Image from The AvengersOne of my best friends has been telling me and Ms. CEO for years about the crazy bargains he finds buried at local garage sales. (Of course, it helps that he lives in a neighborhood only a stone's throw away from NASA's Command Center in Houston too...) I may be reconsidering my pal's one man's trash is another man's treasure mantra, however, after learning about a McKinney, Texas, family who stumbled onto a fanboy's dream: Original comics artwork, some of which predates the Silver Age of Comics.

Looking for used coloring books and things on which to color and draw, 12-year-old Rasheemah Bartley stumbled across the some black-and-white artwork and asked her mom to buy the lot, all for the exhorbitant sum of $2. Once Rasheemah brought the pages home, her stepfather Paul Washington got a little suspicious, especially when he saw a copyright sticker on one of the pages that was dated 1964.

No wonder, considering the haul included artwork from the halycon days of the EC Comics comics era Crypt of Terror and Warren Publishing's monster books from the 60s. The crown jewel of them all, however, is a touchstone and a treasure for many of us: Page 1 of Avengers #1, drawn by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers almost 45 years ago!

Suspecting something was amiss, Washington took the artwork to a Dallas auction company that really knew how valuable the original artwork was. The appraised value of the garage sale haul: $48,000.

As you might expect, the Washington family didn't hold onto the valuable artwork for very long: The pages showed up on a database after being reported missing from DFW Airport about two months ago, and are being held in limbo until a Dallas judge makes a final ruling about who really owns them.

Because those Avengers pages alone are so rare and valuable, and the price of original Jack Kirby pages from the Silver Age -- even ones from his runs on Two-Gun Kid and Rawhide Kid -- have rocketed out of the stratosphere, I can't imagine the Washingtons will ever see that artwork again. I only hope they'll be rewarded generously by the real owner, whomever he or she is...

In the meantime, judge for yourself at the Fox 4 Web site.