Goodnight Charlie Brown – Charles Shulz, Peanuts and Collecting

Charles M. Schulz died on February 12th of complications from colon cancer in Santa Rosa, CA. He was 77 years old. His legacy is the most famous cartoon strip in the world ‘Peanuts’ whose main characters have become household names Charlie Brown, Snoopy & Woodstock – not forgetting the rest of the gang Peppermint Patty, Linus, Lucy, Pig Pen and Schroeder.

Peanuts appears in some 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries and is translated into 21 languages. United Feature Syndicate started the strip in syndication on October 2, 1950 and it has run continuously for fifty years with every strip penned by Charles himself. The strip has also spawned nearly 1500 edition of peanuts books, feature films, a musical, 40 television specials and a wealth of associated merchandise.

 

Charles Schulz was born on November 22nd 1922 in St. Paul, Minnesota. He had a talent for art from an early age which was recognised by his teachers and his family. A correspondance course in art was interrupted by the Second World War where Charles served as an infantryman and later as a leader of a machine-gun squad. On his return he worked for Timeless Topix a Roman Catholic magazine and after sending samples of his work to publishers he was commissioned to a comic feature called L’il Folks and so Charlie Brown was born. The cartoon was an instant success but really took off when the strip went from a single panel to a four panel strip. One name change later to Peanuts (another cartoon strip called Little Folks already existed) and the rest is history. Pictured above right is a limited edition Wade set of Snoopy and Woodstock commissioned by C&S Collectables.

For collectors the ultimate is an original strip or drawing, failing that limited edition lithographs and sericels. Original pen and ink strips are valued at anywhere from $2500 (£1500) upwards. Pictured right is an original drawing from the animation series costing $195.

Price very much depends on who is featured in the drawing, the content of the strip and age. Strips featuring the main characters Charlie Brown and Snoopy are the most collectable.

Lithographs and sericels and considerably cheaper.

Pictured above is a current limited edition lithograph of 500 called Hero costing $425. In this classic strip Charlie Brown finally hit’s a home run and wins the game.

Pictured right is a cuurent limited edition sericel of 500 called Dark and Stormy costing $325. It depicts the scene from “Snoopy, The Musical” when Snoopy, the Literary Ace, is pounding out yet another novel and his editor, Woodstock, listens.

In accordance with the wishes of Mr. Schulz, United Feature Syndicate will not ask another artist or writer to take over the creation of the Peanuts comic strip. However, a select group of artists approved by Mr. Schulz who had already been drawing limited art for licensed items will continue their work under the direction of United Media and Mr. Schulz’s family.

For collectors it means that Peanuts products will continue to be produced. Pictured above left is a set of plush Peanuts toys currently available.

For more information about Charles Shulz and Peanuts visit The Official Peanuts Web Site.