Hake’s $3.6M auction shatters house record as company marks its best year since launching in 1967

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1999 Pokémon uncut proof sheet with 99 cards sets record of its own, selling for $234,171

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back display stand with six encapsulated action figures, 1980, AFA graded, complete and unused condition. Sold for $36,302 against an estimate of $10,000-$20,000
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back display stand with six encapsulated action figures, 1980, AFA graded, complete and unused condition. Sold for $36,302 against an estimate of $10,000-$20,000

YORK, Pa. – If records are made to be broken, then Hake’s has clearly mastered the art of an encore performance. Their June 29-30 auction, which grossed a robust $3.6 million, rewrote the company’s history books as it became their second consecutive auction to break an existing house record. Along the way, a number of new individual record prices were set, as well.

“The June 29-30 result, combined with the $2.9 million total from our first Premier Auction of 2021, puts us at $6.5 million so far this year, and that’s without even adding the totals of our Internet auctions,” said Hake’s president Alex Winter. “On top of that, we still have one more Premier Auction scheduled for this year. Needless to say, we’re very excited about the current state of the market for vintage collectibles.”  

The June auction’s top lot was a 1999 Pokémon Shadowless Holographic uncut proof sheet with 99 cards, including seven coveted Charizard cards, which sold for a sensational $234,171. It is the earliest uncut Pokémon proof sheet ever to be offered at auction and was formerly the property of a Hasbro employee who received it as a gift in 1999. 

As the name implies, “Shadowless” cards lack shadowing around the featured images. They are rarer than “Unlimited” Pokémon cards because of their smaller print runs. The uncut sheet auctioned by Hake’s attracted 18 bids and easily surpassed its pre-sale high estimate of $200,000. In so doing, it set its own auction record. The previous record price ($117,000) was achieved by a different Pokémon sheet (Wizards of the Coast Unlimited Base Set), which sold in February 2021.* 

Ultra-rare Star Wars prototype action figures have a long history at Hake’s. In July of 2019, the company sold a Boba Fett L-slot rocket-firing prototype figure, AFA-graded 85 NM+, for $112,926. There was speculation that the record-setting price might stand for many years, especially considering how few figures of that type have ever surfaced. But less than two years later, another Boba Fett prototype figure – same version and grade – made its debut at Hake’s June sale and proved how much upside Star Wars rarities still have in the marketplace. It was chased by several serious bidders and concluded its upward run at $165,200.

Two other Star Wars lots are worthy of special mention. A 1980 display stand with six encapsulated action figures from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, unused and AFA graded, swept past its $20,000 high estimate to land at $36,302. Also, an AFA-graded vinyl-caped Jawa action figure encapsulated in a 12 Back-A blister card exceeded expectations at $24,245.

The political and Americana category was led by an item of great historical significance: a 1767 George Washington-signed promissory note for four slaves, including his personal valet William “Billy” Lee. One of the most famous African Americans of his day, Lee went to war with Washington, including at Valley Forge and Yorktown, and was the only Mount Vernon slave to be granted immediate freedom in Washington’s will. The framed document sold for an impressive $64,900.

A world-record auction price was set with the sale of an extremely rare Babe Ruth/Boston Red Sox 1915 American League Champions button. The last of three different Ruth rookie-era buttons entrusted to Hake’s from the legendary Paul Muchinsky collection, it sold for $70,092, supplanting Hake’s previous record price of $62,980. The latter price was paid at Hake’s September 23, 2020 sale for the only known example of a Ruth/Alpen Brau Beer button.

Negro League Baseball items were on fire, as they have been for quite some time. Bidders showed particular interest in early team photos, like the oversize photo of the 1937 Homestead Grays baseball club. The shot includes Hall of Famers Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard and Raymond Brown, and is one of only two known examples depicting that year’s lineup. It sold for $35,046 against an estimate of $10,000-$20,000.

Charles Schulz’s original art for the July 3, 1955 Peanuts Sunday comic page, featuring Charlie Brown, Lucy Van Pelt, and Snoopy, is notable for the fact that all three characters appear in all eight panels. The 17 1/8- by 23 5/8-inch artboard, artist-signed and dated in the last panel, was bid to $80,476.

The top lot in the comic book section was a copy of Gobbledygook #1 (1984), CGC 9.0, signed and sketched by co-creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Containing the first appearance of the Fugitoid, it has a back cover ad for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 that predates their first appearance. The book sold for an astounding $71,390, a figure that is unquestionably a record auction price for this title and issue.

From the noted Bill Byers Pre-Production G.I. Joe Collection, a Sgt. Slaughter Series 5 “2-Up Hardcopy” hand-painted resin-paint master prototype, created in 1986, captured many collectors’ attention. Estimated at $5,000-$10,000, it declared victory at $14,278 – perhaps blazing a trail for the next buying trend in action figures.

In keeping with tradition, Hake’s included a wonderful selection of Disney and comic character toys in their June sale. An extremely rare and appealing 1935 Knickerbocker soft doll of Mickey Mouse dressed as clown had no shortage of suitors. Estimated at $2,000-$5,000, the 15½-inch charmer elicited a winning bid of $13,337. “Prices like that recall the glory days of Disneyana values,” Alex Winter remarked.

All prices quoted in this report include an 18% buyer’s premium. To discuss consigning to a future Hake’s auction, call 866-404-9800 (toll-free) or 717-434-1600; or email [email protected]. Online: https://hakes.com/

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