Heritage’s The Art of Anime and Everything Cool Signature Auction continues to gain popularity and attract eye-catching consignments to tempt collectors of original comics, trading cart artwork and animation cels.
The third installment, a four-day sold-out event, closed late Monday night and outpaced its predecessors both in dollar value and the number of bidders who participated. The sale realized $3,115,598 to shatter the record high set last December, with numerous lots far exceeding their initial estimates. And more than 4,700 bidders competed for their slices of history online, over the phone and in person, the largest turn-out yet.
“We were thrilled with the success of our December Animation Art auction, which brought more than $2.6 million, and this sold-out sale of more than 2,200 lots went well above and beyond that,” says Heritage Auctions VP and Director of Animation & Anime Art Jim Lentz. “Animation art in all its forms has never been more popular among collectors, as evidenced by the results of this auction and its predecessors. It has been enormously rewarding and thrilling to curate these sales at Heritage Auctions, and a jump in bidders by nearly 1,000 this time suggests the upward trend will only continue.”
In a surprising twist for animation auction hounds, this feat was accomplished without a single lot of Disney art — which have long proven the most popular and coveted cels among collectors. However, pieces will be offered separately from Dec. 9-12 during The Art of All Things Disney Animation Art Signature Auction.
The leading lots in the third Art of Anime and Everything Cool event ranged from an original Feb. 21, 1954, Peanuts Sunday comic strip by Charles Schulz, which realized $72,000; to a production cel and animated drawing from Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 Studio Ghibli masterpiece Kiki’s Delivery Service, which sold for $40,800; to a painting of Wolverine made by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt for Marvel Comics’ popular 1994 Masterpieces Powerblast trading-card series, which opened the four-day event by selling for $33,600.
Also included in this sale were 49 lots from Akira, the extremely popular 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo and based on Otomo’s 1982 manga of the same name. Not surprisingly, a production cel and animation drawing from Akira featuring Kaneda speeding on his iconic bike ranked among the event’s top lots when it sold for $33,600.
Another diverse offering of this edition was a stop-motion puppet of Sally, one of the stars of the Henry Selick-directed, Tim Burton-produced The Nightmare Before Christmas. This scarce, masterfully crafted, hand-painted work also realized $33,600.
The 57 Studio Ghibli offerings in this auction proved covered keepsakes among collectors, who fought over such works as a production cel from the pigeon-feeding sequence in 1986’s Castle in the Sky, which realized $30,000; and a grinning Catbus from 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro, which sold for $26,400.
One of the most sought-after pieces in this auction didn’t come from a specific cartoon, but a network: Nickelodeon. When Universal Studios in Orlando opened on June 7, 1990, Nickelodeon Studios opened alongside it; two years later, a time capsule for the network was planted “as a gift to kids of the future.” Eventually, the capsule was moved to Burbank, where it’s still scheduled to be opened on April 30, 2042, but the enormous time-capsule cover — more than 42 inches in diameter, more than 45 pounds in weight — sold last weekend for $19,200.
This was also a landmark auction for The Flintstones, largely thanks to the original concept drawings by Hanna-Barbera animation greats Ed Benedict and Dick Bickenbach that were once displayed in the Norman Rockwell Museum. A complete 55-page set of original storyboard artwork for the 1963 episode “The Blessed Event” realized $18,000 — one collector now has the entirety of Pebbles’ first baby album. And Benedict’s 1960 model sheet featuring Betty Rubble and Dino sold for $12,000.
And not to be outdone, several collectors dreamed of Jeannie — but only one could win the I Dream of Jeannie opening sequence production cel featuring Jeannie and her bottle. That sold for $16,800.
See all that Heritage Auctions has to offer at ha.com.