I don’t usually like to buy stuff for myself this close to Christmas, but when Lewis Wayne Gallery announced a series of auctions with starting bids of a penny each, I had to take a look, and among the various offerings of art and photographs, I found two items I thought I’d like to own, if the price was right. And much to my surprise, earlier today, I won them both, and now I’m here to share them with you.
First up is a newspaper strip by John Dirks, the son of Rudolph Dirks, creator of the famous strip, The Katzenjammer Kids, which according to Wikipedia “debuted December 12, 1897 in the American Humorist, the Sunday supplement of William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal.” The strip we now own isn’t a Katzenjammer Kids strip but rather is a Sunday instalment, dated 20 April 1969, of The Captain and the Kids, a strip that Rudolph Dirks created for the rival Pulizer newspapers after he had a falling out with the Hearst newspaper syndicate in 1914 over his desire to take some time off; the legal settlement allowed Dirks to continue to use the characters he created in the Katzenjammer Kids, but since it also allowed the Katzenjammer Kids to continue at Hearst without him, Dirks was forced to come up with a new name for his version of the strip. At first, he settled on the title Hans und Fritz, in deference to the ethnicity of the main characters, but when the United States entered World War I, the German moniker was quickly replaced with an English one, The Captain and the Kids. The final auction price for the artwork was US$27.00 plus shipping, and here it is:
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Currently, the cheapest “Captain and the Kids” strips available from Lewis Wayne Gallery outside of the recently concluded penny-start auctions can be had for the “Buy It Now!” price US$89.95 plus shipping; meanwhile, the most expensive are US$295.00 plus shipping. So, I definitely feel like we got a deal.
The second newspaper strip that we have just added to our collection is a terrific Archie daily by Bob Montana from 29 July 1969:
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I love Bob Montana’s artwork here; I love the contrast between Jughead’s old-fashioned suit and tie and slicked-down hair and the trendy ’60s clothing and hairstyles of the other characters (although Archie is stuck with his usual do); and I love the gag! The final auction price for the strip was a mere US$58.57 plus shipping. And I love that, too! Because out of the pair of strips I had decided to bid on, the “Archie” strip was the one I wanted the most to win, and if the price had soared too high — my final bid was significantly higher than what I actually ended up paying — I would’ve had to allow the “Captain and the Kids” strip to slip through my fingers. How fortunate for me, then, that the auction for the “Archie” strip ended first!