Best Marvel Collection to be Sold

Big news out of Heritage Auctions is that they have landed the privilege of selling what is most likely the best Silver Age Marvel comic collection in existence. Doug Schmell’s #1 ranked CGC registry set of Marvels goes on the block July 26th-27th.

What makes this all the more interesting of course is that Mr. Schmell is the owner of Pedigree Comics, one of the premiere comic book auction sites.

Why not sell through Pedigree?

Did he get a sweet deal from Heritage?

Why is he selling anyway?

Does Mr. Schmell assess that Silver Age Marvels have peaked?

Where are the Spidey’s?

This is one auction I’ll be following very closely.

Below is HA’s press release.

World’s #1 CGC Marvel Comics Collection to be Auctioned:
The Doug Schmell/ Collection

Doug Schmell’s unparalleled collection of Silver Age Marvel Comics will be auctioned by Heritage Auctions at our July 26-27 Beverly Hills Signature Auction. All lots will be auctioned without reserve.

  • This multimillion-dollar collection features the top Marvel Silver Age CGC award-winning registry sets of each title offered.
  • Almost every comic is the single highest graded or tied for highest graded copy according to the CGC census (registry username “Captain Tripps”).
  • Almost every comic is certified “white pages” or “off-white to white pages”
  • Most of the comics originated in different prominent pedigree collections including Pacific Coast, Curator, Twin Cities, Boston, Northland, Massachusetts, Western Penn, White Mountain, Rocky Mountain, and others!

In addition to being an elite collector, Mr. Schmell is the owner of a well-known comic auction site. “After watching Heritage become, by far, the world’s largest comics auction house, I knew that Heritage was the perfect choice for me to sell my private collection to realize the highest prices with no conflict for the consignors on my site,,” Mr. Schmell says.

Steve Borock, Senior Consignment Director of Heritage, commented: “I have watched Doug piece together this fantastic collection for the 20-plus years I have known him, and when I saw the collection in its entirety, it was a thing of beauty!”

Lon Allen, Managing Director for Comics and Comic Art, added: “Being a successful auctioneer himself, Doug is intimately familiar with every selling option our hobby has to offer, so we’re incredibly flattered that he chose Heritage to sell his personal collection.”

The following runs will be offered:

  • Avengers #1-100 (89 are 9.8 and 11 are 9.6)
  • Daredevil #1-100 (90 9.8 and 10 9.6)
  • Fantastic Four #1-102 (94 are 9.8 and 9.6)
  • Journey Into Mystery #83-125 (40 are 9.8 and 9.6)
  • Strange Tales #101-168 (64 are 9.8 and 9.6)
  • Tales of Suspense #39-99 ( All are 9.8 and 9.6)
  • Tales To Astonish #36-101 (64 are 9.8 and 9.6)
  • Thor #126-200 (72 are 9.8 and 3 are 9.6)
  • X-Men #1-66 (61 are 9.8 and 5 are 9.8)
Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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11 years ago

The recent comiclink auction drew some high prices for the high grade items. I only managed to win one item. If it the trend continues, he will do well.

11 years ago

I realize my comments are not very popular but this really is big news and I’m surprised at the lack of comments here. I have the same concerns and questions that Walter has… so like MC Hammer once said, let’s “break it down”.

Why is this important?

Vincent Zurzolo of ComiConnect is a big shot in the biz, but essentially, he’s a business man. Doug Schmell is successful in his own right but he is also a hardcore collector. With one of the best collections on record… there is no collector more hardcore… He is “Wimbledon Green” (Seth ref.).

With equities, there are rules against CEOs dumping their ownership as it could cause a panic. Doug Schmell may not be a CEO, but he is a Captain of industry so his decision to sell his collection speaks volumes.

Why not sell on his own site?

The official reason is “conflict of interest” but Mr. Schmell has sold books on his own site before. As well, I’ve read enough corporate documents and marketing spin to never take anything at face value. The fact is Heritage brings in more dough for sellers, even with their buyers premium. They’ve got the clientele and the clout that establishes them as the top dog where comics are concerned.

But isn’t Doug hurting his own biz by consigning with Heritage?

YES! Basically, the message here is… you can realize more on Heritage than on Doug’s own Pedigree site.

Why admit this?

This is where is gets interesting. I’ve often ranted about demographics and how more and more large collections will flood the market as baby boomers plan their retirement, as well as big finds like the Billy Wright collection. All of which will devalue the books we hold.

If I had to speculate… I’d say that Mr. Schmell was hedging his bet. Doug Schmell is a few years older than me so he’s probably looking ahead to his retirement. The CGC market has been in turmoil the past few years and who really knows when or if the market will ever recover. The US may be improving slowly but the Euro is still holding us back. Once Greece is written off, it will have a resonating effect. Greece can’t pay so the creditors will have to deal with the loss which will affect us all. Optimistically speaking, even if the economy starts to become more stable in 5 years, that’s still a lot of time and a lot can happen, ie; the China housing bubble… and/or the comic market can always decline even further as it will take time for people to save up enough disposable income to start blowing cash on their hobbies again.

Doug Schmell is a smart guy… so it makes sense to get what you can now while his books still hold value… and just incase the market does not recover by the time he’s ready to retire. Think about how this will affect your own RRSPs while you’re at it.

If you follow business analytics, then you’ve probably heard about how a successful business has a great run of about 10 years. This his difficult to measure but companies like Sony and Starbucks come to mind… and CGC is about 10 years old as well. However, I’d take this with a grain of salt because there are plenty of exceptions… Nobody seems to have told Amazon.

So Doug is Retiring?

Not right away. I think he is looking ahead and playing it safe. I can’t image who would want to consign with Pedigree after this… which says to me that Doug is no longer interested in building up his business, but rather winding it down. There are still a lot of stupid people out there so I assume many of them will continue to consign with Pedigree and Doug will keep it going as long as it’s profitable.

Where are the Spidey’s

I can only assume he’s dumping part of his collection. Factor in duplicates and books that are not part of his larger runs. He’s probably holding some back which says even he’s uncertain about the future…

What the heck does this mean to me?

It’s a signal that change is upon us… sooner than I anticipated. Doug’s decision to sell his books does not mean the end of the hobby but he has many friends who also have big collections. Doug has influence and the frequency of these blow outs will increase so keep an eye on it.

You’re nut’s Charlie

Don’t believe me? Think about how all your friends got married within a few years of each other… then started having babies. Think about how everyone started buying houses in the late 90s and early 2000s. Have a peek at the back of an Overstreet book… do you seen anyone under 30 there? For the same reason that salmon swim up stream, demographics is a fact of life. We grow old and we can’t take it all with us. However, while we’re waiting, we can be lying on a beach sipping mai tai’s under a palm tree… hopefully next to Doug talking about comics.

Have a read at what others are saying

Danny Champion
Danny Champion
11 years ago

I don’t know too much about all this… but find it fascinating.  is there one book that stands out in the collection?  Is that a stupid question? 

11 years ago

Hey Walt, sorry to veer off again (which is something I rarely do) but as a retailer, I thought this new comic store might interest you… It’s been open since December so perhaps you’ve heard about Heroes in my neck of the woods up here in Vaughan.

I finally had a chance to pop in today but they were closing… AND they wanted to charge me $5 bucks for admission so I was stopped at the front gates… and I do mean gates!

Why would a comic store want to charge me admission?
Because it’s a comic store/zoo!! They’ve got animals in there and there’s chain link fencing all around the interior. From what I could peak from the front gates… the ceilings are high and the walls are covered with comics… It looked as if they’ve lots of back issues and a large section dedicated to new books. I’ll try and make another attempt to visit maybe next weekend… but what a concept.

After so many store closings the past few years… it’s nice to see a new store opening for a change. It looks like these guys put a lot of money and effort into this place so as a retailer, you should check it out.

On top of everything else… the 3 girls that I saw there were kinda hot! Worth the price of admission right there:

Ed Dee
Ed Dee
11 years ago
Reply to  Charlie

For all we know Doug Schmell could be selling his own comics on his website. It would not be hard to have put ads in the Overstreet priceguide, comic trade publications, etc. to buy collections from people, then press and grade them and put them on his own web site. People bid, he charges a percentage for the winning bid and makes a profit from them. He keeps the ones that are perfect and sells off the rest of the stash to pay for what he bought from the sellers that wanted to dump their collections. Now he’s selling the rest of his collection for his own profit. I talked to this guy on the phone once and did not have a good impression of him.
As far as what the future holds for comic collecting and the younger generation, it always has been and always will be about supply and demand. With new comics coming into the collecting community, there will probably be more “product” out there which I will presume will produce more highest graded copies. Anyone holding the lesser quality comics will take a hit. Will the younger generation want to collect comics? Are digital comics the new standard of reading comics? I used to collect sports cards. Thankfully I sold my collection. How many young kids are into baseball as we were when we were young? Do you think a 30 year old knows who Roberto Clemente or Bob Gibson is? These cards are worthless to them.I don’t follow the sport card community anymore. I don’t know if that market is stagnant or doing well. Maybe with all of the movies being made by Marvel and a few by DC-Green Lantern and Jonah Hex come to mind, comics will still be an interesting hobby for the younger generation to have.

stephen keisman
stephen keisman
11 years ago

hi guys! I contacted Mr.Schmell a few years ago and
wanted to blast him about fueling the race to top graded comics regardless of content and/or demand!!
He never responded!

Richard Gilmore
Richard Gilmore
11 years ago

Just wondering if the Obamacare Medicare tax may have been a factor in the timing. 3.8% starting in 2013. Makes me tempted to sell my collection this year, that’s for sure.