Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Comics aficionados agog over rare collection

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EDMONTON -- Collectors are going to have a crack at 2,000 rare comic books at a private auction in Edmonton at the end of this month -- as long as they take a lot of cash.

Available for bidding will be three coveted entries in the 1960s series The Fantastic Four and the first issue of The Avengers from Marvel Comics.

The mint finds date back decades and surfaced recently as part of a 6,000-item collection from an anonymous collector.

Edmonton-based Happy Harbor Comics acquired the collection, which is being called one of the most extensive and impressive in Western Canada.

The upcoming sale is expected to fetch as much as $80,000 from bidders -- who will only be allowed to participate if they've been invited.

Store co-owner Jay Bardyla said a handful of select customers has been contacted.

Auction items will also include entries from the 1960s Marvel Comics creation The Hulk.

"I've spent a lot of time in the secured storage room with these books just sniffing them. They have that old book smell. You don't experience that as often as you would like," Bardyla said.

"Some of these books will range in the several thousands per book," he said. "This is a chance to own a bit of history."

Amassing tales of superheroes has not always been an easy task for collectors, Bardyla said. "It's not unusual to see comic-book collections that include 5,000 to 10,000 items, but those collections are usually very scattered."

The Canadian whose items are in the upcoming auction spent his youth building a collection filled with complete runs of comic books.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 5, 2012 C12

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