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One 12-cent comic book plus a Wichita toy show equals one ‘Amazing’ find

The final sale price for this rare 12-cent comic book will make your jaw drop

Toy and comic book buyer and collector Joel Magee, also known as "The Toy Scout," makes a deal with Rex Shoemaker for a very rare comic book. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)
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Toy and comic book buyer and collector Joel Magee, also known as "The Toy Scout," makes a deal with Rex Shoemaker for a very rare comic book. (Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

Money changed hands fast on Wednesday.

Rex Shoemaker nonchalantly brought in a few comic books he’d been holding onto since childhood. He patiently waited at the Wichita Vintage Toy Buying Show at the Springhill Suites on West Kellogg with others lined up to show their treasures.

First there was the guy who wished to remain anonymous and brought Hummel figurines and bells — not so collectible, said Toy Scout Joel Magee.

“You got bell-itus here,” Magee jokingly said. “But Christmas is coming. I always tell people you can regift the bells and they will still appreciate the thought.”

Then came a Disneyland horseshoe that said “Good Luck” and a Pizza Hut Pete bank. A Stan Musial baseball doll, baseball cards, a microscope and Brownie camera.

Deals were made: Magee offered $110 on the Hummels, $25 on the horseshoe and Pete; and another $100 for collection with the Musial doll.

Shoemaker held onto his comic books and waited.

Finally, Magee turned to Shoemaker. With a poker face, he glanced over the books – examining condition, tears, folds and scribbles.

Magee stopped moving when he came to one. It was an Amazing Fantasy 15 published in 1962 with the first appearance of a new super hero: Spider Man.

It is one of the most collectible comic books.

An 8-year-old Rex Shoemaker had written his name in pencil on the cover. He paid 12 cents for it.

Now in his 60s, Shoemaker looked at Magee.

“You brought out the big gun here,” Magee said. “This is a candidate for restoration. Pencil is good. Pencil can be removed through a very careful process. I’d rate this a 3. Three is okay. It is an average comic book. Anything above 5 is hard to find. A 6 is no tears, nothing is missing – which is tough because these were made for kids to read and pass on to the next kid.”

Shyly, Shoemaker told how he and his friends traded comic books when he was growing up in El Dorado. He put his name on the cover so he’d get it back.

Magee was silent as he quickly Googled on his phone.

“When you get something significant, it takes longer …,” Magee said. “I would do $11,000 on that, right here.”

The rest of the collection, Magee said, he would offer an additional $500. In cash.

Can you go higher? Shoemaker asked.

“Well, a little bit more. I am under pressure,” Magee said. “The best I can do is $12,000. I want to do a deal.”

They shook hands. Magee counted out and handed over $12,000 in cash to Shoemaker. The same comic book in mint condition would have brought closer to $15,000 to $18,000, Magee said.

“Rarely does this happen,” Magee said. “It is one of those things. There are only a few people in the world that ever get to hit the jackpot and today was your day. That’s the beauty of what I do. You never know what will show up.”

Shoemaker said he plans to use his $12,000 to help buy a new house.

The toy show runs through 5 p.m. Thursday.

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner

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