Charles Schulz

American Artist

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Who Was Charles Schulz?

Charles Schulz was born on November 26, 1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to parents Carl Schulz and Dena Halverson. He grew up in Saint Paul, MN, and graduated from Central High School before being drafted into the United States army in 1943. After the war ended, Charles Schulz returned to Minnesota, where he found a job teaching for Art Instruction, Inc.

In June 1947, Schulz began a run of one panel cartoons called Li’l Folks, which were published weekly in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press through January 1950. During this same time period, Schulz had 17 one-panel drawings printed in the Saturday Evening Post.

In 1950, Schulz approached United Feature Syndicate with his Li’l Folks comics, presenting some new four-panel samples as well as his traditional one-panel comics. The Syndicate preferred his longer, four-panel comics, and agreed to represent his comics under the new name Peanuts. On October 2, 1950, the first Peanuts comic strip appeared in 7 newspapers across the US.

Schulz continued to draw Peanuts comic strips for the next 50 years, and collaborated to create numerous TV specials featuring his characters. Besides his work with the Peanuts cartoon, Schulz was also an avid fan of hockey and other winter sports. Before the commercial success of Peanuts, Schulz also created a sports-themed comic strip called Its Only A Game. After moving to Santa Rosa, California in 1969, Schulz opened a hockey rink called Redwood Empire Ice Arena. Schulz was still an active hockey player later in life, and hosted an over-75 hockey
tournament at his arena in 1998.

Schulz was diagnosed with colorectal cancer among other health issues in 1999, and announced his retirement from the Peanuts comic on December 14th of that year. He died of a heart attack in his sleep on February 12, 2000, just two days before his final Peanuts strip would be published.

History of the Peanuts Cartoon

Charles Schulz visited New York in 1950, where he presented his four-panel Li’l Folks comic strips to United Feature Syndicate. They liked his work and agreed to represent it, but the group faced some legal challenges from the creator of the 1930s cartoon Little Folks, who felt that the name Li’l Folks was infringing on his copyright. Schulz was unable to come up with a marketable alternative name, and the comic was eventually named Peanuts against his wishes.

The first Peanuts strip appeared in newspapers on October 7, 1950 as a daily strip. The first Sunday strip of Peanuts was released on January 6, 1952. The early comics had a crisp, minimalistic style and featured characters such as Charlie Brown, Shermy, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and more.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Schulz continued to refine his style and add new characters such as Peppermint Patty, Franklin, and Woodstock. Although Peanuts did not explicitly address social issues of the time, strips showing mixed gender sports teams and racially integrated schools resonated with many readers in a time when sexism and racial segregation were still commonplace.

Peanuts left behind an impressive legacy, and the characters have been drawn, painted, sculpted and otherwise remembered by thousands of artists since Schulz’ death.

What Determines the Value of Peanuts Cartoons?

  • Date: The date of print is a useful way to determine the value of Peanuts comic strip art. In the 1950s, Peanuts ran in only a small number of newspapers, and the strips had a distinct style that featured cleaner, simpler lines than later works. Because of their age and unique style, Peanuts art from this period can be very valuable to the right collector.

The 1960s and early 1970s were considered the golden age of Peanuts, when national interest in the characters spiked, and merchandise of the characters became widely available. A far greater number of newspapers printed the comics during this period, which introduced the characters to families across the country. Many collectors have a particular interest in this period of Peanuts history, which increases the value of Peanuts art from this period.

Peanuts comics produced between about 1975 and 2000 fall outside of this ‘golden era’. There is more art from this period on the market and fewer people collecting it, making them less valuable on average than comics from the 1950s and 60s.

  • Original vs. Printed: Original art for Peanuts comic strips by Charles Schulz can be very valuable, often selling for tens of thousands of dollars. Original drawings of individual characters can often be worth a few hundred to a few thousand dollars as well. Peanuts comic strips printed in newspapers and books of reprinted Peanuts strips are rarely worth more than a few dollars unless they are signed by Charles Schulz. The exception is very early strips from the 1950s. In its original 1950 debut, Peanuts only ran in 7 newspapers. Because of this low circulation, Peanuts cartoon strips from this period have the potential to be more valuable.
  • Other Considerations: In general, the larger, half-page Sunday comics are more valuable than the four-panel daily comics. The daily comics in turn are more valuable than single-panel sketches of the characters. Condition of the comic is another important factor to consider. Yellowing, smudges, tears, creases, or other signs of deterioration can lower the value of the comic strip.

Contact our specialists to learn more about the value of your Peanuts cartoons

How Much are Peanuts Cartoons Worth? 

Original Peanuts cartoon strips are highly sought after collectables, and often sell for high prices. The highest ever price achieved for a Peanuts comic strip was $360,000 for a Sunday strip from December, 1966. This piece sold in 2021, shattering the previous highest price of $190,000 which had been set in 2020.

Average prices for four-panel daily comic strips average around $10,000-$20,000. Prices for the larger Sunday strips are higher, around $20,000-$40,000 on average.

Peanuts Cartoons Values and Auction Results

Here is a brief overview of some of the most valuable original Peanuts comic strips and the price they sold for at auction.

Charles Schulz, December 18, 1966 Peanuts strip

This half page Sunday strip featured Linus reading an excerpt of the gospel of Luke to Charlie Brown to remind him of the meaning of Christmas. The strip is reminiscent of a similar scene in the Charlie Brown Christmas special which was released the year before in 1965.

  • Estimate: N/A
  • Result: $360,000

Charles Schulz, November 17, 1950 Peanuts strip

This four-panel daily strip from the first year of the Peanuts run features Snoopy knocking Charlie Brown down the stairs. The characters from this very early comic are drawn in a style distinct from Schulz’ later works.

  • Estimate: N/A
  • Result: $192,000

Charles Schulz, June 5, 1960 Peanuts strip

This half-page Sunday strip shows several characters playing with a Tyrannosaurus Rex model and singing about bones. It sold significantly over estimate in 2022.

  • Estimate: $30-000-$50,000
  • Result: $150,000

Charles Schulz, April 10, 1955 Peanuts strip

This half-page Sunday strip shows Charlie Brown trying and failing to get a group of other children to play baseball with him in the rain. In this strip, Charlie Brown is wearing his famous striped shirt, but still has a circular head shape more reminiscent of the earliest Peanuts cartoons.

  • Estimate: $50,000
  • Result: $113,525

How Can I Sell My Charles Schulz Peanuts Cartoons?

Peanuts cartoons can be sold directly to buyers using online sales platforms. However, many collectors choose to consign their pieces with a trusted auction house. An auction house can provide you with an estimate of your Peanuts cartoon’s value and explain the process of selling the piece at auction. Additionally, auction houses often have extensive networks of potential buyers and methods of advertising that are unavailable to an individual.

Because the price of Charles Schulz comic strips can vary between a few hundred dollars and over $300,000, having access to professionals who can help you price your item and find a buyer will help ensure you get the best possible value for your piece. 

Revere Sells Your Charles Schulz Art

Revere Auctions can help you sell your Charles Schulz Peanuts cartoons and artwork at auction for the best possible price. Our experts at Revere Auctions are based in Charles Schulz’ hometown of Saint Paul, and we have years of experience appraising and selling Peanuts art. We are ready to help you with any stage of your art journey, whether you are looking for an estimate of value, a USPAP certified appraisal, art restoration, or an effortless way to sell your art. We advertise our sales on more auction platforms than any other auction house in America, and regularly achieve record prices for our objects. If you are interested in selling with us, please reach out for a free online appraisal of your piece today.

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