Stephenson’s in Upper Southamtpton will host an auction of vintage comics and posters

Stephenson's Auction Gallery in Upper Southampton will host an in-person and online event on Friday.  Items include classic superhero comics, rock posters and autographed lithographs.
Superhero figurines will be among the items up for sale at Stephenson's auction in person at Upper Southampton and online on Friday.

For Mark Reynolds, auctions like the one scheduled for Stephenson’s Auctioneers & Appraisers gallery in Southampton on Friday represent a time machine. As he watches classic comics from half a century ago, he is escorted back in time.

The mere sight of these comics detailing the thrilling exploits of Batman, Spider-Man and the Legion of Super-Heroes within the pages vividly reminds the Doylestown resident of those summer days of his childhood, sitting on his porch with his friends, sipping Cokes, and marveling at Marvel and DC Comics heroes. He sees the old, and he is young.

“Seeing these comics – Batman using his wits to outsmart Joker, Spider-Man shooting his webs and swinging from building to building to catch a crook, Superman using his powers to save the world – makes me feel like a kid again,” said Reynolds, 59. “Seeing them right in front of you, not, like, on a website, makes those memories so real.”

Vintage comics including Batman spotlight Stephenson's auction in Southampton on Friday.

Memorabilia will be in abundance at Stephenson’s auction. The 5,000 square foot gallery will be filled with collectibles, memorabilia, posters, autographed animation cels, lithographs and figurines, all available to bid in person or via the internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

In addition to comic books, other items available at auction are boxing posters and championship fight programs, including those of George Foreman, Oscar de la Hoya and Thomas (Hit Man) Hearns. Also available are rock concert posters and other musical items, including a framed Bob Marley set that includes an “Uprising” LP by Bob Marley and the 1980 Wailers with its signed cover art.

Comics, cartoons, music, memorabilia, and more.

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“It’s just an interesting eclectic mix of items,” said owner Cindy Stephenson, who is also an auctioneer and appraiser. “People seem to be having so much fun at the auction.

“A lot of it is seeing the things you loved as a kid. That’s what adults collect now. For example, we did rock concert posters for the first time in August 2020, at the heart of the pandemic. We had just been allowed to reopen to the public, and it was a little risky, but we knew the posters were fabulous. We had 350, and that was a record. We had the Stones. The big sellers were a Grateful Dead poster that sold for over $15,000 and a Jimi Hendrix poster that sold for over $12,000, and they were in mint condition.

Among the 302 lots in Stephenson’s auction is a trip to an animated future TV family from the 1960s: The Jetsons. Lithographs and cellulos by George; her son, Elroy; daughter, Judy; Joan, his wife; and Rosie the Robot maid, and Astro the dog are autographed by series co-creators and legendary animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

An autographed lithograph from The Jetsons, the 1960s animated television program, is among the items up for auction at Stephenson's auction on Friday.

“It’s such a fun business and we’re always learning more,” said Stephenson, who grew up in Upper Southampton and joined the family business in 1987 which was founded by his father, Robert, in 1962.

“But I never intended to join; I resisted it when I came back from (the University of Texas), where I majored in photography. I worked in a professional photo lab before I got married. But after having a son, I needed a part-time job. My dad said I could work part-time and work my own hours. I’m here since.

Reynolds said he plans to attend the auction. But even if he can’t afford to bid high enough, this walk down memory lane could be just what the doctor ordered.

“Do you know what I think it is, really?” he said. “I think superheroes always do good things, and music that sounds good reminds you when you see these posters, it takes you back to a time when you felt really good. And these days, that’s something we could really use.

The Stephenson auction will take place on Friday, April 22 at 2 p.m. Goods can be inspected from noon until the start of the auction. For more information, visit www.stephensonauction.com.

Columnist Phil Gianficaro can be reached at 215-345-3078,[email protected]and @philgianficaro1 on Twitter.