One of the most special pieces in the upcoming Comics and Comic Art auction on February 22-23 is the original published Bill Watterson cover art for the Calvin & Hobbes 1989-1990 18-month calendar. It’s the only piece of published Calvin and Hobbes artwork to ever surface for public auction. While estimated at $50,000+, this piece has the potential to go much higher.
I still miss Calvin and Hobbes, as do many people. The syndicated comic strip ran from November 1985 to December 1995 and followed the antics of a rambunctious little boy and his stuffed tiger. To Calvin, Hobbes is a live tiger – a partner in crime on all his adventures; all the other characters see Hobbes as an inanimate stuffed toy. The comic strip was widely popular worldwide and produced 18 books. Almost no legitimate Calvin and Hobbes merchandise exists outside of the book collections. Exceptions produced during the strip’s original run include two 16-month calendars (1988–1989 and 1989–1990), and the textbook Teaching with Calvin and Hobbes.
When asked about this work, Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage and a specialist in Illustration and Comic Art, gets excited.
“Beyond the Peanuts comic strips of legendary cartoonist Charles Schulz, there is no more popular comic strip and certainly no strip where the original art is more in demand,” says Todd. “The difference being that original Schulz work can be had at a variety of price points. Original published Calvin and Hobbes artwork, simply, never comes up for public auction. There’s really no telling how high collectors will be willing to go on this one, seeing as they will also be competing with non-traditional collectors who simply love the comic strip and will be very excited to see a piece of original art on the block.”
From the catalogue:
Bill Watterson Calvin and Hobbes 1989-90 Calendar Cover Watercolor Illustration Original Art (c. 1988). Calvin and Hobbes fans, feast your eyes on this —it’s the real deal! As all comic art fans know, few pieces of original art are as scarce and sought after as a Calvin and Hobbes original by the characters’ creator Bill Watterson. Since Watterson is one of the few cartoonists to shun the merchandising bonanza of a popular character and is a very private person, his artwork is in incredibly high-demand. Only a very small handful of originals have ever come onto the market, so don’t miss out on your chance to win this gem, only the second such piece we’ve offered — an incredible, published beauty featuring the two main characters from the most popular and fondly remembered newspaper strip since Peanuts. The image area of this ink and watercolor masterwork is 13″ x 10″, and the art is in Excellent condition. This piece has a special provenance as it was in the collection of one of the American comic strips’ most important historians and feature writers, Rick Marschall. Inscribed and signed at the lower right, “For Rick Marschall, ‘komic konnoisseur’ Bill Watterson.”
UPDATE: Sold for $107,550 including buyer’s premium.