Presented is the actual original painting used to create card #35 in the Lone Ranger gum-card series produced in 1940 by Gum, Inc. That this is one of the most spectacular of all Lone Ranger original artworks is not by chance: The gentleman who consigned this masterpiece long ago purchased the entire surviving original artwork archives of Gum, Inc. directly from the family of Gum, Inc., art director Charles H. Steinbacher. Over the years the collection has long been sold, with the exception of a few key museum-caliber examples representing the very best of the entire collection. This is one of the few masterpieces he held back from selling all these years! There comes a time to sell everything, and this is the time for these few special pieces. This artwork has never before been offered publicly or privately. It is one of the truly great Lone Ranger Gum, Inc. artworks and one of the standout artworks from any set ever issued by Gum, Inc.
This illustration, for the card titled "The Haunted House," captures the Lone Ranger as he wrests a gun from the arm of Hank Milland, the son of a wealthy miner who had imprisoned his half brother Hugh in order to steal his inheritance. Both the card number ("35") and the title of the card ("The Haunted House") are written in pencil on the reverse (the number "35" is also written in black crayon). The reverse also bears a stamp reading "The Lone Ranger, Inc.," below which is the blue-ink signature of Fran Striker, who was the co-creator of the Lone Ranger. Striker's approval was needed on each artwork before publication, and his signature here indicates to the publisher that he had officially "signed off" on this work. This piece, like all other original Lone Ranger artworks in the hobby today, originates from the estate of Charles H. Steinbacher, who was the art director for the George Moll Advertising Agency, which handled the Gum, Inc., account. Steinbacher is one of the legendary figures in the field of nonsports cards and is best known today for producing the famous Horrors of War set for Gum, Inc., which was first issued in 1938. He is also very well known by collectors for being the source of virtually all original Gum, Inc., artworks. Original artworks from any prewar card issue are extremely rare, especially those from such popular issues as the Lone Ranger. Of all the Gum, Inc. original artworks, the artworks for the 1940 Lone Ranger series are the most substantial, detailed, beautiful, and, most important, truly original paintings. It should also be noted that even though a number of original Lone Ranger artworks were saved by Steinbacher, many were not, and this piece is one of only approximately twenty-five surviving examples. The watercolor-on-board painting (6.125 x 5 inches) is in Excellent condition overall. The board displays chips to each corner as well as a single tack hole along both the top and bottom border (related to the Gum, Inc., card production process and not affecting the artwork). Accompanied by an original example of the R83 Lone Ranger card. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++. SOLD FOR $3,819
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