Peanuts comic strip problem

Seven On Your Side
May 15, 2009 9:35:24 PM PDT
It was a Peanuts comic strip controversy that might make even Charlie Brown yell "Good grief!" A New York collector found an original Peanuts strip drawn by legendary cartoonist Charles Schulz, in her closet. So she consigned it to a New York auctioneer. But she needed more than help from Lucy and Snoopy to get paid. It was a comic strip that sold for more than just "Peanuts." It featured Charlie Brown's loveable dog, Snoopy. And it was drawn and signed by the legendary cartoonist, Charles Schulz, some forty years ago.

"It's definitely an original," art collector Jeri Jackson had the precious Peanuts strip stashed away in her closet. And late last year she consigned it to the Manhattan auctioneer, Illustration House. They sold it for big bucks, $24,000.

After Illustration House took their commission, Jeri would get, "Roughly $22,000...sounds good to me."

But it wasn't that easy. The auction was last December and, according to the contract, Jeri should've been paid 35 days after the sale. But, "I did not get the check," fumed Jeri. "I didn't even get the courtesy of a phone call."

Jeri isn't alone. "No Money, no phone call, no email." These are the words of frustrated art dealer John Thomas Lee. Four years he came to us with the exact same beef with Illustration House. He was out a little less than $3000. But we made a call and, "The next day I had a check," said Mr. Lee.

So we re-visited Illustration House recently.

First, Jeri got some good news from a rep at the auction house, "He's (Illustration House's owner) actually is on his way to the bank right now, to get a cashier's check for Miss Jackson.

She got a check for more than $11,400. The bad news? She was still owed nearly half, exactly $10,000. "It just doesn't make sense, it's not good business," says Jeri.

So we kept the heat on. And finally, Illustration House called Jeri to their office their rep handed her one more check.

"This is basically all we have left in our company account," that's what an Illustration House rep told us as he handed over a check for $750. "Like alot of companies we're undergoing alot of financial difficulties."

But they're still in business. And, according to their website, they have another auction scheduled for the end of this month. Ironically, another Peanuts comic strip will be on the block. Jeri hopes to be first in line to be paid off.


Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Tappy Phillips