A huge amount of titles date from the 1960s – the highly collectable Silver Age of comic books.
Watch out for iconic characters such as Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, The X-Men, The Flash, Iron Man, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, Green Lantern, Thor, Metamorpho, The Justice League of America, Daredevil, Captain America, Metal Men, Superboy, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.
There are Action Comics, DC and Marvel and titles including Blackhawk, Challengers Of The Unknown, Atom, Doom Patrol, Tales Of Suspense, Mystery In Space, Strange Tales and Tales To Astonish.
Lots include the September 1963 introduction of The X-Men. Volume 1 Issue 1 "X-Men Versus Magneto Earth's Most Powerful Villain!!" features the first appearances of Angel, Jean Grey, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Professor X and Magneto.
Other first appearances include that of Daredevil in April 1964 – Volume 1 Issue 1 "Here Comes… Daredevil The Man Without Fear!", the Puppet-Master in November 1962 Fantastic Four Volume 1 Issue 8, Super-Skrull in September 1963 Fantastic Four Volume 1 Issue 18 and Metamorpho in DC's The Brave And The Bold Volume 1 Issue 57 in January 1965.
Further Volume 1 X-Men comics introduce Juggernaut (July 1965, Issue 12 – also featuring The Origin Of Professor X), The Sentinels (November 1965, Issue 14) and Banshee (January 1967, Issue 28).
Tales Of Suspense Volume 1 Issue 63 from March 1963, "Somewhere Lurks The Phantom", includes the origin of the Silver Age Captain America.
Everything can be viewed in person at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, on Saturday, August 3, from 9.30am until noon and on Monday and Tuesday, August 5-6, from 9am-4pm.
Telephone 01543 406124 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website and bid online via The Saleroom.
Auctioneer Richard Winterton said: “The Silver Age of comics marks a time of artistic advancement in mainstream US comics which also brought great commercial success.
“It also spelled a resurgence of the superhero following new regulations cracking down on comics’ content in the mid-1950s.
“But as well as having superpowers, these were revolutionary superheroes, often with flawed characters and realistic human failings. And that helped strike a chord with college students and branch out towards an adult audience too.”
The collection was built up by Reginald Clay, a driver from Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent, who started buying comics at the age of 10.
He later stored the haul in a special cupboard in his loft – and only told relatives of his treasured copy of the very first X-Men comic from September 1963.
Fifty-five years after The X-Men were introduced, Mr Clay had taken early retirement. But less than 12 months in he was diagnosed with cancer and died in March 2019 aged 65.
Before he passed away, Mr Clay asked his daughter and son-in-law to sell his comics but they had no idea of the scope of the collection.
“We had no idea he had so many,” said Mr Clay’s son-in-law, who has asked not to be identified.
“They were stored in a special cupboard in his loft and we didn’t expect to see so many.
“He had mentioned to us that he had the first edition of the X-Men but that was all.”
The Silver Age, which ran until around 1970, is commonly regarded to have begun with a new version of DC Comics' The Flash in October 1956.
Reacting to popular demand, DC published more superhero titles including Justice League of America – prompting Marvel to introduce The Fantastic Four followed by other now-iconic characters such as Spider-Man, The X-Men and the Hulk.
Important artists and writers who contributed to the Silver Age include Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Gardner Fox, Jack Kirby, Robert Kanigher, John Broome, Gil Kane and Curt Swan.
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