Goodwill Shopper Finds Original Sketch for $3 That All of Our Inner Children Would Envy


Oct. 26 2023, Published 3:53 p.m. ET

Most of us grew up with The Berenstain Bears, the bear family who taught us important lessons in life through the pages of many children’s books. The popular franchise that started in the early 1960s with children’s books eventually moved into cartoon movies, television series, and even video games.

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Like with any iconic franchise, early memorabilia can be valuable. So imagine how excited one Goodwill shopper was when they found an original autographed Berenstain Bears sketch for just a few bucks.

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A Goodwill shopper found a Berenstain Bears original sketch for a bargain.

Reddit user @DavyCrockPot19 shared his find on the subreddit ThriftStoreHauls. “Struck a core memory with this Berenstain Bears sketch at Goodwill for $3,” they wrote in a post.

The sketch is a framed and matted pencil sketch of the Berenstain Bear family of four with a signature from Stan and Jan Berenstain, original creators of the classic children’s books.

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Husband and wife illustrator team Stan and Jan Berenstain published the first Berenstain Bears book, The Big Honey Hunt, in 1962 with the help of their editor Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), according to an article in The Washington Post. The book flew off shelves, prompting Geisel to request more books about the bear family.

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The first Berenstain Bears book featured just three family members, Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Small Bear, who would eventually become Brother Bear when Sister Bear came along in 1974. Honey Bear joined the family in the early 2000s, and was introduced in the book The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five.

Because the sketch the OP found at Goodwill only features Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister Bear, it most likely was created between 1974 and 2000. They also posted the picture on the subreddit WhatIsThisPainting, asking if it was an original sketch or a print, and on the subreddit WhatsThisWorth.

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Many people in the comments seemed to think the Berenstain Bears sketch was a true original.

A commenter on the OP’s post in WhatIsThisPainting said the Goodwill find looks like a legitimate original sketch. “I see vague pencil lines under the reinforced ink. All your phone images are too low res for me to distinguish pixelization indicating a print, but look for that. The way it is framed to show the signature is also suggestive of an original. Best guess,” the commenter wrote.

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When someone on ThriftStoreHauls suggested the picture is probably a print because the signature looks like it’s on different paper, another said they believe the signature is on the same paper, just matted “so there wasn’t a large negative space.”

The OP agreed the signature appears to be on the same paper as the sketch. “I suspect the same thing. The frame is sealed, so I don’t wanna break it open to check,” they wrote.

Congrats to this thrift shopper on making former children everywhere jealous!

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