Sotheby’s Books & Manuscripts began a private sale today of DC Complete: The Ian Levine Collection, a complete run of every DC comic from 1934 to 2014, over 40,000 comics in all. The collection will be sold as a single lot.
Complete runs of Superman, Batman, Action Comics, and Detective Comics are included. From the images provided, it appears the key origin issues of the DC trinity (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are not slabbed and graded but are in high quality conditions.
The collection also includes rare promotional comics produced by DC artists and writers and featuring DC (or DC-Inspired) characters for various corporate and consumer product clients; ashcans; non-U.S. reprints; and book format collections.
Levine, a DJ and producer, began building the collection in earnest in London in the early 70s, continuing uninterrupted except for an aborted sale of key books from the collection in 1987. After selling the books, Levine had the ultimate seller’s remorse and bought them back at a 50% premium from the dealer to whom he’d sold them. Levine then continued to amass more books, assisted by dealer, advisor, and author of The Comic Book Paul Sassienie.
Levine’s collection was used for the photos in the Taschen tome by Paul Levitz, 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking, released in 2010 (see “’75 Years of DC Comics’”).