Classic Disney Cels Make a Killing at Heritage Auctions

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Original cels from Disney classics such as Fantasia, Snow White and Lady and the Tramp are continuing to draw huge sales at Heritage Auctions’ Animation events. At the Feb. 21 Animation Art Signature Auction, a three-cel set-up from Walt Disney’s classic Lady and the Tramp realized $33,460 and a cel featuring Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia sold for $26,290—overall reporting 93.9% by value and 97.8% by lot.

“Our formula was to auction primarily fresh material that had never before been offered for sale, with almost no reserves, and to cross promote it to a new generation of bidders as well as seasoned animation collectors,” said Jim Lentz, director of Animation Art for Heritage. “We plan to continue in this vein and also to continue emphasizing the whole range of animation from 1928-2000.”

Disney animation from the 1937 classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs claimed the majority of top lot honors including a Snow White and the Old Hag production cel set-up, fetched $26,290, an Evil Queen production cel with signed card brought $25,095, and a production cel featuring Snow White surrounded by seven pint-sized heroes as she sings “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” and accented with a hand-painted background, sold for $20,315. A rare character model sheet featuring concept drawings for each of the seven dwarfs, plus notations, realized $6,572.

The auction offered collectors a broad range of Walt Disney’s imagination as a black and white nitrate production cel with presentation background from the 1931 Mickey Mouse short Traffic Troubles reached $19,120 and a pair of original maquettes of two drunken pirates created in the early 1960s to develop Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride, quickly sold for $20,315.

A number of rarities from Warner Bros. Studios proved popular with bidders as an original signed watercolor painting of Pepe Le Pew by Chuck Jones, brought $13,732, an early Wile E. Coyote concept sketch by Jones brought $9,500, and a series of rare 1955 Wile E. Coyote production cels fetched $3,107.

In addition, a pan production cel set-up from the 1969 television special It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown attained $12,547 and a production cel set-up with background from 1983’s The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show ended at $10,157. A 1990 production cel and background from the first ever episode of The Simpsons sold for $2,031 and a 1962 concept drawing original art for what would become the animated series The Jetsons reached $2,390, while one of five known publicity cels featuring the entire Jetson’s cast of characters and signed by the actors who lent their voices to the show’s return to syndication in 1985 brought $2,151.

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Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp