Bill Watterson Archive, ca. 1975

Value (2015) | $7,000 Insurance$15,000 Insurance
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GUEST:
I have some artwork by Bill Watterson, who illustrated Calvin and Hobbes, and his high school yearbook.

APPRAISER:
The 1976 Zenith yearbook from Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

GUEST:
Correct!

APPRAISER:
Now where did you get these wonderful things from?

GUEST:
Well, I taught at Chagrin Falls High School from 1991 to 2015.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
I acquired them from a teacher who commissioned him to do - illustrate a story about how to play baseball.

APPRAISER:
So was the teacher an English teacher or an art teacher?

GUEST:
He was an English teacher, he was also the baseball coach. And he asked Bill to illustrate and explain the mysteries of playing baseball.

APPRAISER:
Now, did the teacher have any stories to tell you about Bill Watterson?

GUEST:
Not really so much stories about Bill. I know that Bill did a lot of caricatures of the teachers in the school, and he enjoyed drawing them in kind of a funny way.

APPRAISER:
Mm-hmm.

GUEST:
So...

APPRAISER:
Well, apparently he got away with it quite well. I mean, he's made quite a career. When did Bill Watterson actually draw these?

GUEST:
I'm not exactly sure. I think he might have been a junior or a senior in high school. They're pretty mature drawings.

APPRAISER:
Bill Watterson, best known for Calvin and Hobbes. He wrote it from 1985 to 1995. And he's a very private person, doesn't give a lot of interviews. Very little of Bill Watterson's art has come into the public market. When it does come up for sale, it sells for extraordinarily high amounts-- $100,000-plus for one of his full-colored paintings. And having these great pieces from very early in Bill Watterson's career... you've got the 1976 Zenith.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
His high school yearbook, and you can see down here it's got his signature, "Bill Watterson," and it's got these great… great character sketches. Little character up here that I'm sure is of one of the teachers. And you can see in the drawings hints of Spaceman Spiff, or Calvin, or his parents. Being such a private person, there are very few pictures of him on the internet.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
So what we're going to do is turn this around and look at... I love this. "William Watterson II," and it has all these little things about him-- "Bill," "Handbook," "What a joke." And at the very end, "A little subtle humor." "Cartoons" is the last thing. I mean, it's just so astonishing. And actually, that's a great photograph.

GUEST:
Yeah, it's better than mine.

APPRAISER:
Far better than mine was. And wonderful little pencil drawing with the corrections on it. This is just fantastic, fantastic art, and there's so little of it out there. And you can see even then, he had a tremendous talent. Do you have any idea…

GUEST:
I have…

APPRAISER:
What this might be worth?

GUEST:
…I have no idea. I'm not interested really, other than maybe insurance reasons, but I would never sell them.

APPRAISER:
For insurance purposes, we'd estimate that each of these drawings would be between $2,000 and $5,000 for insurance.

GUEST:
(chuckling) Oh, my God, wow. That's crazy. Wow.

APPRAISER:
The yearbook...

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Which… this yearbook is astonishing. This is probably the rarest Bill Watterson-illustrated book out there, period.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
Well, how many other copies are probably extant?

GUEST:
I don't know.

APPRAISER:
You have a couple hundred for the kids at school, and that's about it. And it as such an early, wonderful piece, our estimate for this one is between $3,000 to $5,000.

GUEST:
Wow! I had no idea.

APPRAISER:
So…

GUEST:
That's crazy.

APPRAISER:
So for insurance value, you're probably looking at $7,000 to $15,000.

GUEST:
Whoo! (chuckles) That's crazy. I had no idea. Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Coronado Trading Co.
Appraised value (2015)
$7,000 Insurance$15,000 Insurance
Event
Cleveland, OH (July 11, 2015)
Material
Paper , Pencil

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