Auction Highlights #95 – The Canadian Whites

Comic Link Summer Featured Auction

The comic book portion of what I’ll call a historic ComicLink Summer Featured Auction ended Thursday September 8th. This auction was historic for the number of quality Canadian White’s available, quality in issue selection and quality in grade.

Judging from the results I’d say the Whites are busting out of their tight trading cartels and are slowly being welcomed by the general comic book/pop culture community as a worthy genre.

This was the “Canadian Whites” write up attached to each of the Whites auctions:

Canadian Whites Background
During the heart of the Golden Age of Comics of the early 1940s, U.S. comics were deemed “non-essential” imports under the Canadian War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA) and were banned from Canada. The market for superheros and other types of comics had already been established in Canada by that time so a small group of Canadian Publishers began putting out their own comics. Between 1941 and 1946, approximately 600 different issues were published. Due the printing costs, most of these comics had color covers but black and white interiors, which is why they are called “Canadian Whites”. Many of the characters featured in these comics were patriotic English-Canadian heroes including Nelvana of the Northern Lights, a popular female heroine who first appeared months before Wonder Woman as well as characters like Johnny Canuck, Brok Windsor and Canada Jack. You’ll see that a few of the offered examples feature familiar U.S. characters like Archie and Mary Marvel. A significant number of the comics feature the type of high energy covers that have made Golden Age comics a major focal point of the comic book collecting hobby for decades!

  • I counted 40 Whites as labelled by Comic Link but I many be off one or two
  • There were 30 Bells (counting Colonial Signs), 6 Anglo Americans, 2 Maple Leafs, 2 Educational Projects, 1 Feature and 1 FE Howard

So this is the auction we’ve all been waiting for and holy crap did this one ever deliver some impressive results.

  • The top 10 Whites generated just under $50,000
  • Nelvana was in 4 of the top 5
  • The Triumph Comics #7 CGC 2.0 featuring the 2nd Nelvana cover was the second highest value attained by a White at $9,000
  • All the top 10 were Bell’s but that’s more because there were no real offerings from Maple Leaf
  • You should really go to the Canada’s Own Comics site, it’s a great resource

OK let’s look at a few results.

 

ah-95-nelvana-nn-50

Nelvana #nn, Bell Features, 1945 Graded by CGC at 5.0 with Off White pages sold for $14,750.00.

Redemption! Many of us counted this book out when the CGC 6.5 version that sold a couple of auctions back sold for less than the $13,650 it got when first listed almost 2 years ago.

This Nelvana One Shot was the top White as was expected.

This is an iconic cover, it’s been on a Canadian stamp and it’s becoming one of the identifiable Whites covers recognizable outside the immediate sphere of influence.

I do want to add my opinion to ComicLink’s statement of it being THE holy grail of the Whites. While up there I think this book has to line up behind at least Triumph Adventure Comics #1 (the 1st appearance of Nelvana) and perhaps Better Comics #1 (the first Canadian White).

I don’t know where this thing will stop but I think it has more room.

Advantage Buyer

 

ah-95-better-v3-6-65

Better Comics V3 #6, Maple Leaf Publishing, October/November 1944 Graded by CGC at 6.5 with Cream to Off White pages sold for $950.

This was one of only two Maple Leaf books on offer in the whole auction. It had a strong Brok Windsor cover. I believe he first appeared in V3 #3. I’m surprised it did not go for more.

Advantage Buyer

 

ah-95-adv-canada-jack-nn-50

Adventures of Canada Jack, Educational Projects, 1945 Graded by CGC at 5.0 with White pages sold for $905.00.

Canada Jack was the best thing to come out of Montreal’s Educational Projects. The run of Canadian Heroes, where he first appeared, has only two Canada Jack covers I think. Neither are as cool as this one.

Totally biased because I won this auction but…

Advantage Buyer

 

ah-95-commando-11-85

Commando Comics #11, Bell Features, May/June 1944 Graded by CGC at 8.5 with Off White pages sold for $1,450.00.

I’m not looking for trouble, not just picking on this one because… but this doesn’t have the benefit of being early or of having a nose bleed grade, like the beautiful Commando #4 9.2 that got $2,000. Content wise we have army stuff as far as I know.

I’m optimistic on all Whites gaining in value over the coming years but the shackles that bind me to the inner circle of Whites collectors has me feeling this was just a tiny bit of a stretch.

Advantage Seller

 ah-95-freelance-4-70

Freelance Comics #4, Anglo American, January 1942 Graded by CGC at 7.0 with Off White to White pages sold for $750.00.

Of all the Anglo Americans I like Freelance the best, he had a very long run, he was original content, not like the Whiz redraws and he had what I thought were great simple covers.

This issue #4 is a fine example and the January 1942 date means early days

Advantage Buyer

 

Anybody grab any Whites???

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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: 1578

12 Comments

  1. Getting that Canada Jack comp. at under a grand was a steal, Walt. This book is pretty scarce. There were 40 WECA books in that Auction with one being a pulp (the Victory No. 1). In total they went for $80,500 so averaged over 2 grand US each. The two most overpriced results for me were that Victory pulp (which is not even a comic) go for $2075 and the FBI Comic 2 (5.0) , which went for $702 and which only reprints the cover of Joke Comics 23 and and is made up of the reprinted contents of Chesler’s Red Seal Comics 15 on the inside. Wow 1 (5.0) reaching only $1625 also under-performed for me. This is the first Bell Features comic and the first full-colour Canadian comic. I guess superhero-less books with swashbucklers on the cover don’t have it. Dartner Daring needed to put on a mini-skirt and get a cape. The Speed Savage compendium was also a steal in 6.0 for $2300. Those war comics do have weight don’t they. They have iconic Canadian war covers and Leo Bachle’s Invisible Commando and people seem to dig them. We’ve got to get our WECA/Whites price guide out there into the hands of these people who are swimming in uncharted waters.

  2. I was stunned when that 5.0 Nelvana garnered $14,750. This is a book that has off-white pages, loose centrefold and the colour register off on the cover, and yet it earned more than the 6.5 that sold a few years ago. There is certainly a lot of room here from an investment standpoint, since this Nelvana seems to be rocketing along on the strength of that iconic cover. I can only imagine what a nice copy with tight corners, intact cedntrefold, minimal spine stress, good colou register and nice pages would go for. If you want a real laugh though, check on John Bell’s price guide in Canuck Comics from 1986. Back then you could have picked up one of these babies (assuming you could find one) for only $15. That was the only guide to go on when I bought my Nelvana three years ago for $500 and I didn’t bat an eye at that price, even though, as far as I knew, one had never sold for that price. Imagine my surprise when the following year that 6.5 sold on ComicLink!

  3. I agree with pretty much everything you have presented here, Walt. The low price of the Canada Jack and Brok Windsor books were absolutely surprises for me, considering the importance of both characters and the collected edition of Brok Windsor stories that came out.

    If anything, this auction shows that the price people are willing to pay for these books is increasing and that the market for Bell Features stuff is strong. The Anglo-American books are definitely lagging behind. It will be interesting to see how the comics in the September CLINK auction do, considering that there are no apparent key books coming up and that the grades are much lower for the upcoming batch.

  4. I won the Victory Pulp.

    I would suggest that albeit a pulp,, it is significantly historic in the realm of Canadian Golden Age pop culture!

    VICTORY

    ROCK THUNDER….1st Canadian Costumed superhero rendered by Ted Steele after Wolf Savage in April 1941

    This hero preceeded Nelvana, Johnny Canuck, Freelance, Thunderfist, et al

    Notice the Canadian Ace Hi Action in the title and compare that with the 1945 Speed Savage One-Shot where it states Canadian Ace of Action underneath the title

    Rock Thunder may have been a crude prototype of the White Mask, (AKA Speed Savage)

    The book screams Canadian, right down to the Maple Leaf on Rock Thunder’s Chest. The costume with boots and the two guns is indicative of the later costume donned by Speed Savage. The tome is uber-rare, with only one other known copy in existance in a private collection.

    Early Canadian Superhero in all its glory. The importance cannot be understated and at least two other bidders would concur, based on their bids

  5. I agree, the Victory pulp is extremely important to the story of Canadian costume heroes but I was surprised to see so much competition for it. Are you going to crack it open to find out what’s on the inside Stephen?

  6. Thank you Ivan.

    I am not going to crack it open. However, I have reached out to the owner of the other only known copy of this book and asked for him to take pics of the Rock Thunder story.

    It may take some time and I will post it on the CGC forums if/when I am in receipt.

    Any timeline for publication of your coffee table book on the Bell Features Splash pages

  7. I think the results of the recent comic link auction show a strong continuing collectable interest.

    Bell features are collectable as a series including Commando comics as well as Triumph, Dime and Active comics., Collectors try to upgrade or fill holes. Wow results are less as they are more widely held, having sold best in color. Maple Leaf results show a frustration and fear to venture into that scarce area.

    The biggest bargain at comiclink auction # 95 was Victory comics #1, pulp hybrid being a 1941 semi ashcan that was poorly circulated in 1941 and hardly better regarded in 2016. Yet it has all of the whistles of the Bells. Sadly it will likely be hoarded and forgotten. In theory it should be celebrated as a historic prototype.

    The most over priced auction sale, this time around, in super frenzied bidding was Triump #7. This Hitler and Nelvana of the northern lights battle cover being a 1941 gem was poorly preserved and well read when circulated in 1941 and only exists in 3.0 and 2.0 and incomplete in 2016. Yet it has all of the requirements of a key issue. Its the first Bell after issues 1-6 change in title from Triumph Adventures at then defunct Hillborough studios. . Sadly this issue was so well read this copy is just a bare good 2.0. . In reality it is regarded as many of the wisesty collectors #1 favorite white. But at $9,000, this sale screams caught up in a frenzied bid mania ! Is this price possible !?! Previously, a double missing centre-fold incomplete sold last auction 2 years ago for under $1,000 ! Laughable then – That now looks the bargain !

  8. Congrats on your win on the Victory #1 Stephen. That’s a really great looking Steele cover.
    Do you know anything about the original owner? Horner it looks like. I’m sure that I’ve seen that signature on a few other Canadian ‘whites’ comics. It makes me wonder about the collection he/she may have had, and what story might be behind it. Could it be from the family that the road in south Etobicoke was named after?

  9. I just want everybody who encounters any of these books to scan them for the Canada’s Own Comics website, even if you can’t take the time to scan the interiors. Canada needs its own version of the Gerber guide, if only for the sake of documenting this history. You don’t have to own one of these comics to appreciate their significance in our national consciousness. I hope the folks who scooped the latest treats off ComicLink share those images. Excelsior! Eh?

  10. The prices didn’t surprise me at all guys. No Maple Leaf comic character made the Canada Post stamp collection? Virtually no mention of Maple Leaf comics in any of the pre 1960’s/1970’s books about “Canadian Comics”, though to be fair no one in BC was even looking at them back then either. Though the former Editor of the Maple Leaf comics did manage to get an article printed in the centralist magazine press of the day asserting that Maple Leaf were first out of the gate. In essence apart from Maple Leaf material currently being written by Ivan most Canadian comic fans would be hard pressed to find out about Maple Leafs, Until people like Ivan and Hope Nicholson started poking around and digging stuff up there was very little out there. What we need, is a comprehensive guide a la The Comic Price Guide for Canadian comics so that knowledge of Canadian comics is universally available to the collectors.

  11. I seriously believe that what these books need, even more than a price guide subject to a radically fluctuating market, is something like the Gerber Photo-Journals. A comprehensive visual index of at least the covers of all known books would be far more valuable to the historical record in the long run. Ivan’s and others’ efforts to scan the entire canon for future generations has met with scant support. I understand the site is undergoing some renos right now, but I urge anyone with copies of these books to give scanning your best shot on whatever apparatus you have at your disposal. We mustn’t ever lose this heritage again. Watch for future developments at Canada’s Own Comics.

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