Already in 1980 Barks began to sell what he called Rights of Publishing to a number of private collectors for limited copy series (typically 3) of one of their original paintings. Barks started out with rather modest royalty figures of 100 to 750 dollars!
In 1980 Barks was granted another permission (the first one ran from 1971 to 1976) by The Walt Disney Company to paint duck paintings with two major alterations; 1. The paintings were to be used for 'lifelike' graphic reproductions, and 2. The permission had no expiration date! Especially the first clause had a tremendous impact on Barks' earnings in his last golden years, because not only was he very handsomely paid for his paintings, but he often earned more in signing fees (the lithographs and serigraphs were all signed by Barks personally) and royalties!
Royalties can in some cases go both ways:
Whenever Disney strikes a business deal with a person or
a company who wishes to market a product incorporating the Disney
characters they have to pay certain amounts to Disney in
royalties. This is a sound way to conduct business as both
parties benefit greatly, but in Barks' case Disney
surprisingly abstained from collecting royalties for Barks' use
of the Disney ducks in his paintings!
When Barks got his first permission from Disney to do his duck paintings in July 1971, he was elated. More so as he could write a friend that 'the Disney attorney gave me a royalty-free license to do oil paintings of 'fine art' quality for a price of not less than $25.00 each. I can sign my name as the artist, and letter 'c Walt Disney Productions' on the front of the painting'. It is extremely rare for Disney to allow a person to use their characters without him having to pay royalties, so no wonder that Barks was extra happy!
The royalties below are merely examples taken from Barks' second permission run from Disney to paint the ducks. It ran from 1982 with no time limit (see more on the actual painting prices HERE). You should know that Barks not always received his royalties - which primarily came from this second batch of paintings made for series of lithographs and serigraphs (see more HERE) - in full payments as lump sums; sometimes the amounts were so large (and the actual sales so widespread in time) that Barks negotiated steady payments over a longer period of time.
This is a presentation of 4 of the best known painting reproductions. You can see more HERE.
These are the first lithographs of many made by Another Rainbow Publishing (owned by Barks' two sales managers Bruce Hamiltion and Russ Cochran). The lithographs were made in the 1980's as regular editions only.
124/82 Sailing the Spanish Main
Total royalties: 2,604.85 dollars
125/83 An Embarrassment of Riches
Total royalties: 13,737.38 dollars
These are the first serigraphs ordered by The Walt Disney Company. The serigraphs were made in the 1990's in three different editions. Advance royalty payment of each of the reproductions were 75,000 dollars. The final payments for each ended up being more than twice this sum, as Disney paid Barks quarterly sums on the actual sales for a number of years. You can see one example from 1998 HERE.
- /93 The Golden Fleece
This painting was not Barks' first attempt with that particular motif, which is why it has never received a numbering. The original - and almost identical - motif was numbered and titled 8/72 Golden Fleece. So 19 years later Disney requested this motif to be re-painted for serigraph purposes.
Reproduced in three
141/94 Rich Finds at Inventory Time
Reproduced in three editions:
Of course, Barks was elated to receive a steady and handsome income in his golden years. In October 1993 he wrote a telling letter to his daughter Dorothy (excerpt): ...Im doing a big painting for a fabulous price (Rich Finds at Inventory Time which sold for 200,000 dollars - Editor's remark). Disney wants to make a serigraph of it, for fabulous royalties. They also want to make serigraphs of other paintings of mine... - The rest is pleasant history.