I came across a four year old article from the Daily Mail this morning about a man who was lucky enough to find what we all hope to find in the bin: a rare comic that we can make a fortune off. Only this man, an artist in Sheffield, England, didn’t know what he’d found…
Pulped fiction: Blundering artist destroys rare first edition of The Avengers and other valuable comics worth £20,000 to make papier-mâché sculpture.
You can read the full story over at dailymail.co.uk, but essentially Andrew Vickers ripped up several comics worth around $30,000 or so for a sculpture that’s worth less – and that’s only the comics you can see on the outer layer.
The sculpture was for an art show called Heroes ran by the World Of Heroes comic shop back in 2013. When the organizer of the show, Steve Eyre, noticed a familiar cover, he was somewhat shocked, saying that “it would have been cheaper to use Italian marble, because the raw materials that have gone into I could have sold for a lot more than he’ll sell the statue for.”
In an interview with the BBC, the sculptor said “If somebody chucks things out in the skip they don’t generally throw things out that are worth anything. To be honest I’m shocked but money has not got such a value to me. I think it is funny. I really love the idea of me creating something out of such expensive things that’s worth less. I think it’s brilliant.”
Although the statue probably sold for less than the value of its raw materials (if it sold – I can’t find any record of a sale), using marble would have been far more expensive for the artist because he found the comics in a bin and paid nothing for them. As much as I’d have loved to have his luck, not every person would immediately recognize the value of those comics nor would they necessarily think to check the value of them prior to tearing them up. Had it been baseball cards, then I’d have been in the dark when it came to the values of cards featuring some of the legends of the game, much like the artist was when he found the comics.
Does it suck for the artist to lose the potential sales from the comics? Absolutely, but aside from the universal heartbreak and resulting reaction of comic fans worldwide, at the end of the day Andrew Vickers is no worse off than before he found the comics.
And he does have an awesome talking point to his name.