High-Priced Peanuts Collectibles – Collecting 101

How much would you spend on a six-foot Peanuts statue? Better question – where will you put it?!

A lot of people think certain Peanuts collectibles are worth a small fortune. It’s time for a reality check to put things in perspective.

The inspiration for this article came from an over-sized, one-of-a-kind Snoopy sculpture created for St. Paul Minnesota’s Snoopy Around Town. A $50,000 asking price was listed. A past figure of $27,000 at a charity auction was also mentioned. Is it worth the asking price? Was it worth the auction price? My opinion: No.

The reasoning behind my opinion is, “Why would a collector spend $25,000 or more on something created by a local artist, when you could have something created by Charles Schulz?”

Original comic strip art by Charles Schulz is the most sought after piece of Peanuts memorabilia. A true collector would value an original over anything else. An over-sized Charlie Brown sculpture? No. A diamond-encrusted Snoopy? No. An original Tom Everhart painting? No. A limited edition lithograph of a Peanuts drawing? No. Nothing but an original Schulz comic strip would get me to spend over $5,000 for a single piece of Peanuts memorabilia.

An original Schulz comic strip is a prize collectible. The comic strip is what brought many people to loving Peanuts. It’s the heart, the soul, the genesis of what Peanuts is. You can take away all the dolls, the figurines, the t-shirts, even the TV specials and you’ll still have the wonderful Peanuts comic strip. Owning an original shows the hard work, the revisions, the tweaks, the craft that went into making a piece of artwork. Nothing but the original shows the fine detail of the pen strokes and the way the ink bleeds into the paper. That piece of paper is what Charles Schulz created for the world to enjoy.

Another Schulz original that is sometimes priced as high or higher than an original Schulz comic strip are Schulz sketches. Whether they were made for a fan or to convey a vision for a T.V. Special or product line, these sketches aren’t generally as valuable as a comic strip. A comic strip is a finished, approved, made for the public eye piece of artwork. Autographs and sketches are sometimes personalized and quick one-off pieces. They’re harder to attribute to Schulz and are easily faked. What would you pay more for? A one-minute sketch or a comic strip that took time to polish the humor and artwork into something we all love?

A Peanuts comic strip original is not going to be cheap for any collector. Auction prices have been going up and up on these one-of-a-kind ephemeral pieces. Selling prices for daily comic strips at auction tend to be around $10,000-$20,000, depending on era, subject and condition. A Sunday strip will bring even more at around $20,000-$40,000. Sketches and autographs vary widely based on how easy an item is to display, condition, era, how elaborate or unique the drawing is, backstory, etc. Your basic autograph will bring around $150-300. A drawing with the autograph can bring in $550-1500. A truly unique, authentic drawing by Schulz and easy to display can bring $2000-$5000.

Going back to the statue, let’s revisit the $27,000 auction price. A charity auction is not the best gauge of an item’s true value. When money is going to charity, why not overspend a little? However, an original Peanuts comic strip is going to be a lot easier to display in the typical house than a six-foot Snoopy! Not everyone has the room or the resources for such a physically large purchase, so buyers will be a lot harder to find when it comes time to resell. Resale is always a key component in collectibles. Any auction house would love to have an original Schulz comic strip available. They’re highly desirable and have a large market. Schulz originals will only go up in price.

Everyone’s taste is different and my motto is “Collect what you love!” Know when you’re investing versus when you’re buying to enjoy something. There’s no shame in spending $200, $1000 or even $25,000 for an item you love and can afford. If you know you won’t get a return on your money, it may change how much you’re willing to pay for a collectible. Buy smart!

If you’d like to see more Peanuts statues, see our gallery of Santa Rosa, California, Peanuts Statues.

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