What do you get when you cross a flying beagle, a snippet of wisdom from an eighteenth-century British poet, and the most popular comic strip of all time? At R&R Enterprises' January auction, the answer was dramatic, indeed: You get a new auction record.
In a stunning demonstration of the lengths to which serious collectors will go for superior examples of artwork from Charles Schulz's beloved 'Peanuts,' a bidder paid $65,247 for a 1989 daily strip featuring Snoopy as the 'Flying Ace', not only shattering the previous record for a daily strip, but entering a stratospheric price level previously attained only by the most select examples of vintage Sunday strips.
The unusual appeal of the item lay in a combination of factors. Though the strip is of relatively recent date, the 'story' centers on a poignant, timeless quote from Thomas Gray, 'The paths of glory lead but to the grave', a sentiment that humorously grounds the would-be pilot. Preserved in a fresh, near-perfect state, the strip was also a personal favorite of Schulz himself, who later adapted it into a limited-edition print.
Americana and other historical items enjoyed the attentions of enthusiastic bidders who drove the price of an enormous, twice-signed Franklin indenture to $14,231. A rare letter from Red Badge of Courage author Stephen Crane reached $14,578; a 1783 Washington military discharge, $12,651; a scarce land document signed by Isaac Newton, $12,030; a remarkable archive of correspondence from Ronald Reagan, $11,760; a Jefferson letter on the 'delicacy' of his new office as vice president, $10,690; an Einstein letter regarding the first publication of his epochal theory, $10,453; a 1777 Hancock military commission, $9,687; a letter from Oliver Cromwell to his son on the reassignment of an Irish official, $7,946; and an Apollo 11 photo signed by all three crew members,$7,139.
Entertainers wowed an appreciative audience with such 'hits' as a Höfner bass guitar signed by Paul McCartney, $10,152; a choice inscribed copy of Houdini¹s famous Unmasking of Robert-Houdin, $9,773; a striking vintage Disney photo, $6,566; a Bruce Lee letter mentioning his son and his role on The Green Hornet, $6,566; a signed first-edition score of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, $6,336; and a set of 1964 Beatles signatures, $6,188.
'Bambino' Babe Ruth was the sports category's MVP, with a 1937 check to the Yankees, $6,032; a signed photo, $5,904; a signed 'Home Run Special' ball; $3,690, and a clean, crisp signature, $3,486.
All prices above include the 19% buyer's premium. R&R's next auction begins February 26 and ends March 14. Bids are accepted online or via telephone, fax, or e-mail. For information on consigning to future auctions, visit the R&R web site at www.rrauction.com or contact Elizebeth Otto at [email protected].