For Mark Reynolds, auctions like the one scheduled for Stephenson’s Auctioneers & Appraisers gallery in Southampton on Friday represent a time machine. As he stares at the classic comic books from a half-century ago, he is escorted down memory lane.
The mere sight of those comics detailing the thrilling exploits of Batman, Spider-Man, and the legion of superheroes within the pages vividly remind the Doylestown resident of those summer days of his childhood, sitting on his front porch with his friends, sipping Cokes, and marveling at, well, the heroes of Marvel and DC Comics. He sees the old, and he is young.
“Seeing those comic books — Batman using his wits to outsmart Joker, Spider-Man shooting his webs and swinging from building to building to catch a crook, Superman using his powers to save the world — makes me feel like a kid again,” said Reynolds, 59. “Seeing them right in front of you, not, like, on a website, makes those memories so real.”
Memories will be in great supply at Stephenson’s auction. The 5,000-square-foot gallery will be packed with collectibles, memorabilia, posters, autographed animation cels, lithographs, and figurines, all available for bid in person or via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
In addition to comic books, other items available for bid are boxing posters and championship fight programs, including those of George Foreman, Oscar de la Hoya, and Thomas (Hit Man) Hearns. Also available are rock concert posters and other music items, including a framed Bob Marley set that includes a 1980 Bob Marley and the Wailers “Uprising” LP with its signed sleeve.
Comic books, cartoons, music, memories, and more.
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“It’s just an interesting eclectic mix of items,” said owner Cindy Stephenson, who is also an auctioneer and appraiser. “People seem to have so much fun at the auction.
“A lot of it is about seeing the things you loved as a kid. That’s what adults collect now. For example, we did rock concert posters for the first time in August of 2020, in the heart of the pandemic. We had just been allowed to open to the public again, and it was a bit of a risk, but we knew the posters were fabulous. We had 350 of them, and it was record-setting. We had the Stones. The big sellers were a Grateful Dead poster that sold for over $15,000, and a Jimi Hendrix poster that sold for more than $12,000.
Among the 302-lot items at Stephenson’s auction is a trip back to a 1960s animated TV family of the future: The Jetsons. Lithographs and cels of George; his boy from him, Elroy; daughter, Judy; Jane, his wife of him; and Rosie the Robot maid, and Astro the dog are autographed by series co-creators and legendary animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
“It’s such a fun business, and we’re always learning more,” said Stephenson, who grew up in Upper Southampton, and in 1987 joined the family business founded by her father, Robert, in 1962.
“But I never intended to join; I resisted it when I first got back from (University of Texas), where I majored in photography. I was working in a professional photo lab before I got married. But after I had a son, I needed part-time work. My dad said I could work part-time and make my own hours. Been here ever since.”
Reynolds said he’s considering attending the auction. But even if he can’t afford to bid high enough, that walk down memory lane might be just what the doctor ordered.
“Do you know what I think it is, really?” he said. “I think the superheroes always doing good things, and the great-sounding music you’re reminded of by seeing those posters, it takes you back to a time when you felt really good. And these days, it’s something we could really use.”
Stephenson auction will be held Friday, April 22, at 2 pm Goods may be inspected from noon until the bidding starts. For more information, go to www.stephensonauction.com.
Columnist Phil Gianficaro can be reached at 215-345-3078,email@example.com @philgianficaro1 on Twitter.