A Sale of Neil Gaiman’s Collection Surpasses Expectations to Fetch $1 Million

Some of the proceeds will go to two charities that help creatives who are down on their luck.

Neil Gaiman at Heritage Auctions' sale of items from his collection. Photo: Josh Jordan, courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Novelist and comics creator Neil Gaiman has parted with some of his treasures at Heritage Auctions in a sale that started online and culminated in an in-person appearance at the house’s Dallas headquarters and fetched $1 million, exceeding the house’s expectations. All 125 lots found buyers, and more than 1,200 bidders vied for lots including original comic artwork, signed books, a puppet made for the stop-motion film Coraline, and awards Gaiman has won. 

Leading the sale at $132,000 was a gift from writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons: a signed and inscribed page from their mini-series Watchmen. It depicts the character Nite Owl awakens from a horrific dream in which he and his lover Silk Spectre are obliterated by a nuclear blast. Gaiman was one of three people to whom Moore and Gibbons dedicated the title. “I was obsessed by dreams,” Gaiman said, “and I had yet to come to write Sandman.”

Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, Watchmen #7, Story Page 16 Original Art (1987). Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Two items tied for second place, both fetching $96,000. One was a 1994 painting by Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, of the character Death of the Endless, who is the sister of the titular Sandman, who has been alive since the origin of the universe. The other was John Totleben’s cover of Miracleman No. 16; Gaiman would take over the title thereafter.

A drawing of a man and woman embracing high above the planet, under a starry sky

John Totleben, cover of Miracleman no. 16. Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

One item that was especially hard to let go of was the Coraline doll, which, Gaiman said, “has been in my bedroom in a glass case since 2009, and I had more qualms about letting her go than I did anything else in this entire auction. She’s there. She smiles at me. She’s special.” She fetched $72,000.

A doll of the title character from the stop motion animated movie Coraline.

Coraline and The Cat, original animation puppet for the 2009 stop-motion film Coraline. Courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Some of the proceeds of the sale will go to two charities: the Hero Initiative, which distributes money for medical and other needs to comics creators, writers, and artists; and the Authors League Fund, which assists people like authors, journalists, critics, poets, and dramatists in need due to medical or health-related problems, temporary loss of income, and similar hardships. 

“I love the idea of benefitting charities that look after authors who’ve fallen on hard times, that look after the artists and writers and creators of comics who’ve had hard times,” Gaiman said. “And I like the idea of normalizing the idea that we who bought [art] for $50 or $100 a page that now sells for tens of thousands of dollars a page get into the idea of giving something back to the artists who originally drew it. That seems to me an important thing to do.”

“It was a privilege to work with Neil and his team to realize his vision for this auction,” says Roberta Kramer, Heritage’s senior vice president of strategy and business development. “Heritage is proud to have assisted in raising these funds for these artists Neil is working to support.”

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