Children's book illustrations continue to draw grown-up collectors

Roger Hargreaves, the British author and illustrator who brought Mr Bump and his pals to the world, was born today in 1935.

The former dry cleaner created the first Mr Men character, Mr Tickle, in 1971. Thereafter he produced 48 Mr Men and 42 Little Miss books, each with its own flamboyant protagonist, including Mr Nosey, Mr Fussy and Little Miss Sunshine.

Hargreaves's son Adam has continued to produce the books since the author's death in 1988.

Original Mr Men artwork and first editions have yet to capture the imagination of the auction-going public, but investors in children's books and illustrations have plenty of other options available to them.

Six original Peanuts panels by Charles Schulz achieved $193,230 at auction in 2007, and items often appear on the private market.

Mr Tickle was the first Mr Men book,
published in 1971

At the entry level end of things, a sketch of Bart Simpson by the tearaway's creator Matt Groening made $375 in 2006.

In honour of Hargreaves, a number of "Google doodles" are today appearing on the search engine's front page.


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