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Comic Book Artist's Prices Are No Joke

December 25, 1986|RONALD L. SOBLE | Times Staff Writer

Question: Could you give me some information about Alex Schomburg, the famous comic book artist whose work appears to be demanding top dollars these days?--C.T.

Answer: A number of readers have asked about Schomburg's artwork. The December issue of the Collectors Showcase auction catalogue (1708 N. Vine St., Hollywood, Calif. 90028), is offering a full-color cover painting by Schomburg in the $2,000-to-$3,000 range. He is described as "the greatest living cover artist of the 1940s Golden Age" of comic books.

Schomburg, 81, first published covers in the science-fiction field in the mid-1920s, according to a biographical sketch accompanying the auction offering.

"From then to the present, he has done story illustration and cover art for numerous pulp magazines," it said. "Early in the 1940s, Alex began to create cover art for Martin Goodman's Timely Comics and Ned Pines' Thrilling Group of Comics and soon became chief cover artist for both publishers."

Q: I have my grandfather's old wagon made by a firm in Wisconsin. It's pretty beat up and I can't read the company's name anymore. Can you help me?--V.M.

A: Quite probably you are referring to the Janesville Ball Bearing Coaster Wagon, which was manufactured from about the turn of the century until around 1930.

There is a firm in Wisconsin that, for about $190, will reproduce this toy classic: Wisconsin Wagon Co., 507A Laurel Ave., Janesville, Wis. 53545.

Q: As a record collector, I'd be interested in learning how the enormous--and important--record collection of Moses Asch, the founder of Folkways Records, is being disposed. I'd heard that there were a couple of thousand albums in his personal collection.--A.S.

A: Moses Asch, who died Oct. 19 at the age of 81, had about 2,200 albums in his collection. They represented a four-decade history of folk, country blues and jazz music, which included such artists as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetter and Burl Ives.

The valuable Asch collection is being transferred to the Smithsonian Institution's archives, where it will join a large inventory of American music ranging from early jazz and folk music to contemporary and classical works.

It's believed that the Asch collection contains every album recorded by Folkways. Also included is a political history, ranging from recordings of Teddy Roosevelt and Booker T. Washington to the Watergate hearings.


Plate collectors will want to read the 11th edition of "The Bradford Book of Collectors's Plates" (Charles Winthrope & Sons, New York: $17.50, color illustrations).

This glossy, 424-page coffeetable paperback, produced by the Chicago-based Bradford Exchange, a market for plate collectors, covers plate production in 16 countries.

Aside from collectible plate listings, of interest is back-of-the-book information, such as artist biographies and a number of plate indexes.

The book can be ordered through the exchange by calling toll-free, (800) 323-5577; or by writing: Bradford Exchange, P.O. Box 390, Niles, Ill. 60648. The price by mail is $19.25, including postage and handling.

Ronald L. Soble cannot answer mail personally but will respond in this column to questions of general interest about collectibles. Do not telephone. Write to Your Collectibles, You section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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