It's Not Every Day You Get to See an Original Calvin and Hobbes Piece In Person. (Or Buy It.)

Categories: Arts, Media
CalvinandHobbes.jpg
Courtesy Heritage Auctions
One of the few Calvin and Hobbes originals ever to come on the auction market's now residing at the corner of Oak Lawn and Maple. For now.
That was quite the Heritage Auctions infomercial ABC aired during prime-time last night: Unfair Park's cross-the-street neighbor got a shout-out during The Great Big American Auction every, oh, 23 seconds, by my count, as folks in need used the local auction house to sell off rare family heirlooms, including Ty Cobb's checkbook and a signed Warren Commission Report. So happens I was over at Heritage this week to peek at something even more rare: an original Calvin and Hobbes watercolor done by Bill Watterson for the 1989-'90 calendar, one of the few times Watterson merch'd his beloved comic-strip characters.

Like that Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns piece that sold in May for an astounding $448,125, this is Holy Grail stuff: The reclusive Watterson, who stopped the strip around this time in 1995, donated his entire collection of original artwork to The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Heritage sold off a smaller piece in '07 for around $14,000. Todd Hignite, Heritage's consignment director for the Comic and Illustration Art division, says this will open at around $50,000 -- but expects it could go for Batman prices or much, much higger.

ToddHigniteWithCalvinandHobbes.JPG
Hignite and his (very temporary) prized possession
"Bill Watterson's one of those artists everyone's looking for and nothing's available by," he tells Unfair Park. "I've always said: 'If I can find anything by him, it'll be a big deal,' and when I saw it was a published cover, that was even more so."

The piece comes from the collection of Rick Marschall, "konic konnoisseur," who Hignite's known for years. Marschall's selling it reluctantly, says Hignite, "but the time had come." It arrived in Dallas a couple of weeks ago and will stay here till it's taken to auction in New York in February.

"I've never heard of a published watercolor even existing on the market and know of only four, five things of his on the market," says Hignite, who, during our chat, would occasionally glance lovingly at the piece sitting on his desk. "Watterson donated virtually everything to Ohio State. He's a very private guy, but it's always been my understanding the only work that got out was stuff he donated to friends or traded. This piece doesn't have a reserve, so it'll sell for what it sells for, but there are no real auction comps to value it. I tend to be on the conservative side but, but you can't predict the high end at auction."
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11 comments
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DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

" ... signed Warren Commission Report ... "  Signed by JFK ? Now THAT would be valuable.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Sorry Robert but you've been duped by your buddies at Heritage. It's an obvious forgery - Calvin isn't peeing on anything.

riffraff
riffraff

As a follow up - the art pieces are parodies; they are not reproductions of and do not reference original pieces; but, they do reference characters that are in the public domain.

pak152
pak152

are you saying Calvin and Hobbes are in the public domain? not hardly go check out the latest version of the copyright law

riffraff
riffraff

Been doing homage pieces, mostly holiday cards, including Watterson's characters, as well as Breathed's and Schulz's characters for years.  Willing to do commission pieces - much cheaper than originals (hint hint).  Drop me a line...riffraff_555@yahoo.com

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

I watched that last night Bob, not a big fan of Ty but thought the show was strong to very strong.  I'm a sucker for all of the storage shows.

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

I like Storage Wars too, but last night's show was painful. Robert's description was dead-on: It felt like one long infomercial for Heritage. It also just didn't have an authentic feel to it. Everything felt rehearsed and staged.

I'm shocked (although clearly not as much as the owner was) that the Ty Cobb checkbook didn't go for more. That's gotta be a one-of-a-kind item.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

My original thought on the checkbook was the old gal got a good deal, but then I though to meself "Self, what would a single autograph/signature of Ty beworth? Notoriously a bad dude, didn't sign shit..." Methinks she should of sold them one at a time, or got in bed with a card company or something..selling it piecemeal surely would've brought in more scratch? Amiright?

pak152
pak152

now you're thinking like a true capitalist a regular Gordon Gecko. I thought the same thing. break up the check book, sell the checks individually

Zaner
Zaner

Hignite knows his stuff.

Nick R.
Nick R.

What's the comics equivalent of sports tears?

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