Sunday Comics & New Yorker covers lead Swann Illustration Auction

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Charles Schulz, Do you like Beethoven?, ink and graphite, signed and inscribed, for Peanuts, 1970. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Swann Galleries will offer an auction of Illustration Art on Tuesday, June 5, with more than 250 original works of art including comics, pin-ups and covers for books and magazines.

Setting the auction apart is a selection of classic original comic strips, led by the original nine-panel Sunday Peanuts strip, Do you like Beethoven?, 1970, by Charles Schulz, featuring Schroeder, Lucy and Freida, inscribed to the conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic’s 1978 Beethoven Festival, with an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Other Schulz works include a 1992 eight-panel strip featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown ($15,000 to $25,000), and three panels of Snoopy scheming for his dinner, 1989, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000. Also available is an extremely rare early four-panel strip for Blondie, depicting Blondie and Dagwood before they were married, done in India ink and blue pencil by creator Chic Young ($800 to $1,200).

Ever a literary sale, Swann’s Illustration auction does not disappoint with a strong New Yorker section. Penguin Convention is a 1977 watercolor by Charles Addams that eschews his usual morbid humor for a charming vista of thousands of identical penguins, each with their own nametag ($15,000 to $25,000). Cover work by Abe Birnbaum and Theodore Haupt for the famed publication will also be available. Prescient cartoons by Tom Toro, published as recently as 2018, follow strong prices for the artist’s work in previous auctions at Swann, evidence that the market for contemporary cartoons is alive and kicking.

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