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Batman, Superman and Star Trek Costumes Sell for Huge Amounts at Auction

Oct 23, 2023

Costumes and props from TV shows including Batman, The Adventures of Superman, Star Trek, and more went to auction this past weekend, earning more than $5 million for Heritage Auctions. The big headline out of this weekend's Comisar Collection Platinum Signature Auction was the sale of the bar from Cheers, which sold for $675,000. The auction, ironically enough, happened almost exactly 30 years after the series wrapped up on May 20, 1993. Historic sets, costumes and props from All in the Family, Batman, Carson and Letterman, M*A*S*H and many more generated $5.35 million during the event.

The bar counter with brass railings and bar stools from the beloved NBC series found a new home Saturday night when it sold for $675,000 at Heritage Auctions, topping the three-day Comisar Collection Platinum Signature® Auction. The exhilarating bidding war over the bar was a fitting way to toast the long-running series that wrapped 30 years ago last month.

More than 4,700 bidders worldwide participated in the June 2-4 event, which saw sold off 1,000 props, costumes and sets from historic, influential and popular TV shows from the collection of James Comisar, who spent more than three decades collecting, conserving and preserving television history in the hopes of opening a museum that never materialized.

Comisar's magnificent costume collection included Adam West's Batman and Burt Ward's Robin comes from the 1960s series, which took in $615,000 during the auction's first day. Comisar was a superhero enthusiast, who also sold off a Bat-shield from the series for $110,000 and a Superman tunic originally worn by George Reeves for $150,000.

The auction also included sets, including the desk, chairs, couch, coffee table, and backdrop painting from the final decade of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show (which sold for $275,000); Archie and Edith Bunker's chairs from the ninth season of All in the Family ($250,000); an instantly-recoznizable signpost from M*A*S*H, which featured the names of the soldiers, doctors and nurses' hometowns and their distances from Korea ($150,000); and a desk and backdrop belonging David Letterman's NBC show ($100,000).

"We knew from the moment we began working with James last year that this auction would be extraordinary, and thanks to Heritage's client-collectors we were not wrong," said Heritage's Chief Strategy Officer Joshua Benesh. "These are amazing items with amazing stories – James' among them. We are proud to not only find them new homes but to share them with the world."

"The auction's success confirmed what I have always known: that television characters are cherished members of our extended family and that their stories and our own are inseparable," Comisar said. "The dedicated fans who acquired these TV treasures will surely give them kind homes and brighten the memories of bygone programs and performers. These pieces have finally been afforded the cultural significance they deserve, and I am honored to pass them on."

Back on the wardrobe side, Alan Hale Jr.'s captain's hat from Gilligan's Island sold for $62,500, as did Nichelle Nichols' Starfleet uniform – her operations-red top, the long black boots – worn during her first season as Star Trek's Lt. Uhura.