BECAUSE SUMMER AND SURFING GO HAND IN HAND, CHECK OUT 10 WAVE-RIDING COLLECTIBLES FROM THE HERITAGE ARCHIVES
By Rhonda Reinhart
Enoch Bolles, known for his pin-up art, created this painting, aptly titled Clara Bow Surfing, for the August 1929 edition of Film Fun magazine. As the publication’s cover notes, the iconic movie star is “A Sight for Shore Eyes!” The painting sold for $21,510 in a May 2011 Heritage auction.
This silkscreen DayGlo poster for The Endless Summer, the classic 1966 documentary that follows two young surfers in search of the perfect wave, features artwork by pop art giant John Van Hamersveld, who also created album covers for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The poster realized $3,030 in a November 2021 Heritage auction.
The “It’s a Small World” attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair was a salute to children across the globe. For the Polynesian/Hawaiian section of the exhibit, Disney legend Mary Blair created this original concept painting of two happy surfing kids and their swimming turtle friend. It sold for $28,800 in a June 2019 Heritage auction.
Only one member of the Beach Boys actually surfed, but that didn’t stop them from celebrating surf culture every chance they got. Their 1963 album Surfin’ USA, featuring the hit title track that went to No. 3 on the Billboard charts, was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. This gold record award, presented to Capitol Records for the sale of more than 500,000 copies of the album, realized $1,500 in an August 2014 Heritage auction.
As the surfing bank robber Bodhi in the 1991 flick Point Break, Patrick Swayze rode the waves on this yellow-and-black surfboard featuring a snake running along the center of the board and a Grim Reaper head near the nose. The surfboard, whose imagery would prove prophetic for Bodhi, sold for $10,240 in a November 2020 Heritage auction.
California native Millard Sheets is best known for his watercolor landscape paintings. He traveled the world, painting scenes of Hawaii, Europe, India, Japan, Central America and other locales. In Waikiki, 1965, which realized $10,312 in a February 2021 Heritage auction, he depicted a sunny beach scene complete with a line of colorful surfboards waiting to hit the waves.
Before he was known as “The Father of Surfing,” native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku was considered the greatest freestyle swimmer in the world. He won three Olympic gold medals and crushed world records in the 100-meter freestyle. This 1933 Sport Kings card of Kahanamoku sold for $31,200 in a July 2020 Heritage auction.
Surf’s up for the Dynamic Duo in this 1966 trading card original art for Topps. Titled Surfing Sleuths, the pint-sized painting (it measures just 4.75 inches x 3.5 inches) features Batman and Robin hanging ten while trying to nab a thief. The Bob Powell and Norman Saunders work realized $7,800 in a March 2020 Heritage auction.
A scarce first edition of the first book on surfing sold for $2,875 in a November 2015 Heritage auction. Written by surf pioneer Ron Drummond, The Art of Wave Riding was published in 1931, with only 500 copies printed for its first edition. This near-fine copy of the rare and highly sought-after book came from the collection of the Drummond family.
Players of Epyx’s California Games had to try their skill at a series of Cali-inspired competitions, including skateboarding, BMX racing, footbag and, you guessed it, surfing. This sealed Wata 9.8 A++ copy of the 1987 Atari 2600 game realized $1,560 in an August 2021 Heritage auction.
RHONDA REINHART is editor of Intelligent Collector.