From Batman to Beatlemania: Pop culture on the block at Hake's Auctions
For Alex Winter, the president of Hake's Auctions, the saying "Buy what you love, and love what you buy" couldn't ring more true.
The local auction house, located in Springettsbury Township, is an adult playground for hobbyists looking to add political memorabilia or pop culture relics to their personal collections.
Its current auctions close next week, leaving collectors just days to outbid their competitors on items such as an Abraham Lincoln campaign flag or an autographed picture of The Beatles from 1962 — featuring newcomer Ringo Starr, who had joined the band just a few months earlier.
"You're either a collector or you're not," Winter said. "It's a lifestyle."
Items in the current auction went online Feb. 18. The auction for political items will end Wednesday, while the auction for pop culture mementos ends Thursday. Anyone can place a bid by going to Hake's website.
While some bidders plan on swooping in at the last minute to place their offers, some of the best items already have high bids, Winter said.
The comic book "Showcase" No. 4 published in 1956 and featuring DC's resident speedster, The Flash, for example, already has a bid at $36,855.50 — with eight days to go.
Winter said this particular comic is of high value because it is The Flash's first "silver age" appearance, an era notable as a period of commercial success in mainstream comic books from the late 1950s to 1970.
"It's important because the silver age ushered in the resurgence of superheroes," Winter said. "When this 'Showcase' No. 4 came out, it reintroduced The Flash — and that reopened the floodgates for other DC characters."
Though some people might think collectors are "bizarre," many fall into the hobby as an investment. Others simply want to relive their childhood years by pouring money into items they never had as children, he said.
Hake's Auctions' core audience, though, is mostly collectors.
"Whether they're a comic book fan or historical buff, it's really owning things that you cherish and like to look at on a daily basis," Winter said. "As long as you enjoy it, that's the most important thing."
— Reach Tina Locurto at email@example.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.