The first day of issue postage stamp and envelope (First Day Cover), dated May 30 1969, bears the signature of legendary writer and illustrator Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts.
Schulz has also added a hand drawn sketch of his most popular character Snoopy.
At the time of issue Schulz’s comic strip Peanuts had been running for an impressive 19 years. Peanuts almost certainly reached its peak in American pop-culture between 1965 and 1982; this period was the heyday of the daily comic strip, and there were numerous animated specials and book collections available to the many fans of Peanuts.
Coincidentally the final Peanuts Sunday strip featuring Snoopy was to run on February 13rth 2000, just hours after Schulz’s death the day before.
Olivia Odell, Auctioneer at Fraser’s Autographs, part of the Stanley Gibbons Group plc, which is selling the cover, said, “not only is this piece signed and then additionally sketched over by one of the most renowned cartoonists of the 20th century but it links him solidly with the culture from which he sprung. What is more atypical of America than its stars and stripes or indeed Snoopy?”
Schulz was extremely protective over his creations; predicting that the strip would outlive him, Schulz requested in his will that the Peanuts characters remain as authentic as possible and that no new comic strips based on them be drawn.
To this day his wish has been honoured; it would seem there is no replacing Charles M. Schulz or his trusted associate, Snoopy.
Though the actual first day cover itself only has an intrinsic value of £10, the autograph and original sketch make this piece a collector’s dream, with auctioneers expecting a bidding war on the day.
According to the Fraser’s Rarities Index, Schulz’s autograph has increased in value by no less than 151 percent since charted market values first began in 1997.
The auction brochure describe the lot as “a delightful piece with large bold signature and sketch which combines with it Schulz’s own patriotism.” The company has placed a conservative pre auction estimate of £850 (approx. $1320) on the piece.
The signed and illustrated first day cover is Lot number 26 in Fraser’s Autographs Auction PA77 which closes at 10pm GMT on 16th September 2010.