Stolen (and recovered) collection of rare Batman comics to be auctioned

Heritage Auctions is selling a famous collection of Batman comic books, ones that had been stolen and later recovered by the owner.

One of the world's most prominent collections of Batman comic books heads to auction in November – two years after the comics were stolen out of a Florida self-storage unit.

This is the CGC-certified, award-winning, headline-making Alfred Pennyworth Collection amassed by Randy Lawrence, who, only a few months ago, thought he might never again see the comics he spent most of his 60 years collecting. The brazen theft around the beginning of 2019 made national headlines; the arrests, too. And for nearly two painful and terrifying years, Lawrence almost single-handedly worked to secure the collection's return.

When he said farewell to the Batman books for a second time earlier this year, at least it was on his terms: Lawrence helped load the comics into a van headed for Heritage Auctions' Dallas headquarters, so they could be auctioned beginning Nov. 19-21 during Heritage's Comics & Comic Art event.

"And when they went on the van and it drove away, it was like saying good-bye to your kid going off to college," Lawrence says, "except I am not going to see them again."

Lawrence's decision to part with his collection of more than 1,000 Dark Knight issues brings to market some of the finest graded Batman and Detective Comics issues ever available in a single place.

The collection's Golden Age issues will be available in the November auction, and include: Batman No. 2, graded CGC 9.0Batman No. 6, CGC 9.4Detective No. 140, CGC 8.0Batman No. 20, a CGC 9.4; and Batman No. 38, a CGC 9.6. Lawrence has nearly a complete run of Batmans after issue No. 2 and Detectives following No. 37. And many of the books in the sale are among the highest-graded copies ever to hit the market.

For proof of this collection's acclaim and pedigree, look no further than the online catalog's description of Detective Comics No. 134, graded CGC NM+ 9.6. "Not only is this mind-blowing copy the highest-graded one certified by CGC," reads the catalog for the Nov. 19-21 event, "it's also the first one we've seen with a grade above VF/NM 9.0!"

The collection's Silver and Bronze age issues will be available in January's signature sale. And additional titles, most of which are more modern in vintage, will be available in weekly Sunday sales beginning in January.

"Randy was diligent in building his collection," says Aaron White, a consignment director in Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art category. "He was devastated when the books were stolen, but earlier this year he called me and said, 'I got the books back and I would feel more comfortable selling them now so it doesn't happen again.'

"I can totally understand. He went through a terrible ordeal and worked really, really hard to recover the books. He was thrilled to get them back, and I'm excited we're getting to sell them. It's a really special collection."