Two 1968 Topps "Hang-Ups" Original Artworks by Basil Wolverton

Sold For: $15,275

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1663

Item Year: 1968

Category: Non-Sports Cards/Sheets/Card Artwork

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Each of these two original pen-and-ink drawings (on paper) by renowned artist Basil Wolverton was commissioned by Topps in 1968 for use in a rare test issue of comic posters called "Hang-Ups." 1968 Topps "Hang-Ups," which were posters measuring approximately 10 x 18 inches and printed in color on thin paper stock, featured humorous captions that were complimented by one of Wolverton's outlandish images. It appears that Topps originally intended to produce eighteen "Hang-Ups" posters, but for some reason only twelve were published. (That assumption is based upon the fact that examples of poster numbers 2, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 18 have never been found.) Of the two artworks offered here, one was published, while the other is presumed to be one of the other six commissioned works apparently not used by Topps. Both of these artworks were inherited by our consignor over thirty years ago from his father, who had a very significant personal connection to Basil Wolverton. They were given to him as a special keepsake and have remained in his possession since that time. For inventory purposes, we are identifying each piece by its respective caption (it would take up half the pages in the catalog to try to describe the images). 1) "I'll Never Forget You - Who Could?" This is the original artwork used for the published Topps "Hang Ups" poster #7. The caption is written along the base in pencil. Editorial pencil notations, including its publication number, "Topps 7," appear in the lower right quadrant. 2) "You Have A Wonderful Personality...But Not For A Human Being." The caption is typed on a small slip of paper that is affixed to the base by means of masking tape (browned with age). This is one of the unpublished works and based upon the number "14E" written by Wolverton in ink, and again by a member of the editorial staff in pencil in the lower right, this was most likely intended to be used for poster #14. Both of the artworks (14.5 x 21 inches) displays light handling wear consistent with pieces intended for publication and are in outstanding Excellent condition overall.

Artist Basil Wolverton (1909-1979) once described himself as a "Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People who Prowl this Perplexing Planet." That self-proclaimed title was probably tame given his many bizarre and unconventional works. Wolverton had a unique and instantly recognizable style, and is extremely well known for his illustration of "Lena Hyena," the ugliest woman in the world, which was first introduced to the public in a 1946 Li'l Abner comic strip (Wolverton's image of Lena was chosen over thousands of others submitted to Al Capp in a national contest). Wolverton went on to write/illustrate a number of Marvel comic books and was also a frequent contributor to Mad magazine. In the 1960s he worked on many popular nonsports card issues, primarily with Topps, including Ugly Stickers, Make Your Own Stickers, Fink buttons (for Fleer), Batty Book covers, and "Hang-Ups." Of those issues, "Hang-Ups," because they were a test issue, are by far the rarest. This is a highly significant pair of original Basil Wolverton artworks showcasing his unique style. Total: 2 original artworks. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $15,275

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