Captain America Collectibles
Captain America Collectibles are items relating to the Golden Age comic book character Captain America.
A Brief History of the First Avenger
Captain America is a comic book superhero originally created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon for Timely Comics, the predecessor to Marvel. The character first appeared in ‘Captain America Comics’ #1, dated March 1941. Captain America (known popularly as Cap) is Steve Rogers, a young, frail US soldier who was treated with an experimental Super Soldier Serum, causing him to become faster and stronger than any normal man.
Traditionally, Captain America’s adventures had him fighting the Axis powers during the First World War, which caused ‘Captain America Comics’ to be hugely successful. Into the 1950s, the character’s popularity waned and eventually he disappeared from publication.
In 1964, Captain America returned to mainstream comics when he was found frozen in suspended animation by Marvel’s The Avengers in ‘Avengers’ #4, dated March 1964; 23 years after his initial debut. Since then, the character has remained a firm favourite.
Captain America was the first of Marvel’s characters to enjoy a big-screen adaptation with a 1944 serialised drama. Since then, the character has been adapted into multiple films, cartoons and television series. In July 2011 the character enjoyed his biggest ever movie adaptation with Captain America: The First Avenger, which as of November 2011 has earned over $176,000,000 in box-office takings.
A Collector’s Guide
Artwork and books
Collectors interested in obtaining Captain America memorabilia will be pleased to learn that their options are not just limited to comic books. Over the years, a selection of items has become very popular at auction. The most prominent of the online auction websites for finding Captain America collectibles is Heritage Auctions, which has hosted thousands of related sales over the years. All auctions listed here are from the archives at Heritage Auctions.
Animation cells from the multitude of cartoon series to feature Cap usually sell for fairly low prices, making them an excellent starting point for an initial collection. As an example; on 04/07/2002 such a cell from the series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends featuring Captain America was sold for just $17.25.
On 13/08/2005, a commemorative print of an original Jack Kirby sketch (listed as number 62/210) was sold for $49. Original sketch artwork appears frequently on sites such as Heritage Auctions for a variety of prices. For an example at the other end of the scale to this sale, another Kirby original sketch was sold on 21/11/2003 for $948.75.
Collections of reprint comic books also prove to be popular through auction, especially if they are not in print any more themselves. A book entitled ‘Captain America: The Classic Years’ (1990), featuring reprints of the first ten issues of ‘Captain America Comics’ was sold at auction on 06/05/2007 for $143.40.
Among the many auctions of Captain America collectibles, the ones that have brought in the highest prices (with the exception of comics) have been original artwork. On 07/02/2004, an original concept sketch for a trading card (and the card itself) featuring Captain America battling with DC Comics’ Batman was sold for $1,265. Even this battle royal, though, does not compare to the price that was paid for an original sketch of Captain America and The Falcon, drawn by John Romita Senior, which fetched a startling $2,390 on 04/05/2007.
Toys and memorabilia
Over the years, a number of Captain America toys have also proved to be popular at auction, again for a range of prices. On 09/12/2007, a set of three plastic figures of Marvel characters Captain America, Daredevil and The Hulk was sold for just $15. On 18/07/2003 a plastic model of Captain America (made by Aurora in 1966) was bought for $356.50 and on 19/05/2005 a wind-up toy of Cap on a motorcycle was sold for $575.
At one point, popular 1966 action figure Captain Action received a Captain America uniform as an accessory. On 18/01/2007 an original boxed Captain Action with a loose uniform sold for $203.15, whilst on 08/03/2003 an original boxed uniform on its own was bought for $900.
Another popular item at auction is merchandise surrounding the original 1944 Captain America serial. Items such as lobby cards from the various chapters of this serial usually fetch moderate prices at auction. For example, on 16/07/2010 a card from ‘Chapter 1: The Purple Death’ was sold for $567.63, whilst on 22/03/2009 another card from ‘Chapter 10: The Avenging Corpse’ was bought for $717.
Memorabilia from the Captain America fan club ‘The Sentinels of Liberty’ also tends to sell well at auction. On 05/07/2002, two badges from the club, one original and one copy, sold for $632.50. On 20/05/2010 an original badge and membership card were bought for $1,015.75.
High Value Comic Book Auctions
Collections of Captain America memorabilia would not be complete without some Cap comic books. As the character has appeared in hundreds of books since his creation, there are a huge number to choose from. At auction, the books that always fetch the highest prices are high-grade copies of the original comic book series ‘Captain America Comics’ from Timely.
On 25/02/2010, ‘Captain America Comics’ #15 (Timely, ’42) was sold for $17,925. This was also the final auction price for a copy of ‘Captain America Comics’ #11 (Timely, ’42) on 05/05/2011. The special edition ‘Captain America Comics 132 Page Issue’ (Timely, ’42) was bought for $20,315 on 21/05/2009. On 15/07/2003 a copy of ‘Captain America Comics’ #7 (Timely ’41) fetched $25,300.
These are four of the five most expensive Captain America comics bought at auction. However, there is one book that has seen prices far beyond even these. This is the issue that started it all; ‘Captain America Comics’ #1 (Timely, March 1941), which on 19/01/2006 was sold on Heritage Auctions for a staggering $96,686.25.
Captain America is one of the world’s most loved and long-standing superheroes, despite all but disappearing in the 1950s. Since his re-introduction to the world in ‘Avengers’ #4, he has gone from strength to strength. With the character’s most recent big screen adaptation there is surely little doubt that Captain America collecting will continue to be a popular hobby.