Friday, 27 February 2009

Superman No.1 comic for auction.

After being hidden away for years, a copy of the original "Superman and Friends" comic book will make a comeback -- at a price of about $400,000, a comic expert said Thursday.

Starting Friday, comic book collectors and Superman fans will have the opportunity to bid on a comic classic -- an "unrestored" copy of Action Comics No. 1, said Stephen Fishler, owner of Comic Connect, an online liaison between comic book buyers and sellers. The book's owner is not being identified.
The auction is attracting a lot of interest.
"One bidder wanted to trade his Ferrari for the comic book," as part of an under-the-table deal, Fishler joked. But he said the auction will remain public. "I couldn't see myself trading in my Toyota Prius" -- even for a $375,000 car.
Why is this comic book so unique?
"Of the 100 existing copies, 80 percent have been restored, but people want an untouched copy," Fishler said. The book is listed in "fine" condition, a six on the 10-point rating scale.
"It's the Holy Grail of comic books," Fishler said.
Co-created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the comic book first appeared on newsstands for 10 cents a copy in June 1938.
Nearly 12 years later, a young boy on the West Coast found himself in a secondhand book store, where he persuaded his dad to loan him 35 cents to buy the comic book.
Until 1966, the owner forgot about the book, which was hidden in his mother's basement. Since then, he's been holding onto it, hoping to see it increase in value, Fishler said. He has not been disappointed.
"There has been a lot of interest shown on the book in the collectibles market," said Fishler, who predicted the comic book will sell for about $400,000. But, he added, no minimum price has been set for the auction, so "whatever it sells for, it sells for.
"I've known Action Comics to sell for around $750,000," comic book sales associate Bill Peterson said. "I don't have any intention on making a bid, but I know people who don't mind dropping several thousand for a classic comic."
The comic book marked the first appearances of Lois Lane, Giovanni "John" Zatara and, of course, Superman. The book is in high demand because "there was no such thing as a superhero before Superman. It spawned everything that came after -- like Batman and Spider-Man," Fishler said.
Even during the current economic downturn, Fishler expects the book to do well.
Those who can afford to bid, he said, "would ordinarily put money into the stock market. But that's a shaky proposition." These days, the comic book may even be a better investment than putting money into a CD or a bond, Fishler speculated.
Because the book was published at the close of the Great Depression, it contains advertisements that may appear quaint and quirky to 21st century readers. For only $1.25, one could buy a blonde wig, a live chameleon, a whoopee cushion, a Bible "the size of a postage stamp" or hypnosis lessons.
"Some books seem to go in and out of fashion," reads the auction blurb at But "Action Comics No. 1 will never be one of those books."

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Cave home for sale on eBay.

A Missouri family says the credit crunch has forced them to put up for sale the 17,000-square-foot home they created in a cave.

Curt Sleeper told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he and his family, like so many others,are victims of the credit crunch. He has been unable to obtain mortgage refinancing for the cave. "We don't want to move," he said. "But we need to protect our equity. We put everything we had into this home." So the Sleepers have listed the cave on eBay.

The couple, who have two children and are expecting a third, bought the cave, a former mine, five years ago.

In the late 1950s, it had been converted to a roller rink and night club called Caveland, where Tina Turner and other major stars played.

The Sleepers lived in tents for several years while they worked on the cave, calling their temporary quarters Tentworld.

The family says the cave in Festus, about 30 miles south of St. Louis, is peaceful, considering that it is only a few hundred feet from major highways and below a subdivision. It is located in a small box canyon with a bog and an assortment of wildlife.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Lincoln speech breaks auction record.

A handwritten manuscript of a speech given by Abraham Lincoln in 1864 sold for $3.44 million at an auction on Thursday, the highest price paid at an auction for an American historical document, The Associated Press reported.

The speech, delivered by Lincoln at the White House after his re-election, was sold by Christie’s in New York to an anonymous telephone bidder. The price beat the previous record of $3.40 million, set last year for a letter written by Lincoln in 1864.

The speech manuscript was put up for sale by the Southworth Library Association in Dryden, N.Y., which plans to use the proceeds to build a new wing.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Gandhi's specs for auction

Mahatma Gandhi's distinctive wire-frame eyeglasses, a pair of worn leather sandals and an inexpensive pocket watch are going on the auction block in New York City.

Antiquorum Auctioneers says the auction of Gandhi's belongings is historic because the leader of India's independence movement didn't have many possessions.

All the items, including a simple brass bowl and plate, will be sold as a single lot during the March 4-5 sale, with a low bid ranging from $20,000 to $30,000.

The auction house says that in the last few days it has received inquiries from prospective buyers around the globe. The items belonged to a private American collector who obtained them from the Gandhi family's heirs.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Abandoned car makes $4.4m in auction

A car abandoned in a garage for half a century sold at an auction in Paris for euro3.4 million (about $4.4 million) Friday.

The 1937 Bugatti Type 57S went under the hammer at Bonhams' Retromobile car show and sale in Paris. It was sold on behalf of the family of its last owner, Dr Harold Carr.

The orthopedic surgeon drove the car for several years, but in the early 1960s it was parked in his garage in Gosforth, near Newcastle in northern England, where it remained for forty years until his death in 2007.

Bugatti once represented the height of motoring achievement. The supercar was so ahead of its time it could go up to 130 mph (209 kph) when most other cars topped out about 50 mph (80 kph).

This particular car is especially valuable because it was originally owned by Earl Howe, a prominent British race car driver, and because its original equipment is intact, so it can restored without relying on replacement parts.
Bonham's said a European collector bought the car.