Neil Gaiman Just Sold $1M Worth of His Own Memorabilia to Benefit Authors and Artists

Sale proceeds will benefit nonprofits like The Hero Initiative and the Authors League Fund.

Man sits in book-lined office
Neil Gaiman pictured in March of 2019. Weston Wells/Variety/Penske Media via Getty Images

Neil Gaiman, the English author known for his graphic novel series Sandman and novels like Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Good Omens, has sold off his personal collection of art and memorabilia to struggling ailing authors and artists.

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Held by the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions on March 14, the auction of Gaiman’s more than 125 items netted upwards of $1 million. A portion of the sale proceeds will benefit both The Hero Initiative, an organization assisting comic creators in need; and the Authors League Fund, a nonprofit helping authors, journalists, critics, poets and dramatists with financial or health-related issues. Gaiman is also sharing auction proceeds with the artists whose pieces were offered up for sale.

“I love the idea of benefiting charities that look after authors who’ve fallen on hard times, that look after the artists and writers and creators of comics who’ve had hard times,” said Gaiman during the sale. “And I like the idea of normalizing the idea that we who do have art we bought for $50 a page or $100 a page that now sells for tens of thousands of dollars a page get into the idea of giving back something to the artists who originally drew it,” he added.

Comic book page depicting 17 black and white panels.
Dave Gibbons and John Higgins, Watchmen #7, Story Page 16 Original Art (1987). Courtesy Heritage Auctions

The auction included original comic art, signed books, sculptures and awards

Leading the sale results was a single page from the 1987 comic series Watchmen, which sold for around $132,000 and depicts the character Nite Owl awaking from a terrifying dream. Gaiman, who said he chose the 17-panel page because he loved “everything about it, including its use of dreams,” was gifted the artwork by writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons.

Gaiman also offered up a 1994 painting of the comic book character Death of the Endless. Created by artist Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius, the painting realized $96,000. The same amount was fetched for a 1989 cover of the comic book Miracleman by illustrator John Totleben. It represented the last issue written by Moore, who subsequently picked Gaiman as his successor for the series.

Puppet of young girl with blue hair carrying a black cat
The original animation puppet Coraline and The Cat Courtesy Heritage Auctions

The most prized of Gaiman’s possessions to go on the block was a puppet of Coraline used on-screen for the eponymous stop-motion film adaptation of Gaiman’s novella. Selling for $72,000 and depicting the character in orange pajamas accompanied by her black cat, the puppet “has been in my bedroom in a glass case since 2009, and I had more qualms about lettering her go than I did anything else in this entire auction,” according to Gaiman. “She’s there. She smiles at me. She’s special.”

Despite Gaiman’s love of his collection, he decided to sell the works after witnessing his friend Geoffrey Notkin conduct a similar auction last year. The host of the Science Channel’s meteorite-hunting show Meteorite Men sold off his personal collection of meteorites in 2023 and gave the proceeds to charity.

The writer was also struck by the fact that many auctions fail to actually benefit the creators of works sold, which he described as “fundamentally wrong and inequitable” in a recent blog post. “I decided the best way to change that would be to set an example and show people another way of doing it,” he said. “The auction made a lot of money, and it’s going to do a lot of good, and that makes me very happy.”

Neil Gaiman Just Sold $1M Worth of His Own Memorabilia to Benefit Authors and Artists