Here’s a great story from a collector friend of mine...
Hi Buddy, Here's some details on my most recent Popeye "find" of sorts. Last May, I got wind of the Marie Segar (Elzie Segar's daughter) estate auction a couple of days before it came off. Fortunately, you didn't have to be there in person to bid, as it was also set up for live bidding on-line.
Apparently not a lot of comic collectors even knew about the auction as the fine art auction house did not publicize it widely in comic circles. Good for me and the Chicago comic collectors and dealers who were there. Bad for Marie's heirs who could have probably netted an extra 100 grand if they had consigned everything to an auction house like Hakes or Heritage. Some of the area dealers at the auction broke up their lots and re-sold their winnings on eBay last summer, doubling or tripling their money in many cases.
Nevertheless things in the auction did not sell real cheap. I tapped my savings account to the tune of two semesters of college tuition for my daughter in order to bid. I won only 7 lots out of around 90 Segar lots. But most lots had multiple items in them. I acquired 200+ individual items overall. For example, I now own E.C. Segar's 1922 California drivers license, his 1917 draft card, his marriage certificate, and a lock of his son's hair, just to cite a few of the more arcane things I bought. The really good stuff included several original sketches, Popeye fan cards, personal letters, family photos, all his estate legal papers, etc.
The two big ticket items that I dropped a bundle on included a carbon "working copy" of the unpublished Popeye and the Sea Hag novel that Segar and Norton S. Parker wrote together in 1930-31. The draft has all of Segar's pencil edits and a couple of pencil sketches, as well as lots of notes next to passages he planned to illustrate for the book. It's pretty hot! Norton S. Parker was a novelist and B-picture screenwriter. He wrote the screenplay for the 1928 silent version of the roadshow picture "Road to Ruin" and later another Kent Willis exploitation movie in the 30s. But mostly he wrote numerous B-westerns in the 30s and 40s including movies for Roy Rogers, Tim Holt, Sunset Carson, Bob Baker/Fuzzy Knight, Hopalong Cassidy and others.
And I also acquired an art portfolio that Marie put together as a family keepsake containing early 30s daily and Sunday Popeye strip proofs, proofs of King Features promotional ads for Popeye, personal photos, B&W photos of 8 unpublished oil paintings he did of Popeye boxing in a prize fight, and other rare items.
It was a life-long Popeye collector's dream come true. Although I have had a twinge of buyer's remorse since then, because I spent the next six months scrimping and saving to return those funds I borrowed from myself back to savings. My daughter still deserves a college education, I suppose.
The auction itself is still posted on-line. You'll be muttering the phrase "Well, Blow Me Down!" again and again once you see what all was for sale.