Vintage Snoopy Astronaut Doll Sells at Auction for $1,300

SnoopyAstronautOn Tuesday, a Snoopy Astronaut doll was auctioned for $1,300 ($1,625 including premium) at Bonhams. Made out of plastic and textile and standing 10 inches tall, the doll features the Peanuts comic strip character in a space suit and helmet. It was produced in China by Determined Distributions of San Francisco for United Feature Syndicate in 1969.

Snoopy was adopted by NASA with the full blessing of creator Charles M. Schulz as the Manned Flight Awareness (MFA) program mascot, which used him as a “spokesperson,” to emphasize such topics as flight safety and good quality control during spacecraft manufacturing.

The lot included the original red and blue distribution and display box, and the doll helmet back is inscribed and signed, “Snoopy LM-4, GENE CERNAN, Apollo X LMP.” The Apollo X LM crew named their lunar module Snoopy partly to bring greater recognition to the MFA program.

Expanded Partnerships for Lionel Means More Licensed Trains

LionelLionel has expanded its partnerships with Warner Bros., Coca-Cola, and Peanuts. As a result of these agreements, this year will see a number of new G-Gauge and Ready to Run O-Gauge train sets, including Frosty the Snowman, Coca-Cola Holiday, and Snoopy Railways. The model train maker also enjoys a new license with Crayola.

“Lionel Trains is bringing the nostalgia of iconic train sets to the hearts of fans of all ages,” said Howard Hitchcock, SVP/GM of Lionel. “By securing new licenses and expanding partnerships to grow our G-Gauge and Ready to Run O-Gauge platforms, we’re putting trains from familiar and beloved brands into the hands of children of all ages.”

Peanuts Lands Own Island in Poptropica

The Peanuts cast has landed in Poptropica with the launch of a new island, Great Pumpkin Island. The website’s 15th island is now available to Poptropica members with Early Access and will premiere to the public on October 14.

Based on the comic property created by Charles M. Schulz, Great Pumpkin Island features the Peanuts characters as they get ready for Halloween. Throughout the Island quest, Poptropicans will experience memorable scenes from the Peanuts television special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, including visiting the pumpkin patch with Linus, trick-or-treating with the whole gang, and taking flight with Snoopy as the World War I flying ace.

Iconix Completes Peanuts Acquisition

Iconix Brand Group, Inc. has completed the acquisition of the Peanuts brand and related assets of United Media Licensing, a division of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., through a newly formed joint venture company, Peanuts Worldwide, LLC. The new company is 80 percent owned by Iconix and 20 percent owned by Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, managed by the Schulz family.

This deal changes the landscape of Iconix and moves the company beyond fashion. Consumer products outside of fashion now represent approximately one-third of the company’s overall revenue.

In addition to Peanuts, Iconix has acquired the licensing and character representation for a number of character brands, including Dilbert and Fancy Nancy.

The purchase price for the acquisition was $175 million. Iconix funded its portion of the purchase price with cash on its balance sheet.

United Media Being Sold to Iconix

E.W. Scripps Co. said Tuesday it will sell United Media for $175 million to Joe Boxer owner Iconix Brand Group Inc. The sale of United Media Licensing also means Iconix has a new partnership with the family of the late “Peanuts” creator, Charles Schulz. They’ll receive 20 percent ownership in the unit that owns “Peanuts” and pay that percentage of the sale price. United Media Licensing also represents other character brands such as Dilbert and Fancy Nancy, but the bulk of its licensing business comes from “Peanuts.”

In 2009, revenue of the unit fell 10 percent to nearly $92 million. That figure includes United Media’s syndication operations, which Scripps will still own, meaning it will still syndicate comic strips and editorial features.

Scripps said the cash deal will close by the end of the second quarter.