1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
Born in Boston in 1952, Jim formed a part-time rare stamp and coin business at age 16. The same year, he received early acceptance to Harvard College. But by his third semester, Jim was enjoying the coin business more than his studies, so he took a permanent leave of absence to pursue a full-time numismatic career. In 1975, Jim supervised the protocols for the first mainframe computer system in the numismatic business, which would help catapult his firm to the top of the industry within four years. In 1982, Jim's business merged with that of his friend and former archrival Steve Ivy to form Heritage Auctions. In 1984, Jim wrote a book later re-titled "How to Grade U.S. Coins", which outlined the grading standards upon which NGC and PCGS would later be based. Jim is also a well-known futurist, an active collector of rare comic books, comic art and early 20th-century American art (view parts of his collection www.jhalpe.com), venture capital investor, philanthropist (he endows a multimillion-dollar health education foundation), and part-time novelist. His first fiction book, The Truth Machine, was published in 1996, became an international science fiction bestseller, was optioned as a feature film by Warner Brothers, and is now under development at Lions Gate. Jim's second novel, The First Immortal, was published in early 1998 and optioned as a Hallmark Hall of Fame television miniseries. All of Jim's royalties are donated to health and education charities.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
Without a doubt: MAD #24 logo & border by Harvey Kurtzman. Runner-up: Weird Science Fantasy #27 cover by Wally Wood.
I see my favorite EC pieces side-by-side almost every day, and think it’s the best EC cover I own, artistically speaking. I even prefer it over Frank Frazetta’s WSF #29 cover, though it’s a close call:
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
MAD Magazines and MAD art became my gateway drug in 1991 after I read Maria Reidelbach’s book Completely MAD. That addiction quickly spread to EC, Underground and Golden Age comics and art.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Everywhere! Our teenage boys enjoy it, too. My long-suffering wife/enabler, Gayle? Not so much, but she tolerates it admirably.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
1. MAD #1 cover by Kurtzman
2. Zap #1 cover by Crumb
3. Giant Size X-Men #1 cover by Gil Kane
4. Sport of Tycoons painting by Carl Barks
5. MAD #11 cover by Wolverton
View James Halperin's Gallery