A series of love letters and illustrations from Charles Schulz (1922-2000) are coming to auction this month.
The letters reveal that the creator of the popular Peanuts cartoon strips was deeply enamoured with a woman 23 years his junior throughout 1970 and well into 1971.
Having met Schulz on March 16, 1970, while posing as a photographer, Tracey Claudius went on to receive 44 letters (totalling 56 pages) and numerous original drawings from the married artist - who told her that she was "beepable", "huggable" and "buggable".
Several concurrences between Schulz's intimate correspondence with Claudius and his published cartoon strips have been acknowledged. In two letters dated 1970 Schulz laments that he can no longer make long distance telephone calls to Claudius as his wife has found out about previous calls. Following the incident, Schulz created a strip in which Charlie Brown reprimands Snoopy, telling him "you'd better start behaving yourself", adding: "And stop making those long distance phone calls."
Schulz's affection for Claudius is palpable throughout the extensive archive of letters and illustrations. He longingly dedicates a photo of himself: "Tracey…Tracey…Tracey…Love, Sparky" while Valentine's Day cards and a cartoon collage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton also belong to the collection.
The love letters, which are set to auction at Sotheby's New York on December 14, carry a pre-sale estimate of $350,000. This valuation not only represents the inherent collectibility of the work of Charles Schulz and the enduring popularity of the characters he created, but also the unusually personal nature of the collection, which offers insight into the man behind Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Lucy.
Original art work by Schulz has previously sold very well at auction. In June 2012 we reported on the sale of an autographed Peanuts strip, which made $20,000 in an online sale.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we also have a range of Schulz collectibles in stock, including this Schulz Lucy sketch.