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Old 08-13-2017, 11:03 AM   #1
risingstar
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Does this Heritage sale serve as commentary on Alex Ross artwork sales numbers?

I was wondering what you guys think of this... I've been wanting a Ross piece for some time but the prices for his work seem inconsistent and all over the place, even when the same piece is resold, it seems. Take this recent Spiderman Ross cover for example: Learning to Crawl #1.3. If memory serves, Ross' agent originally had this one up for 20k or 25k. I think it was 25k as that appears to be the general asking price for new Ross Spidey covers. It eventually sold but I can't say how much it really sold for, perhaps there was some play on price. However, it just sold this weekend for $7170 on Heritage which includes the hefty 20% buyer's premium (i.e., around $6k before the buyer's premium). Assuming the original owner paid the original asking price ($20k to $25k), I imagine the owner lost somewhere between 14k-19k. This is not chump change.

What do you guys think happened here? Heritage gives people lots of time to check out their upcoming sales so ''not knowing'' may not be a major factor. Mediocre Spiderman cover perhaps? Sure, there's a large Aunt May in the image but it is still a full body Spidey, and the piece is rather large: approximately 14 by 21 inches. Was the agent's price exorbitant to begin with? Are deeper pocket collectors that out of touch with actual market values? Will this have an impact on future Ross after-market sales? I imagine secondary market sales figures like this would make at least some collectors gun-shy about paying huge money.

Thoughts?

P.S. This post isn't meant to come off as a criticize-Ross post. I am a huge fan, and I truly hope own to one day own an original piece.






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Old 08-13-2017, 11:16 AM   #2
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I suspect this auction is much closer to the actual value of Ross pieces...
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mfinn123 View Post
I suspect this auction is much closer to the actual value of Ross pieces...

I feel inclined to agree. I wonder if this sale will invite some discussion in the art collecting community as Ross' agent is presently selling other Spidey pieces from the same era for $20k-$25k. If this Heritage sale is to serve as compelling commentary, $20K-$25k doesn't seem quite worth the asking price. The again, artwork isn't really about what most people will pay, it's often about what one person is willing to pay. Then again, in an auction setting, if you only have one person willing to pay a high price without anyone else to challenge him/her in counter bids, then a reserveless auction could end at a really low bid.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:33 PM   #4
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The piece isn't good. A giant Aunt May is a HUGE detractor, regardless of what else is going on, IMO.

That said, I do believe this is more closely in line with Ross' art valuation. He puts out a lot of covers; most of them appear unsold from what I see, whether that's correct or not.

The art is great, but for the most part, you can't tie most of them to a memorable story. Buying his current artwork is typically exclusively for the merit of the art, and there's nothing wrong with that, but how much of that can you afford with so many similar pieces sitting unsold if you're to consider the investment side?

My two cents, though I don't know all too much about Ross!
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:34 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mfinn123 View Post
I suspect this auction is much closer to the actual value of Ross pieces...
I couldn't agree more.

I don't play in this end of the pool and only slightly pay attention to Ross prices (as I believe they are way too high) so my perspective is a casual one. I think this is what happens when you get an artist/rep that don't want the market set the price and decide to try and steer the market toward their asking prices. Capullo is doing it with his newer Batman stuff as well (and maybe other art, I don't know). Most good art appreciates over time, organically in the market but there are a few artists that don't want to sell low and watch it appreciate when it changes hands multiple times. They basically want to sell the art now for what they expect it to be worth down the road. That being said, if people are paying for it, I don't blame them at all as it is their livelihood and I don't begrudge anyone for maximizing their earnings.

This is the perfect case - what is originally sold for vs what the open market brought and yes, I am sure the owner is taking a major bath and handing a bunch of money back to HA if there was an advance.

A few more examples like this will likely seriously jeopardize Ross paintings going forward as it will give any buyer who has even the slightest idea of selling the art in the future a major pause before writing a 25K check.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:37 PM   #6
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Also, I think Aunt May as the focal point in this piece is what kept it from selling higher and I would expect this might be a low water mark for most of the Ross paintings I have seen if they were to come to auction.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:40 PM   #7
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Interesting observation. Personally, I haven't thought Ross' prices were that exorbitant relative to the rest of the hobby these days. Personally, I think Ross is on a planet all by himself when it comes to the comic world...one whose work I haven't sought out, simply because I totally expected every piece to be in the 20K+ range.

Dell'otto is another artist that comes to mind (my all-time #1) whose "dealer" prices seem awfully high these days. I've tried to pay close attention to auction results to see how close the secondary market is to these prices and for the most part, it's been pretty similar, but I don't think we've seen one of those 10-20k Gabe pieces come up for Auction. I'm talkin' the DKR covers and DC work.

I wonder if the Ross anomaly is just due to May being the central figure of the piece. Sure, Spidey's still in there, but your eyes are drawn to May...who's beautifully rendered, but this might be the reason why some Ross Collectors and heavy hitters didnt take the plunge.

Personally, I dont feel like the Ross and Gabe ask prices are THAT insane relative to the rest of the hobby...fully realized paintings should be more expensive than pen/ink pieces IMO, especially from guys on their level...same goes for Rude, Jusko, Stelfreeze, etc. In saying that, the market's still out of control across the board.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:53 PM   #8
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After a quick look at past Auction results on Ross pieces, there does appear to be a significant gap between his "premium" pieces and his regular pieces. Lots of nice pages in the 3-7K range....and a bunch with supes/bats/spidey in them, but just like the May piece, lots with randoms as the focal point, detracting from the desirability of the overall piece.

Anything from Kingdom come, or anything that has that iconic/traditional ross feel wont go for less than 15-20K these days (alot of those sales are 4-5 years old on Heritage), with some going in the 20-60K range. I still dont feel like the Ross pieces are that overpriced, but its just like any other artist, overpaying on the sub-premium pieces will always lead to a $ hit.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Punisher1919 View Post
Interesting observation. Personally, I haven't thought Ross' prices were that exorbitant relative to the rest of the hobby these days. Personally, I think Ross is on a planet all by himself when it comes to the comic world...one whose work I haven't sought out, simply because I totally expected every piece to be in the 20K+ range.

Dell'otto is another artist that comes to mind (my all-time #1) whose "dealer" prices seem awfully high these days. I've tried to pay close attention to auction results to see how close the secondary market is to these prices and for the most part, it's been pretty similar, but I don't think we've seen one of those 10-20k Gabe pieces come up for Auction. I'm talkin' the DKR covers and DC work.

I wonder if the Ross anomaly is just due to May being the central figure of the piece. Sure, Spidey's still in there, but your eyes are drawn to May...who's beautifully rendered, but this might be the reason why some Ross Collectors and heavy hitters didnt take the plunge.

Personally, I dont feel like the Ross and Gabe ask prices are THAT insane relative to the rest of the hobby...fully realized paintings should be more expensive than pen/ink pieces IMO, especially from guys on their level...same goes for Rude, Jusko, Stelfreeze, etc. In saying that, the market's still out of control across the board.
I see what you are saying with paintings vs traditional pencil/ink art and you'd think there would be more of a gap but, for me, there just isn't. Paintings are great and amazing to look at but they don't resonate with me like pencil/ink pieces. Comics aren't rendered in painted pages which is probably why I don't gravitate toward them. I love good line art and quality inking and I have to think that most that are in this hobby would fall into that category. When I see a great painting, I think more of fine art but not as much in the comic art category. For this reason, the price tag often becomes prohibitive for me as the price of a painted piece goes a long way for more traditional art. My only painted piece is from Chris Stevens and I picked that up more because I am a huge fan of his art and wanted to see what he did with it. I absolutely love it but I feel like I have scratched that itch. Maybe a Jusko down the road if I am wanting something painted but I don't know. I also agree with Kyle in that a lot of Ross art feels somewhat disconnected from a story arc or great issue as he is a cover artist. They are great stand alone pieces and look great on a wall with no additional context ... but it just doesn't resonate for me personally.
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JadeGiant View Post
I see what you are saying with paintings vs traditional pencil/ink art and you'd think there would be more of a gap but, for me, there just isn't. Paintings are great and amazing to look at but they don't resonate with me like pencil/ink pieces. Comics aren't rendered in painted pages which is probably why I don't gravitate toward them. I love good line art and quality inking and I have to think that most that are in this hobby would fall into that category. When I see a great painting, I think more of fine art but not as much in the comic art category. For this reason, the price tag often becomes prohibitive for me as the price of a painted piece goes a long way for more traditional art. My only painted piece is from Chris Stevens and I picked that up more because I am a huge fan of his art and wanted to see what he did with it. I absolutely love it but I feel like I have scratched that itch. Maybe a Jusko down the road if I am wanting something painted but I don't know. I also agree with Kyle in that a lot of Ross art feels somewhat disconnected from a story arc or great issue as he is a cover artist. They are great stand alone pieces and look great on a wall with no additional context ... but it just doesn't resonate for me personally.
I should clarify. It's not that paintings resonate with me any more than pen/ink pieces do, I think it's just that it's easier to justify a higher price-tag with a painting due to exactly what you said: the "fine art" element. I agree that not a lot of Ross pieces are tied to a memorable story, since he does a ton of cover work, many of which is not tied to anything overtly memorable, but this is no different from any other prominent artist....Capullo, (both) Adams', JRJR, even the King...they did tons of work on stories that no one cares about or really remembers, but their legacy is built on the titles we do remember, and don't forget Kingdom Come and Marvels...IMO, there's never been art in a comic book like that before.
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