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  $1.96 Million: The Most Valuable Animation Auction Ever Held

Mickey Mouse, Mary Blair, Charlie Brown, Grinch, Scooby Doo lead Heritage Auctions’ record-breaking event 

DALLAS, Texas (December 11, 2018) – A 1969 painting from The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square sparked a flurry of competitive bidding en route to claiming top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ Animation Art Auction Dec. 8-9 in Beverly Hills, California. With sell-through rates of 99.1 percent by value and 99.76 percent by lots sold, the sale totaled $1,956,296, making it Heritage Auctions’ most successful Heritage Auctions animation auction in the history of the company, and one of the biggest ever held.

More than 30 bidders pursued Haunted Mansion Stretching Room Disneyland Painting Original Art (Walt Disney, 1969) until it closed at $72,000, nearly tripling its pre-auction estimate. The rare, hand-painted image was one of four that greeted guests upon entry into The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans before the images were replaced at the attraction by prints. The massive (11 feet, 2 inches by 3 feet, 10 inches) painting shows the Elderly Widow sitting on her husband’s tombstone, and is hand-signed by Marc Davis.

“This animation art auction was our best to date,” Heritage Auctions Animation Art Director Jim Lentz said. “It showcased the global love of animation art. Record prices were seen across the board for all the studios: Disney, Hanna Barbera, Warner Brothers and so many more!”

Two lots set individual records: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Full Cast Stock Production Cel (Hanna-Barbera, 1969) was driven by two dozen bidders to a record price of $26,400, whileWinsor McCay Gertie the Dinosaur Animation Drawing Original Art (1914) sparked 16 similarly eager bidders before establishing a new standard for Gertie artwork when it brought $24,000.

Mickey Mouse Turns 90
Perhaps the most celebrated animated character of all time, Mickey Mouse was hailed in the auction through the sale of 65 lots. Leading the way was Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse and Pete Animation Drawing Original Art (Walt Disney, 1928), a rare 12-field, two-peghole animation drawing in graphite of both Mickey Mouse and Peg Leg Pete that went for $14,400 to the winning bidder from a field of 28.

Plane Crazy Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Animation Drawing (Walt Disney, 1928-29)continued the active bidding for Mickey Mouse-related memorabilia when 19 bidders pushed its price to $14,400, while Mickey Mouse Early Publicity Artwork Signed by Walt Disney (Walt Disney, c. early 1930s), showcasing Mickey’s 1930s design with the classic “pie slice” eyes and double brow brought $11,400, more than twice its estimate.

Mary Blair artwork
Blair was so revered for her artwork that she earned a 1991 induction into the Disney Legends group and established her as Walt Disney’s favorite artist. Among her highlights in the auction, some of which came from the Mary Blair Family Trust, was “It’s a Small World” Concept Painting by Mary Blair (Walt Disney, 1964), which nearly tripled its pre-auction estimate when it sold for $28,800. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Headless Horseman Concept Painting by Mary Blair (Walt Disney, 1949) topped its estimate by more than 100 percent when it closed at $21,600,“It’s a Small World” Park Ride Penguin Prop (Walt Disney, 1964) drew bids from 29 collectors on the way to a final price of $19,200, and Alice in Wonderland Tweedledum and Tweedledee Concept Painting by Mary Blair (Walt Disney, 1951) more than tripled its estimate when it yielded $16,800.

The competitive bidding continued when 19 collectors made a play for Lady and the TrampBackground Color Key/Concept Painting by Eyvind Earle (Walt Disney, 1955), which finished at $24,000. After Blair’s departure from the Disney studio, Earle was recruited to do more than 50 background Color Key paintings for the infamous scene in which Lady and Tramp share spaghetti and meatballs. This large (16-by-13-inch) image is done in gouache on board, and is signed by Earle in the lower right corner.

Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang appeared in 35 lots in the auction. Peanuts – The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show “Happy Dance” Snoopy and Charlie Brown Production Cel Sequence of 7 with Pan Master Background (Bill Melendez, 1983) more than quadrupled its pre-auction estimate when it sold for $10,800. Peanuts – A Charlie Brown Christmas “Tree Lot” Limited Edition Cel #212/500 (Bill Melendez, 1993) and Peanuts – Charlie Brown and Friends Color Model Cel on Production Background (Bill Melendez, 1970s) each prompted at least two dozen bids when they sold for $6,300 and $5,040, respectively

Dr. Seuss’ legendary Grinch made a pre-holiday appearance, with 25 lots drawing the attention of numerous collectors. Topping the wish list of Grinch collectors was Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas Grinch and Max Production Cel (MGM 1966), which sold for $4,320, and Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas Storyboard Original Art (MGM, 1966), which brought $4,080.

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

·         Bambi Production Cel Courvoisier Setup with Master Production Background and Walt Disney Signature (Walt Disney, 1942): $21,600

·         Two-Gun Mickey Production Cel with Production Background (Walt Disney, 1932/1934): $20,400

·         “Enchanted Tiki Room” Disneyland Park Entrance Poster (Walt Disney, 1967): $19,200 

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

The Internet’s most popular auction-house website,, has over one million registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

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Hi-Res images available: 

Steve Lansdale, Public Relations Specialist

214-409-1699 or




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