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Auction of superhero memorabilia nets $70,000

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A vintage Superman costume worn by actor George Reeves in the 1950s superhero television series sold at an Indianapolis auction over the weekend for $5,250—a mere fraction of its estimated value.

The costume, said to be worth $120,000 to $150,000, was one of a few thousand Superman items that overall brought more than $70,000 at the Saturday sale.

George Reeves' Superman costumeGeorge Reeves' "Superman" costume is among items to be sold. (Photo courtesy Antique Helpers)

The mementos were owned by Fishers collector Dane Nash, who in March 2007 opened his American Super Heroes Museum in downtown Indianapolis. The museum closed just 10 months later after encountering legal and financial problems.

Items offered at auction were seized by court order and were offered without a reserve price, which likely led to more than a few bargains.

“Nothing sold for the kinds of values that were promoted by the museum,” said Dan Ripley, owner of Antique Helper Auctions, the local auction house that conducted the sale.

Still, Ripley considered the auction a success, judging by the number of bidders and interest from overseas.

Roughly 200 bidders attended the sale, in addition to about 150 others who either registered to bid online or by phone. Some of those submitted bids from as far away as Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada, Ripley said.

“Any time we have that amount of active bidding, we have to assume that we did our job, meaning we exposed it to the market,” he said.

The top-selling memento was a full-size Batmobile replica that fetched $12,000. A replica Batboat sold for $5,000.

Other big-ticket items included a costume worn by Dean Cain in the “Lois and Clark” TV series that brought $3,250, and another worn by the late Christopher Reeve in his “Superman” movies that reaped $3,000.

The auction lasted seven hours. Several smaller items were bundled together and sold in “lots.”

The assortment was considered to be the second-largest collection of Superman-related memorabilia in the world.

For reasons unknown to him, Ripley said, the entire collection had been offered and then removed twice at auction, in 2009 and 2010.
 

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  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

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