Tuesday, June 7, 2011


watch auctions of Milton Caniff-related items pretty regularly. A majority of them go unbid, usually due to the seller's inflated expectation of what something is worth. For example, there are currently three separate auctions for Steve Canyon Magazine #18. The condition of the books are about the same, but the starting bids are $16, $20 and $35. A nice copy can be generally had for $7-10, so it's no surprise these auctions will likely come and go without a sale. This week we'll look at interesting items that weren't overvalued, but still went unbid.

The J. Halpern Company, also known as Halco, was one of the 'Steve Canyon' licensees during the time late 1950s television series. Halco was a Pittsburgh-based toy company that made, among other things, costumes and dress-up clothes for kids. This first item is a Steve Canyon Halloween costume, produced under the "Super Halco" brand hame. This is the only example I've ever seen of this costume, and it appears to be in terrific shape. It was a steal at $10, but was not bid on.

Also from Halco, this children's dress-up Steve Canyon flight suit. The seller noted how he had a hard time finding any information on it, and no wonder. This only other time I've seen one of these is in the database of the Cartoon Research Library. The seller thought it was from the 1940s, but it's from 1959. The seller was correct in describing it as "quite rare." Not bid on, but it was a good deal at $29.00

'Terry & the Pirates', like many comic strips in the '30s, was also a radio program. Every afternoon, millions of fans, including Milton Caniff, followed the 15-minute installments of Terry, Pat and company. One common gimmick involved sendaway premiums for the program's listeners. This one comes from late in the show's run, from the show's sponsor, Quaker Oats. The brass base has adjustable bands with small images of dragons and brass band holding the aluminum tube on top. The rest you must glean from the vintage ad. I'm not too sure what a colloid is, but I think it's a microscopic particle or something. Hake's price guide puts this item between $100-200, but it went unbid on at $40.00.

Most cartoonists who did speaking engagements would incorporate a "chalk talk," a drawing demonstration on a board or large sheet of paper. By the 1980s, when this piece was created, Caniff had five decades of chalk talk experience. According to the seller, this was done in Dayton, Ohio. Caniff must have been delighted to be in front of a hometown crowd. This was one of three sketches up for auction. This one of Steve Canyon went unbid at $400, though another 'Canyon' character, Cheetah, did sell at that price.

From our "half a Terry is better than none" department comes this partial Sunday page. This one is frpm October 4, 1942. According to the seller, it's from the estate of the late Marvel Comics great Don Heck. This one has been relisted several times, first for $1200, then $950 and $900. Now it's back to $1200!?! I did see another partial from '43 that sold for $820. This one is the victim of high expectations.
Minimum bid of $1200.

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