Who says the Fourth of July weekend has to be all about fireworks, barbecues and a trip to the lake?
John Breffle is expecting Georgia football fans to show up for an auction Sunday to get their hands on Bulldogs artwork from renowned cartoonist Jack Davis.
“I barely put it out there and people are already calling me because they couldn’t find any,” Breffle said. “Most people that have them don’t want to sell them.”
The sale is part of the estate auction from a late former publisher who worked with Davis. It will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday at Breffle Auction Company in Statham at 1906 Railroad Street.
“It’s the last of the Jack Davis prints,” Breffle said. “It’s from the publisher who died several years ago and his wife has been hanging on to them. They destroyed the plates. As far as any quantity, this is it. This is the last stockpile of them.”
Breffle estimates that more than 1,000 prints will be available, with 15 to 20 different selections of Davis’ work.
Some come with Davis’ autograph.
“They’ll be the most sought after,” Breffle said.
Stacks of the prints – about 10 to 15 per stack – will be auctioned. He expects those to go for between $200 to $300.
Breffle usually is auctioning off furniture, coins and rugs.
The reason for Davis’ enormous popularity?
“Sometimes things and people just connect, somewhat naturally,” said Loran Smith, the Georgia historian who served as the Bulldogs’ sideline reporter and has authored books on UGA football. “His cartoons really connected because people really liked it.”
Davis, a UGA alum and Atlanta native who now lives in St. Simons, was an original artist for Mad magazine and is credited with 36 Time magazine cover illustrations. In the Bulldog Nation, his cartoons from seasons gone by are cherished keepsakes.
Smith said Davis never charged Georgia for his artwork, but he did get something in return while living in New York.
“I found a way to fly him and his wife down for the Florida game and he would stay at St. Simons and play golf,” Smith said.
His program covers and artwork caught on.
“What made it really nice is he’s just a wonderful, wonderful talent … just so modest and so genuine,” Smith said. “He loves seeing his work on billboards, not out of ego, but just out of pride. He’s sort of a superstar in his life and he’s a modest superstar.”