One Schmell of a Comics Auction: Legendary Collector Begins Offering the Finest Collection of Silver Age Dell and Gold Key Titles


DALLAS, Texas (Oct. 27, 2022) – Legendary comic book dealer and collector Doug Schmell has once again chosen to offer to collectors some of the most special pieces from his personal collection.

A decade ago, the founder of auction site Pedigree Comics sold his spectacular Marvel collection through Heritage – a sale that realized more than $3 million and set numerous records. As a follow-up, he has chosen Heritage to auction his latest $3 million collection: the finest-known collection of Silver Age Dell and Gold Key comics, the result of his years-long crusade to get his hands on the best Astro Boy, Star Trek, Scooby Doo and Donald Duck comics ever to spin on a comics rack.

His collection consists of nearly 5,000 comics, the overwhelming majority of which are pedigree copies and file copies. Many of which are the finest-known CGC-graded copies.

Heritage will proudly feature this historic assemblage during several Showcase and weekly auctions throughout the next 18 months. But it all kicks off now with Doug’s Dell & Gold Key Comics Showcase Auction, which is open for bidding now heading into the Nov. 3 live event.

“Since my first sale in 2012 and up to this day, the team at Heritage has been a pleasure to work with,” Schmell says. “They’ve also become close friends outside of comics, and they’ve always been responsive to my many requests. More importantly, they consistently delivery record prices. I am thrilled to offer this historic collection through Heritage.”

Highlights for this inaugural sale include the very first Star Trek comic book ever published by anyone: Gold Key’s deeply coveted (and oft-reprinted) book from the summer of 1967, which was published mid-way through The Original Series’ first run. Gold Key’s writer and artists – among them Len Wein, Dick Wood, Nevio Zeccara and others who never received proper credits inside the book – never had much to work with; Trek’s producers gave them only a show bible and some promotional photos, which were used on the cover.

For years, the Gold Key comics were the only way Trek fans could read new stories about the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. This inaugural issue contains the tale “The Planet of No Return,” a strong send-off for Kirk, Spock, McCoy as they began their 12-year, 62-issue mission for Gold Key. And, of course, Schmell offers an extraordinary copy graded Near Mint+ 9.6 by CGC; there’s only one issue known with a higher grade.

There was only one issue of 1965’s Astro Boy – and, of course, Schmell has the finest-known copy of this rare one-off, which is graded Near Mint-Mint 9.8 by CGC. He’s also offering a title that’s currently tied as the No. 7 book on Overstreet's list of Top 25 Bronze Age Comics: 1970’s Scooby Doo No. 1, which marked the first comic book appearances of Scooby, Shaggy Rogers, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley, who’s soon to be the star of her own HBO Max series from Mindy Kaling. This Near Mint 9.2 copy is already proving a hit with collectors bidding in this auction.

Also featured: a Near Mint 9.6 copy of Green Hornet Comics No. 1, published in 1967; the first issue of Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom (Gold Key’s first original character) graded Near Mint 9.4; and, from 1962, the best-known copy of the first comic to feature that best-known First Couple of Toys, Barbie and Ken, graded Near Mint-Mint 9.8. Just in time, too, for their big-screen debut starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

While Schmell’s collection emphasizes the Silver Age, there are plenty of Golden Age highlights sprinkled, among them Four Color No. 9 from 1942, featuring Donald Duck in a Near-Mint 9.6 slab. Donald also adorns the cover of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories No. 2 from 1940. Schmell, of course, has the highest-graded copy in the CGC: a Near Mint 9.6

But don’t forget Warner Bros.’ beloved characters. Schmell certainly didn’t, as this auction includes the first comic book appearances of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Elmer Fudd: 1941’sLooney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics No. 1.

And that’s not all, folks: Click here to see all 481 comic books being offered by Schmell in this very special first round of many more to come.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet’s most popular auction-house website,, has more than 1,500,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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Robert Wilonsky, Communications Director 214-409-1887; [email protected]

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