1932 Dick Tracy Original Comic Strip

Value (2008) | $3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction

GUEST:
What I brought is a Dick Tracy original cartoon. Chester Gould is the artist. And the story is that my husband's grandmother worked for the Chicago Daily News and when she got married, she left the Daily News and this is one of the cartoons that was personalized for the grandma.

APPRAISER:
And as you said, Chester Gould is the artist. It's a Dick Tracy, what they call a daily strip because this was done on a daily basis for the newspaper. The important thing, when it comes to comic art, is the artist and the character, and what you're dealing with here is Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, one of the most famous... famous comic strips in American history. It first appeared in October of 1931. And Chester Gould went out and created a crime fighter during the height of Chicago gang wars and, you know, Al Capone, etc. So the strip itself is great because you have the important artist and the important character. The next thing that's very important is the condition. And the date of the strip is important. The critical thing as far as condition goes is you do have a piece torn off the side where Gould additionally signed. That little piece being torn off can be professionally restored. So that's not a major factor. You do have a paste-over, which is not uncommon in comic strips. If they wanted to change the strip, they would just paste over a little work so when it became printed it wouldn't make a difference.

If you look up in the top corner, it's dated August 13. But nowhere on the strip do we see the little paper label that was attached that usually tells you the year. And after doing some consulting and doing some research, I found that this was done August 13, 1932. Now, Dick Tracy appeared first in October of '31, and from 1931, there's quite a number of these dailies on the market and known to exist. From 1932, and then a couple of years after that, there's no examples of these being known. For all anybody knows, these were lost, destroyed, damaged, forgotten. Nobody's seen any of them. So what you have here is probably one of the only 1932 dailies that's in existence. In doing the research, I found that the day before and the day after you had additional characters. This one has Dick Tracy in the panels. The day before and the day after have Tess, his love interest, in the strip, which would have added to the value. You also don't have a tremendous villain in here. Villains add a lot to the value. But all of that being said, you're talking about, basically, something that's coming onto the market that nobody even knows is in existence. And I would estimate it, for auction purposes, pretty conservatively, at $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my goodness.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. It's just a wonderful, wonderful piece.

GUEST:
Well, thank you. My good... I had no idea.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Philip Weiss Auctions
Lynbrook, New York
Appraised value (2008)
$3,000 Auction$5,000 Auction
Event
Grand Rapids, MI (August 09, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Material
Ink, Paper

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