comparisons can be made. As far as the extra 1000 or so comics found separately from Colobuono's purchase, very little is known, and no assumptions ca be made concerning grade or markings.

DESIRABILITY-The grades of Windy City copies range from Very Fine to Near Mint with an occasional Very Good or Fine. A few of them exhibit brown pages, although the majority are structurally perfect with full gloss and white pages. The initial distribution sold for around guide with high demand keys selling for 2x to 3x guide. As an interesting note, the Windy City Batman #1, graded a VF+, sold for a record price of $13,400 at the 1986 San Diego Con. Now Windy City copies fetch 1.5x to 2x guide and 3x to 5x guide for high demand keys.

--from Matt Nelson's

No comments: