This copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 is the first issue we are selling from the Paul Michalke Collection. I’ve known Paul for over 25 years and he was one of the nicest, most soft spoken men I’ve ever known. He loved comics and everything about them. He especially loved Marvel comics and especially the Incredible Hulk!
Paul Michalke started collecting comics in the 1960s when he was in college. I don’t know how he first got introduced to comics but once he started reading them he was hooked! Like so many of us now, he couldn't wait to get the new issues every week. He was definitely a “completist” and he had to have every issue in the run, if possible. His love for the medium and encyclopedic knowledge of storylines and characters, especially Marvel comics, was unmatched by anyone I know. He was a customer of Galaxy Comics for its entire existence, over 25 years. When he was in good health, I can count on two hands the number of "New Comic Days" he missed. His standing pull-list was basically “All Marvel super-hero comics”. He also bought almost every DC super-hero title from the mid-1980s until the start of the New 52 and a few stray series like Fables, John Carter: Warlord of Mars and American Vampire. He didn’t care for “alternate universes” so his collection is missing the books from the Ultimate line and series like Star Wars, Conan or What If?. When it is all said and done, I estimate his total collection is in the 25,000-30,000 book range (two-hundred tightly packed short boxes, more or less).
He also loved Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft. In addition to his comics he had an extensive library of Conan, John Carter and many, many other fantasy and horror books. So far we have packed up 40 boxes of paperbacks and haven't even started on the hardcovers. Those will be on Amazon or Ebay... someday! It’s odd to me that he didn’t collect the Conan comics but he just bought what he wanted to buy. He was also a big fan of the Universal Monsters and had all of the movies on DVD or VHS.
Paul had some health issues for several years and was in and out of the hospital as his condition waxed and waned. During that time his wife still bought his comics every week, even if he had no desire to read them at the time. We always hoped that one day he would be “his old self” and once again get caught back up reading the comics he loved so much. However, Paul passed away in November, 2015. He and I discussed his collection numerous times over the years and it was always his plan for Galaxy Comics to consign this incredible collection for his wife, should the inevitable happen.
Strictly speaking, Paul did not start collecting with Fantastic Four #1. He started in the mid-60's so the earliest issues in his collection were purchased from other collectors, through mail-order or at conventions. However, the overall condition of the collection gets very nice, very quickly. It is important to remember Paul started collecting in college, not as a child, so all of his books were bought, read, and carefully stored. I expect most of the issues after 1965 to be at least 8.0 with many in the 9.x range once they are graded. We are having all of the key issues of this collection graded by CGC. We started with the Amazing Fantasy #15 because it is the biggest book in the collection and it is ultimately going to cost several thousand dollars to get the other books graded. We are going this route both because graded comics are much easier to sell but also to establish provenance of the more valuable comics in this collection.
I looked into getting this collection "Pedigreed" (is that a word?) by CGC but I don't think it meets their criteria. It is a huge, very nice, significant collection, though, so we are going to make our own pedigree: The Michalke Collection. I commissioned a piece of art from Joseph Michael Linsner to use for the Certificate of Authenticity and we will be including a CoA for any books that we get CGC'd. Any key or siginificantly expensive book also comes in a portfolio from Slab Pro because I think those are pretty darn cool and they display the books really well.
We will be posting pictures of some of the better books as we get them back from grading. It saddens me to break up this amazing collection but it is what he wanted. His wife has no interest in the comics themselves and Paul always knew that his passion for comics would eventually help his wife out a great deal financially. I take some solace in knowing that most of his comics will be going to other passionate comic book fans. Side note: I will admit, I really underestimated the value of this collection going in. Now that we've gotten back most of the big keys from CGC I'm a little shocked at just how much this collection is going to be worth.
<- Click this image to watch a video about the collection on Youtube.
Update: I want to thank "Bob From Ohio" for buying the Amazing Fantasy #15 (among others). Bob is a big Silver Age collector and I know he will give this book a good home.
Below are some, but by no means all, of the major keys from this collection.