Auction Highlights

This week Chris and Walt talk about the the Canadiana Auction that just ended last week. They try to break down the ins and outs of the collectibility of Canadiana pop culture.

Please let us know what you thought of the show, just leave a comment in the comments field provided below, all we ask is that you keep things civil.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Canadiana pop culture.

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Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1652

4 Comments

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  1. Excellent show guys. I am happy to see the interest in Canadian publications take off, as for many years you could not get people to look at this stuff! A lot of these books are worthy of research, expecially original Canadian material & it is about time they were recognized.

    I regret that I did not buy more of them when they were cheap, but that is because they simply could not be found ! I bought every copy of any WECA or FECA book that I came across because they were different & they were CHEAP !!! I don’t think I found more than two dozen issues during the entire 1980’s decade! My core collecting years were from 1980, when I arrived in Canada to 1997, when I left the market in disgust [not returning until the recession of 2009]. During this time you could find these things occasionally popping up in your LCS’s miscellaneous sections [ I recall finding several FECA books at Silver Snail in Toronto over the years, filed alphabetically by title in their misc sections] – for about $2 to $4 each !!! Nobody wanted these things- they were not listed in Overstreet & thus, they could not have any value! You could find English [ UK ] B&W reprints of US comics too, in their odd square-bound format for the same price range. Nobody wanted them – they were odd ducks!

    It is hard to explain what comic collecting was like before the internet. The world was a different place & people saw things way differently than they do now. Most of you simply cannot comprehend that the books that are hot now were duds back then & you could buy them for nothing- Pre-code horror ??? $2 to $5 each- how many do you want ??? Marvel war & humor titles- $1-$2 each !! I would fill up shopping bags with cheap old comics, mostly late 1940’s through late 1950’s for pocket money. . The good old days !

    Canadian reprints of American comics, such as the EC line, have always repelled me. They are, as a rule, atrocious- horrible washed out printing & off-register colour- they are very often abominations ! I owned a Canadian Frontline Combat #1 that was so washed out THAT NOT A SINGLE WORD BALLOON COULD BE READ IN THE ENTIRE BOOK !!! Not only were they poorly printed, many of these things were only 36 pages, whereas the US books that they were reprinting were often 52 pages thick! Your observations of value are correct- we considered them to be half the value of the US editions as they were generally incomplete.

    A story for you-

    A house in Oakville was being renovated [ back in the late 1980’s] & some inner walls were torn down. The workmen found newspapers & old comics being used for insulation. They gathered up the old comics & took them to our LCS who purchased them all. I was at the right spot at the right time & was able to cherry pick a Detective #140 & Superman #61 in about VG for about $4.00 each, among others. Here are my observations-

    Detective #140- 1st Riddler. US edition has 52 pages- Canadian edition has 36 pages. The Riddler is on the cover, thus the Riddler story is included in the package. Obviously, another story or stories were omitted. The print job is not too bad- I find DC, Dell & Fawcett reprints to be quite reasonable, unlike EC reprints.

    Superman #61- origin Superman retold, origin Green Kryptonite, Superman returns to Krypton for the very first time & meets his parents. US Edition has 52 pages, Canadian edition has 36 pages The cover shows Superman with a bunch of pretty girls. Guess what story the Canadian editors chose to omit? You got it Pontiac!- no origin story ! Beware if someone offers you a Canadian Supes #61 [ especially slabbed !] as it is missing a key ingredient ! It’s value should not be determined in any way by the value of a US copy of Superman #61.

    This why I approach FECA books & Canadian reprints with much caution. Having said this, I have a lovely Captain Marvel Jr. from 1949 that is Canadian AND is 52 pages thick ! I have to dig it out of storage & have another look at it. I wonder how many Canadian reprints or FECA books were issued with 52 pages- I’ll bet that there are not too many of them!

    I made the point recently that original Canadian pulp magazines [ not Canadian editions of US pulps ] are harder to find than WECA comics ! I don’t even know if a full list exists of all titles that were known to be printed. I have tried to navigate the Library and Archives Canada website but am not getting much success, but Don Hutchison, writing for THE FRIENDS OF THE MERRIL COLLECTION states’

    “No one has ever come up with a list of all the Canadian wartime pulps, but there were many of them, ranging from titles like Sky Blazers and Private Detective to Bill Wayne’s Western Magazine. “

    Does anyone know if such a list exists ? Does anyone know how to navigate that atrocious Library Canada website ??? Please let me know!
    Most all US fiction magazines have been listed, thus if you come across a Crime or Horror mag that is not on such a list, then you probably have a bona-fide Canuck edition [ as long as it has all the usual Canadian editorial addresses & advertising ]. You did have a Canadian crime mag at your recent Canadiana auction, but I have not bothered to check if it was simply a Canadian reprint or an actual Canadian publication. Finally, some original Canadian Sci-Fi mags of the time reprinted much of their material from US magazines, but feature very few known authors- most of it cheap-o stuff !

    This is such an amazing field to explore & I find my interest being re-invigorated. I managed to pick up a very long run of Canadian ADVENTURE pulps many years ago & have begun cataloguing them all. It is fascinating to see how they differ from their US counterparts & that many covers are totally repainted, some with jaw-dropping WW2 imagery! I may have to post some of these covers some day- I am sure many have not been seen for decades !

    Sorry for the long lecture. I am at home nursing a sore throat & cold thus have time to bore you with my nonsense.

  2. Great points lads!

    Pence (and Whitmans too) used to be thrown away by me in disgust!!! I could not get them out of my box quick enough and treated them as close to worthless..now they sell very quickly on eBay, so I’ve seen that there’s definitely a sub-section of collectors hunting them. Mine were Miller’s DD run and we’re snapped up very quickly.

    Regarding pence going mainstream: there’s a guy on IG who took a trip to London, hit up the comic shops and took a suitcase full of books back to the US to test the resale value of the books!!! I haven’t spoken with him for a few weeks, I’ll see how he went!

    Down in Australia we also got Australian Price Variants – these seem to be very in-demand at present, they seem to run alongside the CPV in price etc. due to the much smaller census.

  3. I was initially going to ask who was buying them but you sort if answered that in a lot of us yanks were snapping up those books do to rarity. Makes sense but I can’t help to think some Canadian collectors feel a bit regretful that books they want are now being collected on a larger market making them harder to get. I sort of felt that way when I was a teen and all the newspapers had an article about the young man who dropped $1500 on a copy of Action #1. I am sure that simple blurb about how someone could spend THAT much on a comic had many a speculator scrambling. It was not that much later an old guy conned me out of my FF and Hulk #1’s.
    Spider… I have seen quite a few DC and Marvel comics with different covers then the US versions coming out of OZ that I have admired! Not sure if the reused interior art for the covers or created new ones but I thought they looked great! Most seemed from late 40’ into the 50’s!
    Well see you Saturday in Hamilton!

  4. Live Frog, I hope you are feeling better, those sore throats are terrible, like you have a live frog in your throat. Great comments on the auction and especially educating us on the FECA stuff. You are way ahead of me in your knowledge of the Canadian pulps, sorry I can’t help, I know we had a couple up but they were not mine and I don’t know much about them.

    Spider, please pass on how the guy did taking those Pemce books to USA. Nice to see the Oz price variants getting some love. I think the key is that these books are considered all the same printing, at lease the Pense copies are as are the later CPVs, and over time that is something you can’t ignore.

    Gerald, safe travels. See you Saturday.

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