Who are we?
We are Joe and Nadia Mannarino, and we have been actively involved in
the field for nearly 30 years and have been collectors for over 40.
We own All Star Auctions LLC and are the same Joe and Nadia who inaugurated
the Comic Collectible auctions at Christies from 1992 through
1997, the last year Christies held the Comic Collectibles Sale.
For full resumes http://comicartappraisal.com/about.html
How did Comic Art Appraisal LLC come to be?
Comic Art Appraisal LLC is an extension of the formal appraisal services
that we have been administering for over 20 years. We are doing now
is formalizing and offering this service in a more public forum and
on an individual item basis. We have promoted this service in our literature
and on our site since the day we began, and in fact still do at: http://www.allstarauctions.net/apprais.htm
Also, http://www.comicartappraisal.com has been an active web site for
over five years, it is just being updated.
Is this a price guide or the beginning of a price
Our purpose is not to create a price guide, tell anyone what should
be charged or paid for their collectibles. However, collectors should
be aware of the factors that determine value in the current market.
Keep the actual price out of it, focusing on the factors that affect
demand and desirability. In addition, collectors should be interested
in the process and criteria an insurance company goes through when and
if a claim is filed, or what the IRS, a financial institution or legal
system requires when collectibles become an issue.
What is the purpose for a formal appraisal as opposed
to a rating?
During the last 20 years we have been involved in numerous insurance,
estate, IRS and disbursement appraisals as a service for clients. As
such, we have served all sides; clients who require a formal appraisal
for insurance coverage; insurance companies in the case of claims; institutions
for the purpose of IRS deductible donations/ contributions; the IRS
for the purpose of verification, as well as financial institutions which
may be issuing credit based on a collectible as collateral. The list
can go much further including diverse requests from attorneys. We have
provided these services for many if not a majority of the high profile
collectors, institutions, artists and estates in recent years who have
required it. We are proud to say that to the best of our knowledge,
no claim has been successfully contested. In this capacity Nadia is
a member of The Appraisers
Association of America. We have promoted this service in
our literature and on our site since the day we began, and in fact still
do at: http://www.allstarauctions.net/apprais.htm
Also, http://www.comicartappraisal.com has been an active web site for
over five years, it is just being updated.
This portion of our business has been growing steadily. The reason is
simple, as the value of collectibles have risen, so has fraud, the fear
of loss and the need for insurance. We have been successful in our responsibility
for a number of reasons. We have always formally addressed and documented
the 3 basic criteria that all of the above require;
Proof of ownership
Proof of authenticity
Objective criteria for establishing value
Charitable Gifts And Donations
Charitable gifts of Comic Books, Original Comic Art and related
material, come under the heading of Gift-In-Kind. Rules governing such
gifts are covered in The Internal Revenue Service Form 8283 which must
be filed by persons claiming the donation of a gift-in-kind valued at
more than $500. For more information do a Google search for Internal
Revenue Service Form 8283 and download the form with guidelines
and instructions. Appraisal requirements are outlined in detail.
Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Instructions for Form 8283
(Rev. December 2005)
Noncash Charitable Contributions
How does this service help establish Proof of Ownership?
In the case of an insurance claim or loss the more documentation one
maintains the better. In addition to maintaining proper records, having
an example of art photographed, described, rated and included in a third
parties database, satisfies two of the basic criteria; authenticity
and ownership. Regardless of documentation, most institutions will check
with a third party before rendering a final decision.
Stolen Art, Statute Of Limitations, Title
"Under United States law, neither a thief nor any purchaser through a
thief can take good title “
Ralph E. Lerner and Judith Bresler, ART LAW 1998 Practising Law
This is subject to
a statute of limitations which varies from country to country and state
to state. However, NY State and California have the toughest statutes.
A significant point, “ the statute of limitations period on the
claim to recover stolen property from a good faith purchaser does not
begin to run until the possessor refuses to return the object upon
It is estimated that over $100 million in stolen art changes hands each
year. If an object of art is reported lost or stolen and a false claim
is filed and paid it is considered stolen art. A good article on the
subject appears at: http://www.artcellarex.com/artlaw3.html
The Art Loss Register Ltd is a tremendous resource. The Mission of the
ALR is to recover stolen and missing fine art and antiques and to provide
a central clearinghouse for acquirers of art to determine good title
thereby deterring theft and the trade in stolen art. http://www.artloss.com
Collectors should consider how to minimize risk BEFORE purchase,
DURING ownership and what actions to take in the event of a LOSS.
How can you be an expert in all segments, eras and
categories of comic art?
No one can be an expert in every aspect of a field. In addition to a
comprehensive database of comparables, we have always contacted
and utilized people we feel are experts in particular segments. We will
continue to do this and have already engaged a core group of remote
experts. The key is for the art to arrive at a central location where
it can be examined, scanned and condition documented. The image and
data can then be sent to remote consultants for rating as we use a minimum
of three graders on each item.
Why not create a price guide?
Presently, a comprehensive price guide that attempts to determine a
value for each page of art ever produced, is futile. However, collectors
should be aware of the criteria that determines value in the current
market. Experienced collectors, dealers and professionals do this almost
instinctively through experience and knowledge. All we have done is
with the help of professionals, collectors and 20 years of formal experience,
document these criteria. We have consulted with insurance professionals,
collectors, dealers as well as some of the most prestigious professionals
in the field. Each participant signed a confidentiality agreement and
subsequently reviewed the elements of the evaluation process, while
providing a wealth of input based on their collective experience. The
structure and presentation required more than a year to conceive and
What is the purpose of the microscopic image and
Once a certificate is issued, what prevents an unscrupulous person from
attempting to reproduce the art while providing an authentic certificate?
How can an item be uniquely identifiable. Our solution is the following;
Provide a certificate with numerous security features
Capture a microscopic image of a tiny detail in the art, down to the
fiber pattern that we maintain in our records, and is not made public,
that can be used for a comparison in the future.
At all levels of service detailed notes are made about condition that
are included on the certificate.
If a person wishes we can take the extra step of placing the art with
the certificate in a standard archival Mylar (Melinex) sleeve and seal
the majority of the opening. As we note on our site It is currently
the position of Comic Art Appraisals LLC that for the purposes of rating
original comic art, encapsulation is not a necessity. Where condition
is critical in determining value, as in comic books or other mass produced
products, we feel encapsulation and professional inspection for restoration
is essential. However, we strongly advise those that consider purchasing
a rated example of art to read and compare the notes description on
the CAAR Certificate to determine if condition has changed from the
time the art was originally rated.
Is there a potential conflict of interest with All
Star Auctions LLC?
Disclaimers:- The first line on the back of each certificate under:
DISCLAIMER, LIMITING CONDITIONS AND ASSUMPTIONS reads as follows:
Comic Art Appraisal LLC and/or the employee rating the individual item
of art has no financial interest in the items and does not contemplate
any such interest in the future. In order to demonstrate the service
at San Diego we prepared sample certificates and included them in the
art we were exhibiting. This is why they were clearly overprinted with
How can you compare a cover to an interior page or
or art from different eras?
1. The ratings are relative to their classification of period within
the comic book timeline as described in the Overstreet Comic Book Price
Guide. E.g. Golden age to Golden age, Silver age to Silver age, Bronze
to Bronze, Modern to Modern, etc. The same holds true for professionals
within those time periods. As we progress, we will consider breaking
down these categories even further e.g. non-superhero golden age, humor,
funny animal, Marvel age, etc.
2. The ratings are relative to their classification as to format in
regards to front cover to front cover, chapter splash to chapter splash
and interior page to interior page, sketches to sketches, concepts to
concepts, roughs to roughs.
Are the 10 factors weighted equally?
1. Although it is a 100 point scale and there are 10 factors they do
not bear equal weight of 10 points each, rather the numerical points
next to the factors indicate the highest potential number of points
for each value factor.
What type of art will we be rating?
We use the term illustrated narrative art to describe comic
art, illustration and newspaper comic strip art. We represent Frank Frazetta
and routinely appraise the top tier of illustration art. We will not be rating sketches or
commissions as the market is extremely volatile for these two items.
How can art be rated when it is seemingly so subjective?
Sales among buyers and sellers occur every day. How does a dealer determine
a price when they are selling or how does a buyer decide what they will
pay when they are ready to make a buying decision? In fact we incorporate
objective criteria each time such a decision is made. Again, this is
very different than the emotional, nostalgic or aesthetic appeal that
initially drew one to the art.
Was anyone within the industry consulted to help
validate the criteria and process?
The process was reviewed by two dozen of the most respected groups of
professionals, dealers, and collectors in the field, including Steve
Geppi, Dan Walker, Jim Steranko, Scott Williams, Jerry Robinson, Albert
Moy, Larry Shell (who we eventually came to work with us), Jim Halperin,
Dave Mandel, and Steve Borock. Each participant signed a confidentiality
agreement and subsequently reviewed the elements of the evaluation process,
while providing a wealth of input based on their collective experience.
The structure and presentation required more than a year to conceive
Why and how can all the criteria begin with the letter
The criteria are relatively simple, we always had 10 but we heard from
our panel that they would be difficult to remember. Since
all but 3 of the criteria began with the letter C we changed
authenticity to confirmation, format
to configuration and aesthetics to creativity.
Are the aesthetics of an example of art
For our purposes, aesthetics should have little to do with subjective
taste, rather it refers to the elements of the art that the market recognizes
as important. Below is the definition for that criteria.
Creativity- defined as the aesthetic of the art, (relating to the
sense of the beautiful and to heightened sensory perception in general)
as well as technical mastery. Think of it as the how.
o Action as opposed to static
o Prime (sought-after) period for the artist
o High contrasts (dark background)
o Subject facing forward
o Quality of inking
o In the case of a collaborative effort (penciller/inker) the preservation
of the pencillers original vision.
o Proper proportions
o Effective and accurate foreshortening
o Anatomical correctness
o Ability to change the readers vantage point
o Control of values
o Use of wash
o Use of color
o Size of characters
o Innovative techniques including breakthroughs
o Uncommon medium for the milieu.
Is a high grade in all the factors always a positive?
Again, the criteria reflect the factors within the current market that
affect value. The most volatile factor is likely Cyclical Interest as
it addresses outside influences that can change with time, either upward
or down. When a high rating appears in Cyclical Interest one should
ask further questions.
Cyclical Interest- In all fields of collectibles, cyclical interest
can lead to spikes in value within a particular segment. Spikes are
usually temporary but in some instances remain on-going. Factors include:
o A collector(s) entering a field and impacting pricing by offering
uncharacteristic prices for a very narrow range of items.
o Institutional interest such as an exhibit or academic event.
o A happening such as a character or titles anniversary, a movie
or TV adaptation may increase (usually temporarily) interest leading
o In addition, within each collectibles market there are definite segments;
in comic book art they may be sectioned by age Golden age,
silver age, bronze age, or by publisher, Timely, Marvel, DC, Image,
Centaur, Fawcett etc.
o Characters and story lines enter in and out of favor as do artists
and titles. In determining a value rating , this cyclical interest should
be taken into consideration.
o Freshness to the market as defined by the number of times an item
has been offered as well as the length of time between offerings.
o A high cyclical rating should encourage further inquires into the
basis of the rating.