THE TREMONTS: HIGH GRADE SILVER & BRONZE AGE COLLECTION!
Two brothers from the Bronx set out to put together a complete Silver Age Marvel collection... and succeeded.
"I met Roman, the older of the two brothers, about a year and a half ago," Metropolis COO Vincent Zurzolo states. "He was interested in consigning his comics, but was very hesitant as he still loved them. My gut was telling me this was a really cool collection, in great shape and it had a great back story. After a year of talking on the phone, meeting George (Roman's brother and partner in the collection) and viewing the collection at two separate locations, we signed a consignment agreement and were in business," Zurzolo added.
The collectors' family was originally from the Ukraine. After WWII they moved to Germany, where they lived in a DP, or displaced persons camp. Roman was born there and then the family immigrated to the USA where George, the younger brother, was born. Roman started reading comics in 1956 after receiving a box of funny books from his grandmother. Neighbors were throwing out a box of comics and his grandmother thought her grandson might enjoy them... little did she know! Roman started on Andy Panda, Bugs Bunny and a variety of other 50s Dells. He read and reread them over and over again. The addiction had begun. He started buying comics in 2nd hand book stores. He started collecting DCs and Dells but remembers the first Marvel he bought like it was yesterday -- Fantastic Four #6 was the book. He remembered the Sub-Mariner from several Golden Age comics he purchased and wanted to know what happened to him. He also fondly remembers buying X-Men #1. Having read the Golden Age JSA in All Star Comics he thought the X-Men might be similar. He was delighted with both titles.
As kids, George looked up to his big brother and decided he would collect comics too. They built the collection together. They split everything 50/50. However, the brothers were very different in their inspirations for collecting. George was a completist and loved to organize the comics. "Even after we grew up and got married I would go to Roman's house every 10 years to organize the runs. It would take me weeks and it was so much fun," George gleefully remarks. "As kids, I recall Roman and I once got into a big argument because I wanted to buy an FF #1 for $12 from a Howard Rogofsky ad and Roman thought it was way too much for a comic so instead I bought a #5 for $7.00" he explains with a slightly regretful sigh.
Roman was more the collector and loved to read and reread his comics. "One thing I was relieved about was my mom. She was happy we were reading and never once tried to throw out our collection," Roman recalls fondly. "Yeah, Mom was great, she would even give me extra allowance to buy comics with," George adds. The brothers lived in the Bronx but traveled all over New York City to buy comics. There was a store in Yonkers owned by a guy who called everybody Chief. Silver Age comics were 3 for a dime and Golden Age was a dime a piece. Once a week they would trek up to this store to buy books. He remembers meeting trail-blazing comic dealer Howard Rogofsky at the store. Getting there was no easy task. A bus would drop them off a mile and a half away from the store. From there it was a brisk walk. They had to be careful not to spend all their money or they wouldn't have enough for the return trip to the Bronx. George explains, "We wanted to get first crack at the books. I remember being told by one of the staff at Marvel which stores on the distribution route got their books early. We would travel up to a candy store on 110th St and Lexington Ave. just to look at the new books even if we didn't have any money. We just loved looking at them!"
Roman's love for comics never waned. "I still read comics today. If I buy it I read it, otherwise all I have is a big pile of stuff that doesn't mean anything to me," he states with a big smile on his face. He loves the Gladstone Disney comics. The innocence of the story and the great art harkens back to a childhood unforgotten. Captain America, Wolverine, JSA, JLA, Green Arrow, Conan and Red Sonja are other titles he reads avidly. "Heck, I really love comics, they are my old friends. I was even a member of the Superman fan Club in the 1950s," he adds.
George's favorite comic is Fantastic Four #52, he loves the Black Panther and he loved Sgt. Fury, as it was a very funny read. He was a huge Kirby fan. "He was easier to trace and Ditko's characters were too skinny," he remarks. "Back in the day you could go up to the Marvel offices without an appointment. On one particular visit after receiving a stack of free comics, we walked into the elevator where we ran into none other than the King himself, Jack Kirby. Excited doesn't even come close to describing it!" tells George in the same way a 12 year old might shout. "He was such a nice guy -- he even signed and gave me a sketch of Spiderman he pulled out of a portfolio. I still have it to this day," says George with a nostalgic grin on his face.
George fondly recalls a friend the kids called Spidey due to his huge collection of... you guessed it... Spider-Man. George was introduced to the Golden Age through his pal Spidey. Spidey had a set of Captain America Comics #1-10. "Spidey was a great kid but he drove me nuts. He would roll up his comics in his back pocket. He was ruining his pristine comics. I wanted to keep mine as nice as possible." This would certainly explain the high grade comics in the runs!
It took some time to decide to sell. The brothers realized they would not be reading the stories again and since the collection is still growing, they needed to make some space. However, the brothers are not novices to selling comics. "The first comic I ever sold was Showcase #4. I got $5.75 for it from an ad I placed in the old Rocket Blast Comic Collector fanzine in the early 60s" Roman exclaims with a hearty laugh. In the 70s they placed ads in Alan Light's publication The Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom or the TBG, which later became the Comic Buyer's Guide. After researching the market place, Roman met with Metropolis COO Vincent Zurzolo. The brothers were impressed with the low consignment fee and the professional nature of Metropolis. The collection varies in condition with early books in an average VG+ condition and mid and later Silver and Bronze Age Marvels ranging around VF/NM with many 9.4s. There are no distinguishing marks on the comics but the high grade copies have very deep, rich colors, remarkably glossy covers and supple, off white or better pages. The Tremonts are not classified as a Pedigree collection as many books were purchased second hand. It is, simply put, a great collection. It was named after an avenue in The Bronx they traveled along when heading out on their comic hunting adventures.
The collection was premiered at the 2006 New York Comic Con. If you are interested in seeing a list of comics graded and priced thus far please email [email protected] or call 800-229-METRO ext. 10. In a confident and happy tone Zurzolo adds, "They are very excited to see their old friends find new homes"! To hear how Roman and George amassed the collection in their own words listen to the Comic Zone interview for free!