Obsessions, and money to slake them, made for a good year at Heritage Auction Galleries, as the highlights below attest. The company says sales topped $590 million in 2007, its best year yet. From its mid-1970s founding as a rare coins outfit, the Dallas-based auction house has expanded into all sorts of stuff. “It’s not what people collect that amazes me. It’s what they’re willing to pay for things,” says spokeswoman Kelley Norwine. There are hints, though, that lizard-skin belts are being pulled in a notch. Heritage’s January coin and currency sale in Florida brought in $63 million compared to last year’s $78 million. And there’s no telling what the fallout will be from news that $30,000 worth of Hollywood memorabilia auctioned last April, including a flask allegedly owned by Errol Flynn, had “spurious provenance,” says Norwine. (Heritage offered full refunds.)

(left) Inverted Jenny stamp, $825,000; (right) Dan Marino Super Bowl XIX game helmet, $33,460
photography courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries
Benny Goodman’s clarinet, $28,680
photography courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

General George Armstrong Custer’s personal battle flag, $896,250
photography courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries
Anna Nicole Smith’s 1992 diary, $29,875
photography courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries
F-5 jet fighter, $150,000
photography courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

1939 Marvel Comics #1, $205,000
photography courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries