Barks art - interesting story
hanskp at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 4 19:41:23 CET 2001
First, sorry if this mail shows up in an odd format; I've yet to figure out
the correct hotmail settings to use.
Given that I know several long time Disney fans and collectors are
subscribing to this list, I wanted to share a story that I think is quite
interesting and touching.
This Spring, I saw an original piece of Carl Barks art offered for sale on
eBay. As some of you know, it is very rare to see early Barks originals up
for sale, and I was particularly puzzled by one statement by the seller, who
said (paraphrasing): "I know this piece is original since it was given to me
in person by Barks 40 years ago". Outrageous claims are pretty common on
eBay and I didn't really believe this. Still, it was a wonderful piece (an
outtake from "Land Beneath the Ground") so I bid and ended up winning the
It turned out that the seller worked just a few miles from my home in Palo
Alto, California, so he offered to come over and give it to me in person.
His name was John Spicer, which all sources seem to agree was the first fan
to ever visit Carl Barks. He was an extremely nice person and told me a
great story about how he managed to get Barks address and about his visit to
the Barks' tiny house back around 1960.
It turned out that Barks had given John a second drawing, which I also
bought from him (an Uncle Scrooge outtake from the early 1950s).
6 months later, John wrote to me again saying that his brother also had a
piece of art, which Barks had given to him during the same visit. Like John,
his brother had held on to this drawing for 40 years. For some reason, he
had also decided to sell it now, and I just bought it from him.
Aside from their collectible value, the two pieces (which fit right after
each other in the same US story) tell one of the most remarkable and
touching stories that I have ever seen during my lifelong addiction to this
hobby: both bear the same dedication by Barks (one to "John", the other to
"Bill"), yet they have aged slightly differently because of the different
conditions they were stored under while separated for more than 40 years.
Most of all, they tell the story of two true fans who both kept their gift
from Barks throughout their lives, until Barks finally passed away. It would
have been so easy for them to sell the drawings for a good chunk of money,
and, given how so many other people tried to advantage of Barks commercially
after he finally gained recognition, I thought it was really beautiful to
see a such a positive and genuine exception to the rule.
Hans K. Pedersen
E-mail: hans at pixar.com
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