An original “Peanuts” Sunday page, rendered in pen and ink in May 1953 by the late comic illustrator Charles Schulz, soared to $67,800 at a multi-estate sale held Sept. 13-14 by Philip Weiss Auctions. The eight-panel strip showed Charlie Brown and Snoopy playing fetch. In addition, two daily “Peanuts” strips sold for $21,470 each, bringing the three-strip total to $110,740.
“All things considered, this sale was better than I expected, with lots of surprises along the way,” said Philip Weiss. “Toy trains, comic books and animation art, in particular, did very well.” By the time the last gavel fell, about 1,300 lots had changed hands, in a sale that grossed over $500,000. Around 300 people attended the event in person, while more than 2,500 others registered to bid online.
Phone bids and absentee bids were active. All three “Peanuts” strips sold to phone bidders. Weiss said he fielded about 5,400 absentee bids. “I didn’t expect this level of activity,” he said. “It was very exciting.”
The Saturday session, Sept. 13, kicked off with 500 lots of toys, trains and toy soldiers. That was followed by Part 2 of the B.L. “Phil” Philips Collection (mostly battery-ops). Philips was a collector of rare, collectible robots and space toys. The day also featured a single-owner toy truck collection. The next day was dedicated to comics, comic art, original cover art and sports memorabilia.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. All prices include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.
Original cover art for Batman #173 (August 1965), drawn in pen and ink by the noted illustrator Carmine Infantino, realized $38,420. The DC cover measured 14 inches by 19 3/4 inches. The story line was identified in the lower right, “Secret Identities For Sale!” The piece was not without its problems; brown staining, moisture stains and a torn center paste-up kept the final price from being even higher.
An original New York Yankees usher’s uniform, worn at Yankee Stadium in the 1940s or ’50s by the owner, climbed to $8,190. Included were the original jacket, pants and size 6-3/4 hat, marked “Caleb V. Smith & Son.” The jacket boasted a large blue Yankees patch. The pants still had the original tag, marked “All Bilt Uniforms, Fulton St., New York.” All three pieces had some soiling.
An Ives Railway standard gauge lot – comprising a locomotive, tender (broken) and four cars – rolled away for $7,625. All of the pieces showed overall wear, and the engine and cars appeared to have repainted areas. Also, an original Alice in Wonderland model sheet from the classic 1951 Walt Disney film brought $7,062. The framed sheet showing Alice came with a certificate of authenticity.
A 19th-century presentation rosewood baseball bat, with a silver engraved circular plaque, was a hit at $4,180. The bat, about 34 3/4 inches long, had been presented in 1888 to the John J. Dunn Base Ball Club for winning the Gillooly Association title. A Coca-Cola Vendorlator VMC upright ten-cent vending machine, 57 inches tall, with the original key and in fine operating condition, hit $2,145.
A boxed, battery-operated Bear the Magician toy made by Yonezawa of Japan, earned $3,390. The toy was tested and all functions came up positive. A rare Tonka pressed steel toy truck, made in the 1950s as a company piece and never actually retailed in stores, changed hands for $3,160.