Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts: A Butternut Bread Wrapper

When this blog was in its infancy, I took it upon myself to write about an original drawing of Linus by Charles M. Schulz that had come up at auction. At first, I didn't know what it was created for, although the answer was staring me in the face. It was promotional artwork for the Butternut Bread advertising campaign.

Well, it seems to me there's little point to blogging if one isn't going to be obsessive about it. I began accumulating a trove of images from the campaign, including original artwork, published promotions, and packaging. My goal was to match up original artwork with printed images whenever possible. I've succeeded in this twice in the past, and now an additional time with the wrapper you see here.

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Lucy and Schroeder, 1969

This wrapper is currently offered on eBay. It was never used to enclose a loaf of bread. Rather, it was collected in the factory and maintained in pristine condition by a collector who evidently shares my appreciation of obsessive behavior.

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Lucy and Schroeder, 1969
The package contains a beautiful color image of Lucy with Schroeder at the piano. Schroeder's word balloon makes the obligatory reference to enriched bread.

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Lucy and Schroeder, 1969
Through the clear packaging, one can discern the image of Charlie Brown from the other side of hte package.

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Detail of Lucy, 1969

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Detail of Schroeder, 1969

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Lucy and Schroeder, 1969
I never understood why that first image of Linus was so tall. I assumed, probably, that it was for use in magazine advertising, where the narrow proportions might conceivably replace a column of type. The image of Charlie Brown reveals the actual use of these images as promotions  with Schulz's licensed characters on what must be the bottom of the bread wrapper.

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Charlie Brown, 1969
Even better, I have the image of Schulz's original artwork for this on my Butternut Bread blog post:

The tall, narrow image works well with the proportions of the bread bag.

Butternut Bread Wrapper with Charlie Brown, 1969

Butternut Bread Wrapper, 1969

Butternut Bread Wrapper, 1969

Butternut Bread Wrapper, Here Dated 1969

Butternut Bread Wrapper, 1969

So, here we have an item that is extremely rare. To me, it is very important, as it shows how two pieces of Schulz's artwork was used on the bread bags. So, is it worth $7,855?

Or is it worth $21.99? Only the market knows for sure.
I'm by no means an expert on Sparky or his Butternut Bread advertising campaign, but it is rather gratifying to see myself quoted in an eBay listing with a very rare Butternut Bread item. Even in its current incomplete state, my blog post on the subject remains the most comprehensive online aggregation of Butternut Bread Peanuts memorabilia currently available. Although unfinished, it is my largest post to date. It is also my most popular post.
The eBay Item Description Sagely Quotes Attempted Bloggery
In the past, I might have taken an eBay sale like this and copied the entire thing into my already-large blog post on the subject of Butternut Bread Peanuts promotions. In order to manage the overwhelming amount of material there, I'm just going to use a couple of the most relevant images in that post and keep the larger amount of material from the eBay sale here separately.

Today's conundrum:  How does one price an extremely rare item with a limited market demand?

Remember, rarity does not automatically render an item expensive. Still, at the current low offering price, I think there must be any number of fans, collectors, and museums who might be interested in such a hard-to-find item. For example, if the Charles M. Schulz Museum doesn't already have a specimen of this scarce wrapper, why on earth wouldn't they want it?

Note:  My essential blog post Butternut Bread Peanuts Promotions can be found here. As you can see, it's even quotable! As mentioned in today's post, it is my single largest post, and my single most popular one. It's been on this blog for well over two years, and it still doesn't include all the material I've found. I'll have to get around to it sometime. Under these circumstances, it would be inexplicable if I were to ask, plead, beg, or cajole you to provide me with any additional rare artwork, promotional material, or other memorabilia from Schulz's Butternut Bread advertising campaign, wouldn't it?

Other worthwhile blog posts concerning the art of Charles M. Schulz can be found here.

The website of the Charles M. Schulz Museum is here. I wonder how much the curators know about Butternut.

Remember that short-lived TV show "Men Behaving Badly?" Well, the way men are behaving in the House of Representatives would more than qualify for inclusion, no? A rough drawing by Mischa Richter currently in my collection is very much of the moment. I'll probably be reminding you about it for the duration of this fake crisis. It's in the archives here.

On a happier note, at least if you're not a fan of the New York teams, we are now in the baseball postseason. I have a few posts about the sport here.  You wouldn't want to miss them.


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