Treasure: Original comic art brings ‘serious’ prices
Larry Zdeb still has the original receipt from the 1970s for the comic book art he recently bought in for appraisal to the Novi Home Show. Zdeb and his wife Pat were two of the lucky winners of a contest for Detroit News’ readers to win a free appraisal and breakfast with renowned appraiser Lori Verderame, aka “Dr. Lori.” (drloriv.com)
He said that the work is a 1949 example of original pen and ink art created by Carmine Infantino for the Flash comic series. According to the DC Comics site (dccomics.com), the Flash first appeared in 1940. The Flash, whose real name was Barry Allen, was a forensic scientist whose super powers included “super speed, intangibility and super human agility,” according to the site. Further online research revealed that the series was the product of writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino. “I’m not sure if this ultimately made it into the comic strip or not,” Zdeb told Dr. Lori. “There were two Flashes, one in the 1940s and another in the 1960s.” Zdeb paid $7 at a comic book shop according to the receipt, he told the appraiser. “I bought it because I liked it and the price was right.”
Years later, the price is even more right, said the appraiser. “I have appraised comic book art before and this would be along the same lines and same value,” she told Zdeb, adding that she’d put an impressive price tag on his comic art of $3,000-$4,000.
She cautioned him that to maintain its value, he should invest in the best framing and conservation quality materials. “You definitely want to make sure the work isn’t pushed up against or kissing the glass,” she told him. His piece, she said, is a little too close for comfort. “You may have a little trouble when you divorce the piece, so it’s always better to take it to a trained professional.” She also said that using a mat keeps the two from touching, which stops condensation and dirt from damaging the art.
Zdeb, an artist himself who works in mixed media and often includes vintage and found elements, currently has a sculpture included in “The Snowden Exhibition,” on view through March 31 at the Scarab Club near the Detroit Institute of Arts. His intriguing 2017 work, “Woman With Straw Hat,” includes wood from a deconstructed player piano and plastic as well as a vintage photograph and eyeglass case.
Do you have an object you would like to know more about? Send a photo and description that includes how you acquired the object to: The Detroit News, Trash or Treasure?, 160 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226. Include your name and daytime telephone number. You may also send your photo and description to firstname.lastname@example.org. If chosen you’ll need to bring the items to an appraisal session. Letters are edited for style and clarity. Photos cannot be returned.
Item: Original “Flash” comic book art
Owned by: Larry and Pat Zdeb
Appraised by: “Dr. Lori”
Estimated value: $3,000-$4,000