This page is divided into two sections -- Oil Paintings and Other Illustrations. The arrangement of each section is in chronological order, with the oldest reported sale at the top. Please note that in cases when the sale took place several years ago, the result may no longer be representative of current value.
Carl Barks oil paintings, particularly those produced in the 1970s, have become quite valuable in recent years. Sales in the $200,000 to $500,000 range have been reported. Regrettably, the details of sales between private parties, which may well exceed this range, are seldom reported. The following images and prices realized are from the published reports of sales at auction.
First Red Bullet Valley
The title refers to the fact that Barks painted essentially this same image several times, this one being, in fact, the third. It was the 10th oil in his overall regular series, having been painted in 1971. This original oil was sold by Sotheby's auction house on September 30, 1992, for $22,000, a price that included a 10% buyer's premium.
Menace Out of the Myths
This is one of Barks' larger paintings, measuring 18 by 24 inches. It was painted in 1973. This original oil was sold by Christie's auction house on October 31, 1992, for $77,000, a price that included a 10% buyer's premium. The winning bid actually represents the purchase of a group of items that included the original oil painting and a number of preliminaries and pencil studies.
Hands Off My Playthings
Other than the more recent "Rich Finds At Inventory Time," discussed on the main page, this is the only sale of a "money bin" painting that I have been able to document in recent years. "Hands Off ..." was one of the later oils, the 106th in the overall series of paintings. This original oil was sold by Sotheby's auction house on June 26, 1993. The auction catalog suggested a bidding range of $75,000 to $95,000. When all was said and done it sold for $112,500, a price that included a buyer's premium.
Stamp Collector's Bad Moment
This painting is not in the "regular series" of Barks oil paintings. Rather it is one of several "idea sketches" conceived by Mr. Barks in preliminary form, but never further developed into a large-size completed painting. Several such pieces are known to exist. They are smaller and somewhat rougher than the "regular" oils, but are finished enough to command collector interest.
This painting, of a scene inspired by the 1952 comic book story "The Gilded Man," was reportedly produced in the 1980s. The image area is 12 by 10 inches and it is signed by Mr. Barks. It sold in an Internet auction in August 1999, for $28,664.
Terror of the River
This dramatic oil, based on the cover of a 1946 Donald Duck comic book (FC#108), was offered for sale in an Internet auction in August 1999. The bidding reached $30,200, but the item did not sell, as the seller's minimum reserve price was $50,000. Failure of this oil to sell at a seemingly reasonable price suggests that Internet auctions have not yet matured sufficiently to support the sale of investment grade items.
This is the 24th Barks duck oil and, in 1972, the first version of the "Treasure Island" paintings. This painting was offered for sale in an Internet auction in August 1999. The bidding reached $23,000, but the item did not sell, as the final bid did not reach the seller's minimum reserve price.
Aside from oil paintings, quite a lot of Carl Barks original art is on the market. Barks commonly signed his name to rough pencil sketches and many of these have been offered for sale. In addition, there are a number of watercolors, original comic book pages, and specialty drawings known to exist. Only a few of the more notable examples are featured here, enough to give a representative impression of the state of the market in these items.
Cover Art for Uncle Scrooge Comics No. 66
This pen and ink illustration for the cover of Uncle Scrooge Comics No. 66 (1967) measures approximately 14 by 11 inches. It is signed by Mr. Barks and was sold by Sotheby's auction house in 1991 for $4125. There are several similar cover original art pieces around. One with fewer characters (not shown) was sold by Sotheby's two years later (1993) for $2875.
Several full or partial original comic book pages featuring the Disney ducks have reached the collectors market and have been known to sell for $4000 or more.
Specialty Drawing for Overstreet Price Guide
This pen and ink illustration was drawn for publication in the 1976 edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. A terrific piece featuring all of Barks' major characters, it measures approximately 5 by 14 inches. Even though the drawing is unsigned, it was sold by Sotheby's auction house in 1993 for $5463.
Recreation of Cover Art for WDCS 96
This illustration was rendered in colored pencil by Mr. Barks in 1994, as a recreation of the picture on the cover of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #96. This piece was offered for sale in an Internet auction in August 1999. The bidding reached $3,180, but the item did not sell, as the seller's minimum reserve price was not met.
Preliminary "In Uncle Walt's Collectery"
This is a preliminary drawing for the oil painting "In Uncle Walt's Collectery," rendered in red and blue pencil, signed by Mr. Barks. This piece was offered for sale in an Internet auction in August 1999. The bidding reached $1,375, but the item did not sell, as the seller's minimum reserve price was not met.
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© 1999 by James R. Lowe, who reserves all rights to the content of this page not successfully claimed by others. Speaking of which, the copyright to many of the images on this page is held by the Walt Disney Corporation. No fee is charged to view this page and no profit inures therefrom to its author. On the contrary, the display of such images promotes and directly enhances the value of these and related images to the Walt Disney Corporation and, in any event, are presented in the context of critical review or news commentary and are protected under the "fair use" provisions of the copyright act. So there.