YOUR MONEY: You can bet on a good draw

Alternative investments: the original artwork of quality cartoonists is in demand. A Giles can fetch pounds 4,000

CHOOSING Christmas presents can be fun: original cartoons not only give pleasure but may also be good investments. Making a selection in specialist galleries is also good for a chuckle.

Work of the classic cartoonists, such as Giles and H M Bateman (who is said to have inspired Ralph Steadman), has doubled in price over the past five years. Scarfe, Steadman and Heath Robinson (whose name has passed into the language) are all in demand, attracting high prices, and many collectors want to buy original works by Gary Larson, famous for The Far Side, which he does not generally release for sale.

Original cartoon artwork of this kind is usually in pen and ink, though some is in charcoal, coloured ink or watercolour. The best cartoons are recognised by their admirers as high-quality art.

Chris Beetles's gallery in London has a 700-item Christmas exhibition until 19 January, with items ranging from Larry cartoons at pounds 100 to the work of Ronald Searle, selling for more than pounds 2,000.

At John Rae-Smith's Islington gallery he is selling a Giles original for pounds 1,600. He recently sold a Heath Robinson illustration for pounds 3,000. But there are other pieces selling for pounds 20. Mr Rae-Smith says the average price is pounds 125.

"Cartoon and comic artwork from the early part of this century is very valuable, but there is very little contemporary artwork that will have much value for a while," says Paul Gravett, the administrator of the Cartoon Art Trust. "Giles's cartoons are going up and up. When he died, everything he did went up a couple of hundred. He got virtually everything back from the Express. Very few have gone on the market, which has put up their value. They sell for pounds 500 to pounds 1,000 for a regular black and white Giles. Some will sell for pounds 3,000 to pounds 4,000.

"A lot of good cartoonists, who are not household names but whose work is very good, are worth investing in for the future," Mr Gravett said. He predicts that the work of 1930s and 1940s cartoonists Edward Hynes (who produced the early, non-pornographic covers for Men Only), Leslie Grimes ("a wonderful charcoal technique") and Robert Sherriffs ("overlooked and influential") will all rise in value.

Cartoons that mark important events, such as the fall of Margaret Thatcher, are also likely to appreciate, Mr Gravett believes. He warns, though, that as events fade into obscurity so the meaning, and the value, of political cartoons inspired by them can fade as well. Often cartoons that are more general social comment retain their meaning and their price better.

Note too that many widely available 19th-century cartoon prints, although often relatively cheap, are not originals but limited print runs and are unlikely to have the same scope for investment gain.

The Cartoon Art Trust gives advice about buying cartoons, and hosts evening classes and lectures, as well as regular exhibitions. It holds an annual auction each autumn that is hosted by Bonhams.

September's sale included a Doonesbury strip by Trudeau (whose cartoons are syndicated to the Guardian), that sold for pounds 275, a Steve Bell cartoon (also in the Guardian) for pounds 140, a portrait of the Cabinet by Riddell (whose cartoons used to appear in the Independent on Sunday), that went for pounds 325, and a Peanuts strip from Charles Schulz that sold for pounds 1,200. Peanuts cartoons sell well because they have a large following and few come on the market.

Cartoons often appear in sales at the big auction houses. Cartoon originals of Winston Churchill, dating from the 1920s and 1930s, sold at Bonhams last week for between pounds 100 and pounds 220, considerably more than their guide price.

Politicians and celebrities commonly buy cartoon originals direct from the cartoonists - although some cartoonists refuse to sell to politicians they despise. The public could try the direct approach too. While a few sell their work through dealers, most will respond to written offers sent to their newspapers, magazines or book publishers.

Steve Way, one of the cartoonists who produces the Generation Why strip in the Independent, says he would welcome more offers. Mr Way says he has sold around 20 in a year. "It's nice to sell them - otherwise you end up with a shirt-box full and you don't get any contact to know whether people like them or not."

Jacky Fleming, whose feminist cartoons are published by Penguin, has sold her cartoon originals for between pounds 50 and pounds 100 each, although she would need a better offer to part with her favourites.

For those who are more interested in viewing than in buying, there is an exhibition of Giles's cartoons at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea until 14 January. Some are on loan from the Duke of Edinburgh, who is a keen collector.

q Cartoon Art Trust, 0171-405 4717; Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, 01792-655006; Chris Beetles Gallery, 0171-839 7551; Rae-Smith Cartoons, 0181-348 6569.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
VIDEO
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit