Original Peanuts comic strip artwork by Charles M. Schulz are highly prized by collectors.
So naturally some try to profit off that attraction.
Artist and original art collector Rob Stolzer makes us aware of one such attempt.
Live Auctioneers carries an Andrew Auctions, who “acts solely as an agent for various owners and consignors,” item purported to be the original Charles M. Schulz art of the April 3, 1970 Peanuts strip:
Charles Schulz Peanuts Daily Comic Strip-Signed-Attributed [emphasis added]…Charles Schulz Peanuts Daily Comic Strip Original Art, (United Features Syndicate, 1971). This jolly daily has an image area of 7″ x 26″ Aproxattribution, title, and material information located verso on LOVISCO GALLERY Label ,Charles schulz copyright stamp versoInscribed and signed Best wishes charles m Schulz***Original Drawing, Not a Print or Litho***Folded from the middle, Folding mark is not on the image its in middle.This is a No Reserve Auction with Low Starting Price.
Unfortunately it comes up short when compared to the actual original as seen from an auction held by auctioneer Nate Sanders.
above: the Andrews Auction “original;” below: the Nate Sanders original
The comic “attributed” to Schulz is a very good copy (lightboxed?) and I have to give them credit for not trying to sell a high grade print. But, as the people at Collectors of Original Comic Strip and Cartoon Artwork Facebook point out, there are several tells.
Most obvious is the Peanuts logo being drawn not printed.
Schulz had his blanks preprinted with the Peanuts logo and four panels.
And the panel borders didn’t vary in thickness, at least not so badly as the faux original does:
Then there’s the matter of the copyright slug, which were also preprinted for Sparky to paste onto the strips.
The unoriginal carries a different type than the real thing (see the “a”s, “s”s, “9”s, “t”s, and others for blatancy), the “O” in “Pat. Off.” goes lower case in the “attributed” version and the spacing is off in the entire slug for that time period – see a 1967 sample below.
The image area is another concern. The current auction piece has an image area of 7″ x 26″ while contemporaneous original strips, like this one from October 1970, have an image area of 27″ x 5.5″
Of course it is going for a bargain basement price. So far the bidding is under $500 with an high estimate of ten times that. Five years ago an original of the previous day’s Peanuts comic strip had a $10,000 high estimate and it went for double that at $20,000!
Lesson: Buyer beware… and do some background checks.
As Andrew Auctions states in their policy disclosure:
1.Andrew Auctions Fine Art Auctioneers acts solely as an agent for various owners and consignors. It exercises care in describing all items listed and uses judgment in attributing authorship, but offers no guarantee regarding authenticity, condition, or description.