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From Batman to Beatlemania: Pop culture on the block at Hake's Auctions

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Hake's Auctions President Alex Winter poses in his office at the Springettsbury Township business Thursday, March 5, 2020. He said most employees decorate their offices with items in their personal collections. The company is hosting an online and phone bidding auction March 11 and 12. Bill Kalina photo

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.

A signed, 1962 Beatles photocard–one of the earliest featuring Ringo Starr, Thursday, March 5, 2020, will be auctioned during Hake's Auctions online and phone bidding auction March 11 and 12. Bill Kalina photo

"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. 

Hake's Auctions Production Manager Todd Sheffer shows original artwork in the auction room at the Springettsbury Township business, which was used on the figure's retail boxes, left, Thursday, March 5, 2020. The company is hosting an online and phone bidding auction March 11 and 12. Bill Kalina photo

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. 

Hake's Auctions Production Manager Todd Sheffer holds the first Teenage Ninja Turtle comic in the auction room at the Springettsbury Township business Thursday, March 5, 2020. The company is hosting an online and phone bidding auction March 11 and 12. Bill Kalina photo

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."

A comic book featuring the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash, Thursday, March 5, 2020, will be on the block during Hake's Auctions online and phone bidding auction March 11 and 12. Bill Kalina photo

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 tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.