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Disney darlings appeal to bidders, commanding $1.3M+ at auction

Production cels and concept art for Disney classics such as "Snow White," "Peter Pan," and "Pinocchio," lead Heritage Auctions' Dec. 10 Animation Art sale, which realized more than $1.38 million.
Disney Snow White Queen mirror

Cel and key master background of Evil Queen and her Magic Mirror from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, realized $59,750. (All photos courtesy Heritage Auctions)

BEVERLY HILLS, California – A Production Cel and Key Master Background of the Evil Queen and her Magic Mirror from Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs conjured $59,750 to lead Heritage Auctions’ $1,385,924 Animation Art Auction in Beverly Hills. The Dec. 10 auction is the fifth straight animation auction to surpass $1 million during the last two years, realizing a grand total of $7.4 million.

“This only proves the animation market is increasingly being considered as fine art,” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation at Heritage Auctions. “No other auction house has been able to deliver consignors anywhere near our $7 million in successful bids over the last two years.”

Production Cels and Concept Drawings Attract Bidders

A rare, production cel sequence and pan key master background setup from the 1965 Disney holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, sold for $59,750, but it was art from Walt Disney Studios that claimed the lion’s share of bids.

Concept art from artist Mary Blair proved popular, as her imagining of Disneyland’s It’s a Small World

Bugs and Friends painting

Color painting of Bugs Bunny and friends by animator Chuck Jones, saw $12,547.

attraction sold for $31,070; her concept painting for the mermaid sequence in 1953’s Peter Pan ended at $26,290 and concept art of Pan and Wendy, Michael, John and Tinker Bell flying off to Neverland sold for $14,340.

A hand-painted Cel Setup of the Blue Fairy chatting with Jiminy Cricket from Disney's Pinocchio sold for $21,510, and Production Cels and Master Pan Production Background Setup of the main characters from 1955’s Lady and the Tramp ended at $13,145.

Warner Brothers cels by Chuck Jones saw intense bidder interest as 15 bidders competed to own a single Production Cel of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny from the animated short What’s Opera, Doc?, which sold for $13,145. A Color Painting of Bugs Bunny and Friends hand-drawn by Jones himself sold for $12,547.

Additional highlights include more Disney icons, but are not limited to:

• A group of Four Original Drawings of various Disney characters published by Good Housekeeping in the 1930s and 1940s sold for a combined $21,569.

— An Original Painting featuring “Snow White” by Peter Max sold for $11,950.

• Drawing of the “Horned King” by Tim Burton for the 1985 film The Black Cauldron brought $11,950.

— A circa 1935-39 Production Cel and Background Setup featuring both Mickey and Minnie Mouse from the short the Brave Little Tailor/Music Land realized $10,755.

• Rare, detailed Model Sheet from 1940, showing early renditions of title character Pinocchio, sold for $9,560, nearly double its $5,000 pre-auction estimate.

— Gulliver's Travels Production Cel Setup and Key Master Background Setup (Max Fleischer, 1939) sold for $7,170

• Scarce Title Cel and Master Background Set up for Super Friends animated television program sold for $1,673.

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