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Bill Watterson Original Calvin & Hobbes sells for $203k

An original hand-colored 1986 Sunday Calvin & Hobbes original has been sold at auction for $203,150 (login required to see final bid amount). The strip was owed by Adam@Home and Red and Rover creator Brian Basset, who told me last September that he acquired the original back in 1986 after agreeing to exchange originals with Bill Watterson. A recent financial pinch prompted him to put the piece up for auction.

Here’s what Brian told me back in September:

Parting with the Watterson original was not an easy decision, but I believe it is the right decision. I am so thankful of Bill Watterson’s generosity and the opportunity his talent has given me more than a quarter of a century later. It is now time for someone else to enjoy owning this piece of Americana.

To give you perspective on the value of this piece, an original 1955 Peanuts Sunday strip by Charles Schulz sold for $113,000 and a 1957 and 1962 daily and Sunday Peanuts strip sold for a combined $106,000.

Back in February a Watterson original water color piece for a calendar was auctioned off for $107,550.

Community Comments

#1 Michael Pohrer
@ 10:02 am

One word. WOW!

#2 Mike Lester
@ 10:22 am

Now somebody’s got a Watterson in their house. The obvious question is, can they make signed/numbered prints?

#3 Stephen Beals
@ 10:31 am

I bet that wasn’t any easy decision for Brian, but it certainly furthers the establishment of comic originals as high art that is worthy of commanding the same price as other great pieces of art.

#4 Daniel Boris
@ 12:34 pm

Let?s see. This is a colored Sunday strip. There are about 52 Sunday?s in a year. Calvin and Hobbes ran for 10 years, right? 52 X 10 = 520 colored Sunday strips. 520 X $203K = $105.5Million. Collect the whole set!

#5 Mike Lester
@ 1:27 pm

CartoonNerdNews (guilty) doesn’t get much bigger than $203 XTRA-LARGE -for a CARTOON. Not to open a can o’ worms but the art is signed to Brian and his ex-wife. Logic and (sadly) experience would suggest it is community property.(?)

#6 Jim Lavery
@ 2:11 pm

Worm Can: opened!

#7 Joe Engesser
@ 2:32 pm

My ex and I sold our original ‘Pearls’ sketch and each bought a McDouble. Well worth it!

#8 Norm Feuti
@ 2:50 pm

The buyer owns the original art, not the copyright.

#9 Jeff Darcy
@ 3:01 pm

I think I could live with half of the $203K community property. Something tells me Suzy will demand more than half from Calvin
That has to be a record. I don’t even recall an original peanuts going for that much.

#10 Jeff Darcy
@ 3:10 pm

Wish the Cleveland Museum of Art was the buyer.
Would have been a nice addition to multi-million renovation
re-opening. And fitting since Cleveland’s two most famous
artists are likely Watterson and Superman’s creators

#11 Chris Sparks
@ 3:24 pm

I was hoping Norm had bought it for me…

#12 Pete McDonnell
@ 4:49 pm

Daniel; Calvin & Hobbes kinda-sorta ran for ten years; if I’m not mistaken he took a couple of nine-month sabbaticals during that period, so it actually ran for 8.5 years. I never realized how tiny Watterson’s work is. Image size for a three-tiered Sunday page is only 13″ wide by 9″ tall! When you include the gutters, panel height is less than 3″. Seems small to me, anyway.

#13 Daniel Boris
@ 7:10 am

Pete: Okay. $100M, but that’s my final offer!

#14 dan reynolds
@ 7:45 pm

and they say there’s no money in cartooning.

Hey, Bill. I’d like to swap originals with you. Mine will be an original color also.

Your pal,

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