Saturday, October 26, 2013

Garth Williams: Trick-or-Treaters from Over and Over

If I had the time and inclination to try and generate some extra cash through eBay, one strategy I might use would be to buy items in bulk and then sell them off individually. While I would hate the idea of breaking up a set of anything, it is generally a sound way to increase overall cash value. I personally wince at the thought of taking apart a bound volume and selling individual plates--I don't think I could ever do that--nor could I comfortably break up a complete suite of lithographs, say, or a fine desk set. I am not exactly the stuff of which a successful dealer is made.

Nevertheless, I don't feel so bad about the current dispersal of the preliminary pencil sketches by illustrator Garth Williams for Charlotte Zolotow's Over and Over. The twenty-one sheets come from the estate of Garth Williams, which to me suggests there may not have been much of a market for them during the artist's lifetime anyway. Heritage Auctions, which I consider one of the best at presenting and archiving even low-end works at auction, didn't bother to photograph these sheets individually. They sold for $500 as a set, including the buyer's premium.

Now individual sheets are being sold off on eBay, including a very loose pencil sketch of some trick-or-treaters bearing the initials G.W. It is no masterpiece certainly, but the sale price of $22.26 still seems fairly low and challenges my long-held belief that breaking up a set is one surefire way to create instant profit.

Garth Williams, original pencil sketches for Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow

Page 8 of the sketches:
Garth Williams, original pencil sketch of trick-or-treaters for Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow

Garth Williams's initials

Garth Williams, Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow

November 20, 2013 Update:  Author Charlotte Zolotow passed away yesterday at age 98.

Note:  A decidedly more expensive illustration by Garth Williams from Stuart Little by E. B. White is featured on this blog here.

More Halloween-themed posts may be found here.


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