Friday, February 03, 2006

Recil Macon pedigree

RECIL MACON - In Abilene, Texas, 1990, this pedigree, similar in characteristics to the Lamont Larson collection, surfaced. The collector, Recil Macon, read comics during the 1940's and had a habit of writing his name on the books. Despite this, his collection was somewhat properly stored, as the collection exhibits white pages and beautiful colors and gloss. Unfortunately, they were stacked haphazardly, and many books were bent and became warped. As a result, cleaned and pressed Recil Macon copies are not uncommon.

In 1990 the son of Recil Macon began selling the collection off to Darren Wilson, a part-time dealer in the area. The collection numbered in the thousands and consisted of many early Timely, Quality, and DC. A few keys present included All-American #16, Captain America #1, Marvel Mystery #2-30, and Human Torch #1. Once the books were acquired in 1990 a majority were sold to Greg Bulls.

IDENTIFICATION-The main method to identify a Recil Macon is to locate the name written on the book. The location varies; the name can appear on the front cover, back cover, first page, centerfold, inside front cover, or any combination and sometimes multiple times. The name is written either in Pencil or Pen. Also present on many copies is the distributor code Mid-C. Using these two distinct markings identifying a Recil Macon becomes relatively easy.

DESIRABILITY-The two main detractors of a Recil Macon copy can be either the name (especially when written several times or in pen) or the warping from improper storage. But because of the fresh appearance of the books, along with minimal technical flaws, Recil Macons are quite desirable and currently bring 2x to 3x guide.

--from Matt Nelson's

Hawkeye pedigree

HAWKEYE - The Hawkeye collection surfaced in Mason City, Iowa around 1984. There were two primary buyers during the original disbursement: Joe Smejkal and Mike Tekal, two collectors who did not know each other. Two middlemen were involved, and the collection was sold piecemeal very slowly. As a result, very little documentation exists on the Hawkeye collection. To compound problems there are no indicative markings or characteristics associated with a Hawkeye book. What little is known about this collection came from Smejkal and Tekal themselves.

In 1984 a person named Leroy sold Smejkal a small batch of high grade DC's. Seeing that the books were gorgeous, Near Mint, white paged copies, Smejkal called Leroy back and bought as much as he could afford. Over the next few months Smejkal purchased a small batch of ten to twenty books at a time. During this time Leroy was selling to other collectors as well, of whom Tekal was one. Tekal was purchasing books in a similar fashion as Smejkal, receiving about ten books a week, and paying only in cash. As it turned out, the original owner, completely unknown, had sold his collection to one person, who in turn sold it to Leroy. By estimate, there were around 1,000 comics in the collection, consisting predominantly of DC's and spanning the years 1939 to 1950. Some keys present included All-Star #3, Superboy #1, Adventure #72, More Fun #101, Mask #1, World's Best #1, and reportedly the best existing copy of Captain Marvel #1.

Six years later a second, smaller accumulation surfaced from the original owner, numbering about 100-150 books. Although exhibiting gloss and white pages typical of the first collection, the average grade was only about Fine. Smejkal purchased all of them and subsequently sold them to another collector.

IDENTIFICATION-Hawkeye copies exhibit no markings whatsoever. Because of this and a lack of a master list Hawkeyes can be tough to identify. Fortunately, because Smejkal has owned the majority of them, he can readily identify most any books in question.

Incidentally, Smejkal's Hawkeyes were stored in mothballs during the 1980's and have a very distinctive mothball smell. Although sketchy, this is one way to identify a Hawkeye previously owned by Smejkal.

DESIRABILITY-Hawkeyes are beautiful, Near Mint books with full gloss/colors and white pages. They are so comparable to Mile Highs, there is a report that one collector actually attempted to forge a Hawkeye into one. The forgery was discovered when someone matched the mothball smell of the pages with the Hawkeye collection.

Originally, Hawkeyes sold for 1.5x to 2.0 guide. This multiple now hovers around 3.0x guide.

--from Matt Nelson's

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

Pennsylvania pedigree

PENNSYLVANIA - The Pennsylvania collection surfaced about 15 years ago and was bought by Steve Geppi. Pennsylvania copies are well-known in the market, but very few collectors are familiar with its origin. Unfortunately, Geppi does not recall many of the specifics surrounding the discovery of the collection due to the length of time that has passed. According to Geppi, a woman came to a convention in Philadelphia in the late 70's to sell some Golden Age comics. Word got back to Geppi, who tracked her down. He bought the collection, which consisted of several hundred comics from the early 1940's (1941-1945). Because the collection began after 1940 many of the prime Golden Age keys were not present, but the grade was extremely high. The books also had a characteristic smell to their pages. The collection was split up and sold later. Bob Overstreet purchased a rather sizable chunk of the collection, where it remained until recently when his comics were put up for sale.

IDENTIFICATION-Identifying a Pennsylvania involves simply locating a "P" written on the cover. The "P" sometimes looks more like an "R", probably from the quick handwriting of the distributor. Another way to identify Pennsylvanias is by their pages' characteristic smell. If ever in doubt of a Pennsylvania's authenticity, Steve Geppi is one collector who can probably identify it.

DESIRABILITY-Pennsylvanias are structurally NM to Mint copies with white pages. They originally fetched slightly above guide, but now can command prices as high as 3x to 5x guide.

--from Matt Nelson's

Carson City/Comstock pedigree

CARSON CITY/COMSTOCK - This collection surfaced out of Carson City, Nevada and was sold as two separate accumulations to two different dealers, hence the two accepted names of the pedigree. The first purchase was made by Mark Wilson.

In 1992 an old woman contacted Wilson via his mail order business in Washington state and offered him a few various comics she had found. Her husband had owned a tobacco and candy store during the 1930's and 1940's and saved practically every periodical that passed through his store. He had stored them in various shacks on his property, where they stayed until the 1990's. His wife, deciding to clean the shacks out, threw all of the contents of one shack out, consisting of nothing but old newspapers. Upon cleaning out the second shack she noticed that inside each newspaper was another periodical, usually a magazine such as Life, or even a comic book. Upon discovering that some of the hidden periodicals held value she realized the fortune she threw away from the first shack.

Once contacted, Wilson quickly flew down to Nevada to purchase the comics from the second shack. The accumulation was small, about 50 books, but almost every comic was a #1 issue. In addition, the grade was immaculate and the page quality was beautiful.

As a gift Wilson gave the woman a new price guide and a set of Ernie Gerber's Photo-Journal. Upon inspection of the photo-journal the woman found Gerber's address and realized she was only about 30 miles away from him. She contacted Gerber and offered him the second batch of comics from the next shack she had since cleaned out after Wilson left. Gerber, unaware of Wilson's involvement at the time, gladly accepted. A deal was consummated, this time for about 200 comics, and Gerber left with the books. Wilson, expecting to purchase the second batch from the woman, tried to set up another visit, but she kept stalling. Ultimately, Wilson discovered she had sold the books to Gerber. In spite of the woman's questionable handling of the collection, neither Wilson nor Gerber harbored any ill will toward each other.

The earliest books were from 1939 and continued on into the 1940's with a few stretching into the 1950's. Some highlights of the collection included a Marvel #1, All-Star #1, Mysterymen #1, Science #1, All-Select #1, Boy Commandos #1, and reportedly the nicest existing copy of Big All-American #1 and New York World's Fair 1939. The average grade was VF-NM and the page quality ranged from slightly yellow to stark white. The occasional yellowing of pages was due to the various placement of comics in the six-foot stacks of newspapers in the shacks.

IDENTIFICATION-Because there are relatively few comics in this collection tracking the ownership of a copy in question is fairly easy. There are two other ways one can identify a Carson City/Comstock copy as well. 1)Most of the comics in the collection had "no.1" or "1" written on the cover, identifying it as the first issue in a series. 2)A date stamp can be found on a small number of authentic copies, usually on the back cover and in red or blue ink.

DESIRABILITY-Even though the Carson City/Comstock collection is relatively small in size the magnitude of books in it are substantial enough to warrant a pedigree in many collectors' eyes. This, coupled with the high grade and beautiful page quality, allows copies from the collection to fetch multiples of guide when sold.

When the collection was first sold by Wilson the asking price for the books was 1.2x to 1.3x guide, which was unheard of at the time. This was partially due to the slump in Golden Age comics during that period; the Marvel #1 was actually sold for under guide. Since then, movement of copies from this pedigree usually results in multiples as high as 3x to 4x guide, depending on the comic for sale.

--frm Matt Nelson's

"D" copy pedigree

"D" - In 1991 Steve Fishler began to buy piecemeal what would eventually become known as the "D" collection. A person had located many boxes of old comics in Nyack, New York and was bringing Fishler one box every two weeks. No one knows where the collection originated from, but 99% of the books have a code written (possibly by a child) at the top of the first page. The collection ultimately numbered 1000, but there is reason to believe more comics were previously sold to other dealers. The range of the collection spanned from the late 1930's to the early 1950's. Some major keys present in the "D" collection included Sensation #1, All-Flash #1, Captain America #1, Batman #1, and Detective #28 and #29. The collection was initially distributed as a non pedigree and has just recently been dubbed the "D" collection because of the frequent "D" written on the cover and on the splash page.

IDENTIFICATION-As mentioned above, practically all of the "D" books contain a code written on the top margin of the first page. On occasion a "D" is written on the cover as well. Although most of the books exhibit foxing and a few have slightly tanned pages the books appear to have been unread.

DESIRABILITY-Because of the relatively new identification in the market "D" collection books still sell fairly close to guide.

--from Matt Nelson's

Crescent City pedigree

CRESCENT CITY - One of the newest pedigrees in today's market, the Crescent City collection surfaced in early 1995 from an individual residing in New Orleans. Growing up in California his main focus of reading was Disney comics, although he dabbled in various superhero titles as well. The collection numbered approximately 175 comics and is one of the few Disney pedigree collections. It contained the finest existing copies of Walt Disney Comics and Stories #1-3, and March of Comics #20 and #41, along with a VF/NM copy of Four Color #9, all of the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck one-shots in Near Mint, and one of the best existing copies of Batman #11 and Superman #14.

The collection was purchased by Bill Ponseti, Harley Yee, John Fairless, and Rob Hughes and was subsequently sold complete to a collector/dealer for an undisclosed amount of money.

IDENTIFICATION-No markings are present on any copies from the Crescent City collection. Almost all books are strong VF/NM copies with white pages. Because practically none of the books have been sold separately identification is fairly easy. Any book whose authenticity raises questions can be compared with the original list.

DESIRABILITY-What few have sold from the Crescent City collection have fetched 3x to 5x guide.

-- from Matt Nelson's