The sketchbook, measuring 5 inches by 8 inches, was crammed with the quirky and humorous drawings that have made Mr. Crumb famous since he burst on the scene in the 1960s. Included were a four-page story/poem titled The Moonlight March, illustrations depicting folk singers Judy Collins and Joan Baez, a two-page spread of the New York City skyline and more.
On the front of each greeting card is an image of a woman named Barbara (and each card was addressed to Barbara). One of the cards contained a long handwritten note from Crumb. Both cards measured 9 ¼ inches by 3 ¾ inches. Robert Crumb was a founder of Zap Comics. He is best known for the characters Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural, plus the Keep on Truckin’ image.
The auction was heavily attended (both in-person and online, through Proxibid.com)
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.
The top lot of the sale was a single-owner collection of over 525 rare and vintage T206 baseball cards from the early 1900s. The lot coasted to $18,080 and featured classic names like Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson. All of the cards were Piedmont and Sweet Caporal Backs. Of course, the group would have fetched much more had it included the rare Honus Wagner T206.
An original oil on canvas rendering of Duchess Henrietta, executed in 1963 and signed on the back of the frame “Sir Henry Lilly,” achieved a respectable $13,560, thanks to a very determined bidder and some fine restoration work. Also, a great production cel from the 1940 film Fantasia, depicting a wide-eyed Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, hit $7,345.
An 18kt gold and Black Opal pendant owned by former heavyweight boxing champ Jack Johnson and presented to him in honor of his victory over Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia on Dec. 26, 1908, rose to $6,215. The two-inch-long pendant had been given to Johnson, the first black heavyweight champ, by Percy Marks, the premier jeweler and a specialist in Black Opals.
An incredible single-owner sports autograph collection – loaded with signed index cards, baseball cards, Hall of Fame cards, letters and other pieces – hit $7,628. The trove, gathered mostly from the 1950s-1970s, included autographs from Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Roy Campanella, Bob Feller, Bill Terry, Warren Spahn, Py Traynor, Harmon Killebrew and others.
Speaking of sports legends, a bat used by Yogi Berra in the 1962 All-Star Game was a hit for $9,605. The bat had been consigned by a former batboy for the Detroit Tigers. He explained that batboys were permitted to bring damaged bats home. This one, a Hillerich & Bradsby model 125, had a crack in the handle. The bat was engraved 1962 All Star Game, Yogi Berra, Chicago.
A pair of original Peanuts daily comic strips, drawn by the late illustrator Charles Schulz, both did well. One, dated July 23, 1966, featured Linus and Snoopy, with Snoopy using his “Ice Cream Radar.” It changed hands for $13,000. The other, dated Aug. 1, 1986, showed Charlie and Lucy in a baseball story line. It was signed and inscribed by Schulz in blue ink and made $9,040.
A monumental Gorham sterling silver Art Nouveau centerpiece bowl, 18 inches wide, heavily decorated with acanthus leaves and undulating flowers and weighing 91 troy ounces, sold for $3,503, and an Armand Marseille 231 Fany Toddler character doll, 15 ½ inches tall, with sleepy eyes and a composition body, commanded $2,260, despite having a hairline crack..
Philip Weiss Auctions will have yet another three-day weekend blockbuster event Apr. 1-3, also in the firm’s Oceanside gallery. Already consigned are a major postcard collection, rare books, paper, autographs, rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, folk art, Native American items, militaria, stamps, coins, transportation, aviation, automotive, maritime and items in additional categories.
Several lot are certain to pique bidder interest, such as the very chess set used by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in their legendary 1972 championship match in Reykjavik, Iceland. The set is signed by both men. It had been given in 1972 to the president of the Icelandic Chess Federation. Also sold will be love letters written by Mr. Fischer, a genius and dedicated recluse.
A pair of Cigar Store Indians carved around the turn of the century and attributed to the renowned artisan Samuel Robb are sure to wow the crowd. One, titled “Chief Poke in the Nose,” is seven feet tall and for years stood guard in front of the original Schweitzer Sporting Goods and Cigar Store in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. The other is six feet tall and is hand-carved and painted wood.
Also worth noting is the Charlie Huttunen Postcard Collection, featuring about 250 lots of some of the finest real photo cards to hit the market in years. The collection features a strong emphasis on Long Island, aviation, the logging industry, holidays and more. Additional cards from other estates will also be featured. Also sold will be a collection of antique fire helmets.
Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (516) 594-0731, or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Philip Weiss Auctions and the firm’s calendar of upcoming auctions -- to include the April 1-3 weekend event -- log on to www.prwauctions.com.
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Ken Hall writes pre-sale and post-sale press releases for auction houses, for a fee. He writes, submits and tracks stories for clients. Submissions are published in trade magazines, posted on industry websites and appear in local newspapers.