Billy Wright Pedigree Collection Fetches $3.5 Million

A significant portion of the the Billy Wright Collection brought in $3.5 million in a Heritage auction.

Wright’s 345 comics, almost all of which were published from 1936 through 1941, included Detective Comics No. 27 and Action Comics No. 1, in which Superman’s first appears.

Wright’s collection included 44 of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s top 100 issues from the Golden Age.

The copy of Detective Comics No. 27, from 1939, drew the highest bid Wednesday, selling for $523,000, including a buyer’s premium. Wright’s Action Comics No. 1, from 1938, sold for about $299,000; Batman No. 1 sold for about $275,000; and Captain America No. 2 sold for about $114,000.

“It was amazing seeing what they went for,” said Michael Rorrer, who discovered his late great uncle’s neatly stacked comics in a basement closet while cleaning out his great aunt’s Martinsville, Va., home after she died last year.

227 of the collection’s comic books sold on Wednesday for $3,466,264. The remaining comics will be sold online through Heritage Auctions this weekend.

The story of the comics is amazing, a find many collectors only dream about.

Rorrer, 31, said he didn’t realize how valuable the comics were until months after returning home to Oxnard, Calif., when he mentioned them to a co-worker who mused that it would be quite something if he had Action Comics No. 1.

“I went home and was looking through some of them, and there it was,” said Rorrer.

He reached out to his mother, Lisa Hernandez, who still had half the comics at her home in League City, Texas, that she intended to give to his brother in Houston. They then went through their boxes, checking comic after comic off the list.

Hernandez said it really hit her how valuable the comics were when she saw the look on Allen’s face when the auction house expert came to her house to look through the comics.

The find was a complete surprise for the family, and it is unclear if Ruby Wright was aware of the collection’s significance. Rorrer said he remembers her making only one fleeting reference to comics: Upon learning he and his brother liked comic books, she said she had some she would one day give them. He said his great uncle never mentioned his collection.

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