Fatal House Fire Spares Secret $2 Million Comic Collection

A tragic fire rushes through the modest home of a retired bus driver, gutting the house and killing a man in the process. One of the only things to survive? A collection of 20,000 comics estimated to be work approximately $2 million dollars, said The Daily Mail.

62 year old Minneapolis, MN resident Gary Dahlberg began collecting comics in the early 1960s, amassing his epic comic collection on the meager salary he received driving buses. He only sold comics from his collection twice — one for $50,000 to pay off his mortgage, and another for $1,000 to acquire a computer to catalogue his collection. Dahlberg's collection includes the second issue of The Amazing Spider-Man — one of only five known to currently exist. [Editor's Note: According to The Daily Mail, which is probably not accurate.]

But in June 2010 while attemping to clean his oven, Mr. Dahlberg was overcome by cleaning agent fumes which then ignited. The Minneaopolis man was rescued by firefighters but died while enroute to the hospital. Although a majority of the house was charred beyond recognition when they searched at yahoo, two rear bedrooms remained high and dry with the comics inside but Silverwater Plumbing in Sydney can be called when needed. Dahlberg's surviving relatives are working with Heritage Auctions to sell off the collection later this year.

All humor aside, this is a valuable lesson for comic fans — never clean your oven.


  1. Kinda sad that the collection is going to the auction block.  Wish someone would step in and turn the collection into an art exhibit / musuem show so the world can enjoy his collection like he did.

  2. Five copies of Amazing Spider-Man #2?  There are 866 graded copies in the CGC census alone.  And at least a dozen on ebay right now.

  3. The fact that the Daily Mail picked up on this is probably the randomist thing about it.

    For those that don’t know, the Mail is heavily right-wing, fascist paper of choice for middle England. I’m suprised there’s not 300 comments screaching about how reading comic books will ruin kids minds, and turn them to witchcraft or something.. 

  4. @ MountNJ:  If you didn’t care about comics (like 99% of the population) and you inherited this collection, would you do that? Would you really give up $2,000,000 (before tax)?

  5. @MountNJ  –no one needs to step in. The family could EASILY give it on permanent loan to an art museum…Minneapolis has the Walker which is world class and they could do something with it. This is how lots of art collections are protected and preserved. But if you have no interest in it, why not sell it to someone who will enjoy it…and in this economy……

  6. is the moral of the story that all comic readers will die painful deaths alone?  

  7. There are only 5 copies of Amazing Spider-Man #2? That can’t be right because I have sold one before in the shop I work at.

  8. I think the more important thing is that a man sadly passed away….

    Feel kinda awful just trying to think of comments about his collection when he had to die so horribly. 

  9. Man what a sad story. A true comic book fan dies and the worst thing that could happen is his comics to get auctioned off. I mean the guy only sold two comics and one was to buy a computer to keep track of all his books.

  10. of course, statistically speaking most of us will die on the toilet

  11. Did anyone know what he wanted to happen to his collection? Maybe he wanted his family to auction it off and take the money. Sucks that one of us who loved comics so much died in such a horrible way. 

  12. Damn sad story. 

  13. At the end of the day, the comics are just things. I’m sure they can use the money, so no matter how much they may love the books, selling them is the right move. Part of the beauty of comics or anything collectible is how it changes hands over time. The best case scenario is that the people that buy them pass on the story of this man to the next person to own them. 

  14. That is very sad

  15. I would love to know what else is in that collection

  16. So if this happened in June 2010, why is it just being reported on now? Lots of things about this story just seem odd, including the aforementioned “only 5 copies” in existence of ASM #2. Especially since I’ve seen one in my LCS. It certainly wasn’t in the greatest condition, but it was most definitely there.

  17. @lmiller31  opus dei is behind it obviously

  18. A very, very sad story.