A collection of original Robert Crumb artworks led the way in Heritage Auctions’ recent $6.3 million comic book sale.
The auction featured a number of original cover illustrations and full stories by the iconic artist, whose work has defined the underground ‘comix’ scene since the 1960s.
Many of the artworks were consigned by singer/songwriter Graham Nash, who has spent decades assembling one of the world’s finest personal collections of counterculture comic book art.
Topping the sale was the unpublished cover artwork for Zap Comix #1, the first title which Crumb created to showcase his talents and bizarre sense of humour.
Crumb created the artwork for his first cover, but then had second thoughts, and by the time the first issue of Zap Comix hit the stands in February 1968 he’d replaced it with something a little less controversial.
The original art was thought lost, until it was discovered by Nash, who described it as “a very important piece in the arc of Robert’s journey as a great artist”.
Offered with an estimate of $100,000+, the cover soared to a stunning price of $525,800, the second-highest price ever paid for Crumb’s artwork.
Crumb illustrations claimed the auction’s six highest prices, with a further three fetching six-figure sums: a four-page story from 1972, entitled ‘The R. Crumb $uck$e$$ Story’, which sold for $203,150; a four-page story from 1988, ‘Memories Are Made of This’, which sold for $131,450; and the original 1991 cover art for ID #2, which sold for $101,575.
The sale was further evidence of the skyrocketing market for Robert Crumb artworks, which have soared in price in recent years, in a series of record-breaking sales.
Back in May 2017, Crumb’s original cover artwork for Fritz the Cat realized Heritage for $717,000, setting a new record as the most valuable piece of American comic book artwork ever sold.