Holy Moley!

These are the "D" copy books! Is that insane, or what?!?!

From Heritage:

"Comics from Davis Crippen Collection, Among the Finest Known to Exist, to be Auctioned Without Reserve in August

A spectacular collection of over 11,000 Golden Age comic books from a wide variety of genres has been discovered in the garage of a 19th century house just outside New York City. The original-owner comic collection has the greatest range and depth of any such collection to have been discovered during the past three decades. Now the entire collection is headed to the auction block, to be offered to the comic-collecting public with no reserves.

Davis Crippen, age 8.
These comics, the great majority of them unread, were bought off the newsstand by a previously unknown collector named Davis Crippen. He started at age eight, but his collection really picked up steam a year later, in 1939. Inspired by a family friend's collection of Big Little Books, Crippen decided that from then on he would buy and keep every single new comic book as it came out.

Mr. Crippen's childhood home in Washington DC, where the comics were kept until 1976.
He followed through on his plan. At first using money from his paper route and allowance, and later shipping comic books back from college at the University of Michigan, Davis continued to buy comics until his marriage a decade and a half later. He kept the books in the cool, dry, and very large basement of his family's Washington, D.C. home.

While Mr. Crippen has not been identified until now, a small part of his collection has already achieved notoriety among savvy collectors, apparently without his knowledge. When these books entered the marketplace in the early 1990s, they came to be known as "D Copies" because many had a handwritten "D" on the cover. They were also distinguished by a handwritten code on the top of the first page: several digits followed by several letters and then several more digits. The precise meaning of the code remains a mystery.

Another mystery is how those comic books made their way into the marketplace.

After Mr. Crippen's death last year, his younger son catalogued the collection, which his father had boxed up and stored in the garage and basement of his New York home after his own parents' house was sold in the 1970s. The family then contacted Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries about selling the collection.

Mr. Crippen's heirs were stunned when Lon Allen, Director of Sales for Heritage's Comic Division, recognized the handwriting of the codes and realized he had discovered the source of the "D Copy" books.

Archie's Girls Betty and Veronica #1, the highest-graded copy by a wide margin.
Allen considers the "D Copy" comics that had already attracted eager collectors to be just the tip of a vast iceberg. "It wasn't known they were part of a much larger collection, certainly not one of this magnitude," he said. "When you examine some of the other famous pedigrees you would have to rank this among the best. The date range of 1938 to 1954 gives it a far larger time span than the Tom Reilly/San Francisco or Lamont Larson collections, which were limited to the 1930s and early 1940s. Also, many of the other famous pedigrees focused only on #1 issues or certain specialized genres or publishers. Not so with Mr. Crippen, who bought absolutely everything."

"Comic collectors had wondered if there were any great Golden Age collections left to be discovered, and many doubted that was the case," Allen continued. "Well, this is essentially the Golden Age collector's dream come true — 11,000 comic books, almost all in high grade, all 'original-owner,' that is to say, bought by the same person at the time of publication. And here's something we do not say lightly: the depth and breadth of the collection is second only to the Edgar Church/Mile High collection, the most famous hoard in all of comics." The Mile High collection made history when it was discovered during the 1970s.

An early Donald Duck appearance, Four Color (Series One) #4.
"Previous pedigrees – even the Edgar Church books – were usually disbursed largely by private sale to a select few," Allen said. "At the very least, one or more dealers got to select the cream of the crop before the collecting public at large had a shot at them. Not so here – every comic consigned by the Crippen heirs will be put up for auction, giving collectors across America and around the world an equal chance at every book in the collection."

One of the finest unrestored copies of Detective Comics #35.
"It's already obvious that hundreds if not thousands of these comics will stand as the best known copy before all is said and done," added Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auction Galleries. "We can say without fear of contradiction that every Golden Age collector will find something he or she wants here," Jaster added, "especially as the entire collection is being offered without reserves. While all eyes are on the superhero books, and Mr. Crippen certainly collected a lot of them, there will be sports, Western, and romance books that all but the most dedicated collectors will not have seen before. Not to mention crime comics, promotional giveaways, Christian comics, war comics, funny animal books, teen humor, science fiction, TV and movie adaptations… if you've given up on ever being able to complete some of these runs in high grade, think again. The next few months will be a great time to be a Golden Age collector."

The first part of the Davis Crippen Collection will be offered in Heritage Auction Galleries' upcoming Comics Signature Auction, to be held August 10 -12, 2006 in Dallas, Texas. You can view a preview of the first lots by clicking here.

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