Named for the location of the anonymous original owner (Rockford, Illinois) the Rockford pedigree ranks among the most cherished by collectors. According to the origin story, all the books were purchased by the original owner from a small drug store in Rockford, Illinois between 1938 and 1952. The collection amounted to approximately 2,000 golden age books with large runs of Action, Detective, Batman, Superman, All Star, National, Police, Planet, Jungle and Wings.
The books had been extremely well cared for. Many issues rival the Mile High copies in grade and have a page quality that is among the top of all the pedigrees. Approximately half of the collection was estimated to be in the very fine (8.0) to near mint (9.0) range! When brought to market by Mark Wilson (the winning bidder in a public auction) during the 1990’s they sold quickly at 1.5x condition guide.
Predating GCG, books were marked on the mylar protector as Rockford’s and included a certificate of authenticity.
They are also commonly distinguished by a small letter stamp of “R” or “W” (or in my case a barely legible “S” – look closely) on the front cover.
But what’s a good origin story without a bit of intrigue? Urban legion is the books were stored by the original owner in four or five large chests. Prior to the auction, the owner moved and when the moving truck reached its destination one of the trunks was missing! Unfortunately, the owner had divided all the collection’s #1 issues into one trunk. And guess which chest went missing? Yep, the one with all the #1 issues had disappeared. Imagine – the heavy hitters – pristine condition Rockford copies of Superman #1, Action #1, Batman #1, Marvel #1 among others may still exist out there somewhere waiting to surface.