What hurts most for Mark Rowland is not the loss of $300,000 worth of Silver Age comics and vintage toys, it’s the immediate cost of replacing the front door and installing upgraded security, which means that money can’t be used for his usual Christmas charity donations.
Rowland is the owner and operator of River House Traders in Wichita, Kansas. Though the retail establishment is just over a year old, Rowland himself has been collecting comics for 50 years, and said he has one of the largest Silver Age collections west of the Mississippi. He estimates his total inventory at over four million comic books and over 180,000 toys from before 1980.
The store was burglarized by a single individual on the morning of November 19 between 5:10 and 5:45 am. Rowland knows this because a security camera across the street captured blurry footage of the crime. "It took him about 10 minutes to get through the reinforced glass (of the front door)," Rowland said. "It would have made more noise if I didn’t have comic books pasted up on either side of the glass."
None of Rowland’s comics have been certified by grading services, as he feels his own 50 years of experience collecting Silver Age books is good enough to judge quality. He did share that the comics can be identified as his by invisible marks that show up in ultraviolet light.
Rowland must now spend money to replace the front door and upgrade the store’s security system, including installing cameras, when he’d rather be spending on community giving. Rowland is a supporter of the Wichita Children’s Home, where he himself spent time as a youth. He said he usually also helps out several low-income families with Christmas gifts. "Ten (families) is all my wife will let me do. She has her own charities she supports too."
Here is list of stolen property listed in the Wichita Police Incident Report (partially corrected, but still containing errors, according to Rowland):
Avengers Vol 1. #1 – 4
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1. #3, 4, 6, 14, 23, 25, 100 - 104, 129, 136
Tales of Suspense Vol 1. #39 - 42, 49
Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #1, #2
Hulk Vol 1. #181
X-Men Giant Size Vol. 1 #1, 2, 3
Showcase Vol 1. #23-24
Star Trek Vol 1. #1-16
New Mutants Vol 1. #98
Walking Dead Vol 1. #1
Harley Quinn Vol 1. #1
Star Wars Millennium Falcon in Box
High Grade Silver Age Books, 'Millennium Falcon' Stolen
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