Sculpted Superheroes Found in Skip Worth a Small FortuneJuly 23, 2013
When Sheffield artist Andrew Vickers discovered a pile of old comics in a skip, he kept them until he felt inspired to create a life-sized papier-mâché sculpture of a man that he called ‘Paperboy’. Unbeknownst to him, in order to produce the work he had shredded his way through £20,000 worth of rare and highly collectable comics. It was only when the work went on display at a local exhibition that the discovery was made; its raw materials would have earned him a small fortune.
First to notice the oversight was Steve Eyre, owner of the World of Superheroes memorabilia shop in Sheffield. Ironically, the work was specifically designed for an art exhibition he staged, named Heroes. As he browsed through the exhibits, his expert eye fell with horror on the cover from a first edition Avengers comic, making up part of the sculptures leg. His private collection includes a similar item worth in the region of £10,000, so the full extent of Mr Vickers comic carnage soon became clear.
My Eyre kept looking and eventually estimated the sculpture contained more than £20,000 worth of comics, with at least six first editions going to make up that total. Having concluded the statue could have been made from Italian marble and involved the same costs, Mr Eyre, a devoted comic fan, admits he has lost sleep over the whole affair.
Luckily, Mr Vickers is far more relaxed about his expensive oversight; the comics had been sitting unused for a number of months before he began work on the sculpture, seeing them as a perfect raw material. He had no idea of their worth, but assumed because someone had made the decision to thrown them in a skip, they would not be of any value.
Although he did not immediately see a potential use for the books, he could not simply leave them to be disposed of, saying “I just thought they were lovely things.” The financial aspect is not a big deal to the artist who goes by the name of Stoneface. Taking a philosophical view, he said “I think it’s funny. I really love the idea I have created something out of expensive things that makes it worth less.”
However, as Mr Eyre pointed out, there are a number of well-known and extremely wealthy comic book fans who may be interested in owning the piece. If celebrity enthusiasts Jonathan Ross or Nicholas Cage become involved in any purchase, it is likely Mr Vickers will benefit not only from the financial rewards, but from the increased exposure such a high profile sale would generate.
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