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A purported original Calvin and Hobbes strip signed by Bill Watterson sold over the weekend on eBay for $14,100. There’s just one problem — well, two if you count the seller had no sales history: It’s the fabled “pills” strip, which pops up from time to time, only to be quickly discredited.
The strip in question is the well-traveled one — it’s sometimes described as the unpublished “final” installment — in which a now-medicated Calvin is more interested in completing his school report than playing with Hobbes, who, in the final heartbreaking panel, reverts to stuffed-animal form. It’s appeared in a variety of formats, both in color and in black and white.
Although fake Watterson strips crop up on auction sites from time to time, most are more convincing, and less widely circulated, than this one. The listing for the comic, which was purportedly “purchased off a kind elderly boutique owner with known ties to Bill Watterson, in Chagrin Falls in 2008,” has since been removed from eBay.
Asked by Bleeding Cool for more details about the strip’s origins, the seller reportedly said, “I can only release that information to the buyer.”
Before wading into an online auction such as that one, it’s probably a good idea to contact The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which houses the Bill Watterson Deposit Collection; it includes a majority of the original Calvin & Hobbes artwork. Heck, they encourage you to check with them first.