An Arizona man will auction his prized collection of more than 50 years’ worth of Marvel and DC comic books to pay for cancer treatment.
An X-Men super-fan, Robert Letscher’s extensive collection includes 1963’s X-Men #1 — the first appearance of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby co-created team — as well as 1979’s X-Men #122, autographed by Lee, and issue #112, signed by longtime X-Men scribe Chris Claremont.
“This year has been rough and included the removal of the esophagus and the stomach,” Letscher told Arizona’s KNXV. To combat what seems like an endless stream of medical bills, Letscher has already sent off some of his “best stuff” to New York to be professionally graded.
“It doesn’t stop, it just seems like each day when you get the mail you always know there’s going to be more of them in there,” he said.
A fan since the age of five, Letscher said he “just really loved Beast,” an ape-like mutant and founding member of the uncanny team of superheroes.
“I remember my earliest memories being so excited opening those bundles of comics and just seeing all the different characters,” Letscher said of his collecting, a hobby that has now lasted 50 years. “For some, it kind of makes you a hoarder but for others it makes you a super collector, so I try to go with the latter.”
Comics Letscher purchased as a boy with change are now worth thousands today. “It never really faded out for me,” he said. “I kept loving them all my life.”
Letscher’s original plan was to one day sell the collection and retire. Instead, he’ll sell his cache of books to keep his family afloat.
“I had just invested so much of my life’s energy into that collection, but you know when you think about it logically and as a parent, you know that you have to do right by your loved ones,” Letscher said.
The online auction will go live on August 19 and run through September 13 on Comic Connect.
“The consignor of the Key Comics Collection, Robert Letscher, is an incredibly meticulous and passionate collector, and all-around nice guy, who is battling cancer,” reads a post on the Comic Connect website. “His incredibly high-grade collection is the nest egg he set aside for his family. If ever there was a time to bid and bid and bid, it is on this very special night. Everyone here is pulling for Robert to kick cancer’s ass!”
Letscher will also sell a 7.0-graded copy of Timely’s Captain America Comics #1, valued at $125,750, and a 7.5-graded copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, valued at $82,600.
Other major issues to be auctioned include Superman #1, The Avengers #1, and Fantastic Four #5, the first appearance of Doctor Doom, as well as Detective Comics #38, the first appearance of Robin.
The Letscher family has also launched a GoFundMe, which has raised $4,220 of its $10,000 goal at the time of writing.