A Spider-Man comic, which could be purchased in 1962 for the modest price of 12 cents, looks likely to fetch one Marvel fan an eye-watering fortune when it goes up for auction later this week.
It’s safe to say Walter Yakoboski is a massive comic book fan. As a child, he would lose himself for hours in the bright, fantastic worlds of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, and many others.
As a man, Walter’s passion for comic books never wavered. In fact, it intensified. So much so that Walter used all of the spare money he earned as a supermarket baker for more than 27 years to lovingly build up a small collection of rare comic books.
As you can imagine, after all these years, Walter boasts the sort of collection that would probably make Stan Lee’s eyes water.
Walter’s collection is big, varied, and most of all, very, very valuable. Especially Yakoboski’s copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 from 1962, which is in pristine condition and has achieved legendary status for introducing the world to Spider-Man for the first time.
The good news for all you seriously rich Spider-Man fans out there is that the 60-year-old is preparing to sell his treasured copy of the first-ever Marvel comic to feature the wonderful web-slinger. A comic he purchased in 1979 for $1,200 is expected to fetch $400,000 when it goes up for auction on Thursday.
Holy cow, Batman! Sorry, wrong franchise, but you get the drift. As investments go it’s a pretty impressive return for Walter, but why has he only now decided to sell?
Well, according to the Daily Mail, Walter plans to use the proceeds to buy his late father’s 17-acre vegetable farm in Calverton on eastern Long Island.
“This is the first time I really sold anything. I have had it for 36 years and it’s just time.”
The comic, the cover for which features Spider-Man clutching a villain in one arm and swinging from his web with the other, while the masked maverick cries, “Though the world may mock Peter Parker, the timid teenager. It will soon marvel at the awesome might of Spider-Man!” has generated a real buzz prior to its sale at the comics department of Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, which is conducting the sale on Thursday.
The auction house has explained there are only 4,000 to 5,000 copies of Amazing Fantasy No. 15 in existence. Yakoboski’s copy is triggering mass hysteria amongst potential buyers because it’s what they’d call in the sneakers industry “box fresh!”
“It was graded 9.4 on a scale of one to 10, that’s what makes it super desirable and really special. Whoever buys this comic will be joining an elite club.”
In 2011, a private collector reportedly paid $1.1 million for a near-mint copy of Amazing Fantasy No. 15, so $400,000 might yet prove to be a conservative estimate for Yakoboski’s copy.
Vincent Zurzolo, the co-owner of New York-based Metropolis Collectibles who was involved in the $1.1 million sale, revealed how that particular comic book was graded higher than Yakoboski’s, at 9.6, but he still believes Thursday’s auction will be very exciting.
“This book will do great, it’s an incredibly important book. When you have a sale like this there is a residual effect on the entire market, so that also makes it very exciting. It’s definitely a special book.”
Yakoboski recalls that when, as a child, he snuck out of the stuffy and suffocating confines of the library to seek sanctuary in the airy freedom of a nearby comic book store where anything was possible, he never imagined his love of comics would one day prove so profitable.
[Photo by Frank Eltman/AP]