Carl Barks Preview: The Good Duck Artist Lives

by Patrick Bain

CATBlogCover-1024x536 Carl Barks Preview: The Good Duck Artist LivesIf it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…  Before you finish that phrase, check to see if the signature on that art says Carl Barks, the good duck artist.  Let’s preview Carl Barks works offered in The Art of All Things Disney auction at HA just in time for Christmas.  Will prices prove the good duck artist lives on in the hearts of his fans?

Good Duck Artist

Carl-Barks-Tycoon-for-Breakfast-e1669814308558-300x229 Carl Barks Preview: The Good Duck Artist LivesI don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that among funny animal artists, Carl Barks ranks as 2nd in fame to only Walt Disney himself.  Did you know that Carl and Walt were born in the same year, 1901?  While Walt gained his fame as an animator and entertainment entrepreneur, Barks wove elaborate tales of a Duck universe in relative anonymity until 1960.  Though his works were unattributed, fans could tell when story and art originated from Carl Barks.

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I took a non-scientific poll in the Facebook group Carl Barks – the good artist.  I asked the question, what are your 3 favorite Barks stories?  Fans quickly jumped in to support my Carl Barks preview.  Thirteen Barks connoisseurs came up with 26 beloved stories–and more than one person needed to share four favorites.

Favorites included Christmas for Shacktown (Ho, Ho, Ho), The Golden Helmet, and the Land Beneath the Ground featuring the Terries and Fermies.  Thanks to group members all over the world for their quick response!  The end results don’t matter.  The key is that the Good Duck Artist evokes passion from his fans, even twenty-plus years after his death.  And why not, just before Christmas our thoughts often lean towards nostalgia for our youth.

Carl Barks Preview

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With Christmas on the way, let’s preview some Carl Barks art available at HA in their All Things Disney auction.  Barks lived long and his amazing career extended into his nineties.  HA offers several pieces of colored pencil work by The Good Duck Artist created to celebrate his 96th birthday.  His skills at that age were incredible.

One of them might be a nice addition under your tree, but don’t try to roll it up and stuff it into your Scrooge McDuck spats hung with care by your fireplace.

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Three colored pencil drawings from the same birthday event sold in 2019 ranged from $5,760 to $9,000.  The current offerings are not as elaborate as the drawing that sold for $9,000.  However, with art inflation built in, I suspect the available works will finish close to 5 figures.

Carl Barks Art Scarcity

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Although Barks is credited with illustrating about 500 stories, relatively little original published art has made it to the marketplace.  Presumably, many of his early works are gone.  This month, a 1965 page from North of the Yukon came to auction.  It sold for $24,000.  Given the scarcity of Barks published art, that price surprised me.

Similar Gold Key pages sold in 2014 to 2017 for $20K to $31K.  On further review, I observed other comparable pages sold in 2020 for an average of $20K.  So that market appears to be flat.  Long term given the significance of Carl Barks and the scarcity of his art, published pages purchased in the low twenties seem like a good buy to me.

Merry Uncle Scrooge Christmas

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Celebrating the artist that created Scrooge McDuck in the story Christmas on Bear Mountain warms the heart like hot cocoa on a snowy day.  While ‘researching’ this blog, I read Unca Scrooge’s origin tale in the second printing of Walt Disney’s Christmas Parade.  That story and Christmas in Shacktown represent two good holiday options.  HA also offers a delightful production cel from Mickey’s Christmas Carol signed by Barks.  So, enjoy the season!

I went down Christmas Memory Lane a couple years ago.  Check out some of my articles, including the original Scrooge in Classics Illustrated.

000080221A_Games_2-Footer Carl Barks Preview: The Good Duck Artist Lives*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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1 comment

Patrick Bain December 3, 2022 - 10:49 am

Thanks once again to the Facebook group Carl Barks the Good Artist! And thank you to Barks fans for jumping in to comment on my poll: Andrew, Jan, Ken, Z Samuel, Olof, Swarup, Elia, Tom, Kostas, Bo, John, Peter, Patrick, Germund, John, and Lars. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CarlBarks/posts/5503691556425578/
And for those who would like a more robust survey, check out Ken Bausert’s International Barks survey.

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