The Phantom – The Ghost Who Walks

The humble Aussie beginning

It’s time to celebrate and take a trip down memory lane! The first ever edition of The Phantom was released 70 years ago on Sunday the 9th of September (yes, this Sunday just been!) and sold for a mere sixpence. Prior to that date in 1948 it had only ever been published as strip comics in the newspaper and magazines.

It was first published by Sydney publishers ‘Frew Publishing’, who are still publishing Phantom Comics today. But even they are very interested in a First Edition of one of their original Phantom comics because they are just so rare. It is believed they have one copy in their private collections, but certainly not any that are just sitting around!

The Imitators

A replica “The Phantom: Enter the Phantom” was released some years later and there are some tricks picking the original over the replica! The first thing is the Phantom has a sort of washed out purple colour in the original, whereas in the replica he has a very vibrant purple colour.

The second thing is the front page. Once you open the original comic, on the first page the address of the publisher should be written. The reproduction doesn’t have that. Also, the red letter P on the front cover on the original measures, 106 millimetres and on the reproduction it is smaller than that. Finally, the skull of the Phantom on the front page of the reproduction has a bullet hole it. The original doesn’t have a bullet hole.

The Prestige

In 2001 a Dubbo woman auctioned her late father’s original, first edition Phantom comic, having no idea what it could be worth! It ended up fetching high five figures with rumours that it sold to a famous Australian cricketer, Bill ‘The Phantom’ Lawry.

The first 50 issues of Frew Phantom comics are considered very desirable. The lower the number, the greater the value. We have an original, First Edition of Number 1 and Number 2 of the Frew Phantom comic series up for auction. We also have an original Phantom drawing and the comic that the drawing appears in, Edition Number 1131, of The Phantom series.

“The Phantom: In the Tiger’s Lair” was bought when the vendor was about 17 paying approximately $2,000AUD for “The Phantom: Enter the Phantom” 11 years later in 1992. He had a huge comic collection and sold half of it in the late 90s. But the first two Phantom comics have been protected in a locked safe for the last 35 years and now it is somebody else’s turn to treasure them in a way they have been accustomed to!

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Matt Kalinski

Head Of Valuations

Qualifications & Affiliations

American Society of Appraisers Candidate Member

Certified Practicing Valuer AVAA


Matt has been in the valuations space for many years and has extensive experience in the space across an abundance of various industries. He now leads the valuations teams for Lloyds Auctions with a passion for encouraging his team to set and achieve high goals and produce great results for the company whilst growing the team’s skills starting with a great culture and team mindset.