Hake’s follows up $10M year with March 15-16 auction of ‘unicorns,’ including incomparable prizes from Star Wars, Cuban baseball and political button categories

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Featured: Kenner Boba Fett J-slot rocket-firing prototype action figure, Cox/FDR jugate button not seen at auction for 40 years, only known Jose “Black Diamond” Mendez baseball card

YORK, Pa. – Pop culture fans reacted with stunned disbelief, then excitement, last November when Hake’s sold a Captain American “hero-prop” shield used by Chris Evans in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame. The pristine star-emblazoned shield commanded $259,540, the highest price ever paid at auction for a Marvel movie prop and the top price recorded in any sale of Hake’s record-setting $10 million year. However, America’s oldest collectibles auction house is not one to rest on its laurels, as the jaw-dropping lineup just announced for their March 15-16 auction clearly shows.

James M Cox/Franklin D Roosevelt jugate button, 1.25in size, one of only six known in 1.25-inch size and one of only three known in this design; the first of its type to reach the marketplace in 40 years. Considered the ultimate political button, on par with a Honus Wagner T206 baseball card or ‘Action Comics’ #1. Estimate $100,000-$200,000
James M Cox/Franklin D Roosevelt jugate button, 1.25in size, one of only six known in 1.25-inch size and one of only three known in this design; the first of its type to reach the marketplace in 40 years. Considered the ultimate political button, on par with a Honus Wagner T206 baseball card or ‘Action Comics’ #1. Estimate $100,000-$200,000

“There are pieces in this auction that may never appear for public sale again in some bidders’ lifetimes,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Auctions. “They’re items that are either unique in the dictionary sense of the word or so rare that they would likely become the prized jewel of a collection and remain there. A perfect example is the auction opener, a political button of a type that has not been seen in the open marketplace for 40 years.”

Winter refers to a James M Cox/Franklin D Roosevelt jugate campaign button from the US Presidential election of 1920. It is one of only six known in 1.25-inch size and one of only three known in this design. Of the six, three are held in the Cox family collection and two others are locked deeply into a fabled East Coast collection. The example offered by Hake’s will surely attract “intense bidding interest,” Winter said. “In the field of political button collecting, it is in the same rarefied league as a Honus Wagner T206 baseball card or Action Comics #1, which features the first appearance of Superman.” Auction estimate: $100,000-$200,000. 

Also earning its place on the list of “unicorn” collectibles is a formidable Kenner Star Wars Boba Fett Version 2 J-slot rocket-firing prototype action figure made in in 1979. AFA-graded 50 VG, it is archivally encapsulated with a Collectible Investment Brokerage (CIB) COA. With many world auction records for Star Wars prototypes already under its belt, Hake’s team has ample experience in identifying potential record-setters, and this one could be next, Winter said. “It’s the pinnacle of all Boba Fett prototypes – the one all collectors want. The only other J-Slot prototype we have offered – an AFA 85+ NM+ example – sold in our November 2019 sale for $185,850 in November 2019. Since then, demand and value has steadily continued to rise.” The J-slot Boba Fett prototype is expected to clinch a winning bid of $100,000-$200,000.

Many other very desirable Star Wars rarities – the majority coming from a single ultra-high-grade collection – will step into the spotlight during Hake’s March 16 session. Among them is a rare, early version of Kenner’s 1979 Star Wars “bell hanger” store display, so named because of its bell-outline shape. It depicts the manufacturer’s first 12 Star Wars action figures as well as their eight new releases, and a bold yellow cartouche touting a mail-in offer for a free Boba Fett figure. Its advertising message encourages consumers to “Collect All 21 Action Figures!” AFA-graded 80+ NM (archival case), the hanger is estimated at $10,000-$20,000. Another super-rare entry is a Canadian-issue Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back three-pack containing 3.75-inch action figures of Stormtrooper (Hoth Battle Gear/Snowtrooper), AT-AT Driver, and Cloud Car Pilot from Kenner’s 1981 series. AFA-graded 75 QY EX+/NM (archival case) and encapsulated in a Sears-exclusive window box, it is also expected to reach $10,000-$20,000. “Even the most advanced collections don’t have this piece,” Winter noted.

Another category that has long been part of Hake’s auction repertoire and which has shown explosive growth over the past few years is GI Joe toys. For their March sale, Hake’s offers a 1982 Hasbro GI Joe: A Real American Hero action figure of Commando Snake Eyes (straight arm). It is AFA-graded 85 NM+ (archival case) and encapsulated in a Series 1/9 Back blister card. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000

As fine art continues to dominate blue-chip auctions in New York and London, original comic art is right in step in the parallel universe of the collectibles world. For their March 15-16 event, Hake’s has secured several pieces of investment-grade art that warrant serious consideration. The original art for Page 11 of Super Heroes Secret Wars #8, published by Marvel in December 1984, reflects the collaboration of Mike Zeck (art) and John Beatty (inks) and consists of seven panels, including one in which Hulk smashes through a wall to confront The Enchantress. It is estimated at $20,000-$35,000, but with a recent price of $3.36 million paid for original art from the very same comic, perhaps an auction-day surprise is in store.

Hulk is also the central figure in the original pen-and-ink cover art for Incredible Hulk #283 comic book, published by Marvel in May 1983. The talent behind this action-packed image is the duo of Ed Hannigan (art) and Al Milgrom (inks). Other Avengers shown in the scene include Wasp, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) and She-Hulk. With penciled notations and a Marvel copyright inkstamp on verso, this lively inkboard comes to auction with a $10,000-$20,000 estimate.

There is no way to overstate the importance of a circa-1922 Romeo Y Julieta Cigars baseball card depicting future Cuban and National Baseball Hall of Famer Jose “Black Diamond” Mendez. It is making its first-ever appearance at auction and likely represents the only card depicting a National Baseball Hall of Famer ever to surface from this incredibly rare card series.

“This is a one-of-a-kind card for a player who would have been right up there with Babe Ruth and Cy Young, had he played in the major leagues,” said Winter. “It took 10 years for Hake’s to get this card authenticated and graded, and it’s one-hundred-percent legit,” said Winter. Authenticated and encapsulated by CSG, with a designation that it comes from the fabled Richard Merkin collection, it has a $20,000-$35,000 auction estimate.

Something special leads the selection of music posters chosen for the upcoming sale. It is a rare and colorful Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two poster advertising a 1960 concert at the Palace Pier in Toronto, Canada. The opening act is shown as Bill Munroe (sic.) and the Blue Grass Boys, with M.C. Johnny Western. Estimate: $2,000-$5,000

Hake’s March 15-16, 2022 auction is now open for bidding. For a free printed catalog or additional information on any item in the sale, call 866-404-9800 (toll-free) or 717-434-1600; or email [email protected]. View the full catalog online and sign up to bid at https://hakes.com/.

Click to view a short video about the many Star Wars Boba Fett items in the auction.


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