FAIRBANKS, Alaska – A longtime Alaska comic book buff is selling one of the gems in his vast collection, a rare copy of Batman No. 1 published 70 years ago.
Mike Wheat of Fairbanks has put the 1940 comic book on the auction block through Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, where it's expected to fetch more than $40,000. Online bids already have climbed to $35,000 for the book, believed to be one of fewer than 300 still in existence.
Wheat, a retired city wastewater treatment plant operator, said he considers the Batman comics an investment. He said it feels like the right time to sell.
"I just decided it's time for someone else to have it," he said.
The Batman No. 1 comic book was discovered after local businessman Ron Jaeger bought an old dresser at a garage sale in the early 1970s, then kept it in storage for a few years. When Jaeger finally brought it out, he noticed one of the drawers didn't slide easily.
Wheat already had a reputation as an avid comic collector in 1974, and Jaeger sold him the comic books for $300.