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Van Eaton Galleries announces "Walt Disney: The Man, The Studio, and The Parks" auction
Splash Mountain Vehicle Model.



LOS ANGELES, CA.- One can easily argue that Walt Disney is among the most influential figures of the 20th century. He was a visionary who created an entertainment empire focusing on family fun, and a universe of memorable characters, most notably Mickey Mouse. From his theme park known as “the happiest place on earth,” to his full-length feature films, animated characters, and pioneering work in family entertainment, no one comes close to the imagination and legendary achievements of Walt Disney: The Man, The Studio, and the Theme Parks.

Van Eaton Galleries, the Sherman Oaks based auction house specializing in Disney memorabilia and animation, and recognized authority on all things Disney, has announced a historic auction event celebrating the life and legacy of Walt Disney. The “Walt Disney: The Man, The Studio, and The Parks” auction will take place on Walt’s birthday, Saturday, December 5, 2020, beginning at 10:00 a.m. PT in Los Angeles. This offering represents the most significant and comprehensive collection of early Walt Disney artifacts and Disney related memorabilia ever assembled.

Some of the remarkable Walt Disney artifacts include a very early World War I scrapbook, Walt’s original letters, and other personal items which give a glimpse into the private life of the legendary entrepreneur who changed the face of entertainment. All will be offered in celebration of Walt’s birthday!

Walter Elias Disney was born December 5, 1901 in Chicago. He spent his early childhood in Marceline, Missouri where he developed his love of drawing. His family later moved to Kansas City, Missouri and then back to Chicago, where Walt was the cartoonist for his high school newspaper. In 1917, his brother Roy enlisted in the Army. Walt, who was too young to enlist, found a Red Cross unit who accepted his falsified birth certificate and sent him to France to be an ambulance driver. During this time Walt would draw on his ambulance, illustrate canteen menus, and sketch political and editorial cartoons based on his experiences there.

One of the earliest pieces on offer from this formative time in Walt’s life is Walt Disney’s Hand-written and Signed Ambulance Postcard (c. 1918-1919). This incredible, one-of-a-kind signed World War I era silver gelatin postcard print depicts a young Walt Disney in his Red Cross uniform. The postcard features a handwritten letter to his friend Virginia Baker and is signed, “Walter E. Disney.” The museum quality piece of Walt Disney history represents one of the only known artifacts from this important period in Walt’s life and is estimated at $50,000-$75,000.

Without question one of rarest and most historically important Disney artifacts to ever to reach the auction block, Walt Disney’s Personal WWI Scrapbook with pre-Mickey Mouse rodent drawings features some of the earliest known artwork by Walt Disney, created in his downtime during the Great War. Inspired by “trench rats” that plagued the battlefront, Walt made rodents the subject of his artistic endeavors for the first time, ten years before he would change the world with the creation of Mickey Mouse. This scrapbook, titled “A Scrapbook Made for our Soldiers and Sailors,” was used by Walt in an attempt to process the war through art, and includes 13 hand-drawn characters on 5 pages. The illustrations are an incredible look into the young mind of Walt Disney and include political and societal commentary on issues relating to war and mental health. Many of the drawings are signed “Disney” and dated 1918. The significance of this scrapbook in Walt Disney history cannot be overstated, as it represents one of the earliest examples of Walt’s creative genius as an illustrator and storyteller. The estimate is $75,000-$100,000.

Enter the 1920s, when Walt moved back to Kansas City and took a job before moving to Hollywood in 1925 with his brother Roy. It was during this period that the Disney Brothers Studio was born, as well as the “Alice’s Wonderland” and “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” shorts. In 1928, on the verge of insolvency, Walt created the phenomenon now known worldwide as “Mickey Mouse,” whose fame began with “Steamboat Willie,” the first post-produced sound cartoon. As the 1920s ended, The Walt Disney Studio began to expand its character universe, transforming the world of animation and making entertainment history. Rare artifacts from this period in Walt Disney history will be offered for the first time at auction. This is an exceptional and unprecedented opportunity to own rare, museum-quality items such as Wood Sections of Walt Disney’s Garage Animation Studio in Los Angeles (c.1923) (Estimate: $2,000-$4,000); an incredibly rare Original Production Background from “The Haunted House,” a 1929 Mickey Mouse short (Estimate: $9,000-$12,000); and an Original “Plane Crazy” Production Drawing (c. 1928) of Mickey and Minnie in the first Mickey Mouse cartoon (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).




By 1930, Mickey Mouse was a global hit. The affordable entertainment produced by Walt Disney served as an escape for a nation that needed respite from tough times. Throughout this era, Walt was quick to embrace new technologies in the motion picture industry and signed an exclusive deal with Technicolor. He produced his first full-color film, “Flowers and Trees,” which earned Walt an Oscar for Best Short Subject. Among the many highlights of the auction included from this period is an extremely rare letter sent by Walt Disney to his cousin Lena in 1931. The 1931 Walt Disney Signed Letter on Walt Disney Studio Stationery was written at an incredibly significant point in Walt’s life. In the letter, Walt reminisces about his childhood, and offers more current updates about the studio and his desire for children (Estimate: $8,000-$10,000). Also highlighted is Ken Anderson’s Early Walt Disney Studios Drawing Board (c. 1934) which is an early portable studio art board (Estimate: $4,000-$6000); a rare 1932 Mickey Mouse Club Fez and Vest (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500); The Tortoise and the Hare Good Housekeeping Painting (Disney, 1934) that promoted the Walt Disney Silly Symphony cartoon series (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000); an extremely rare papier-mâché and wood Mickey Mouse Old King Cole animated window display (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000); a Snow White Panoramic Cel on Production Background (Disney, 1937) depicting all Seven Dwarfs (Estimate: $25,000-$30,000); an early 1937 Mickey Mouse Ingersoll Wrist Watch and Box (Estimate: $300-$500); and many more items that chronicle a time period when Walt and Roy worked with visionary merchandising executive Herman “Kay” Kamen on Disney licensing and merchandising.

In come the 1940s! This era brought great change to Walt Disney Productions. Faced with a downturn as the war in Europe closed major markets to Disney films, the company was forced to give its first public stock offering and make employee salary cuts. The animators also called a strike in 1941. However, during this time, Disney produced several popular films, including “Dumbo,” “Bambi,” and “The Three Caballaros,” as well as the studio’s first live-action film, “Song of the South.” In 1949, Disney moved to Holmby Hills where he fostered his life-long love of trains with the creation of his very own backyard railroad. Auction highlights from this era include a Walt Disney Hand-Drawn Mickey Mouse Sketch and Signature (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000); an original Pinocchio Production Cel and Background (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000); 1941 Walt Disney Studios Animators Strike Archive (Estimate: $1,000-$2,000); a Walt Disney signed 1941 Original Dumbo Production Cel (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000); an Original Prototype World War II Finfella WASP Patch (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a Donald Duck Choo Choo Pull Toy and Original Artwork (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a 1946 Original Peter and the Wolf Sound Effects Score & Narration (Estimate: $1,500-$2,000); a Song of the South Premiere Theatre Program (Estimate: $200-$400); and much more.

The 1950s brought Walt Disney some of his greatest triumphs at the studio. Cinderella was his biggest box office hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was also during this ambitious era that Disneyland opened in 1955 and changed the course of the studio forever. Additionally, Walt Disney’s live-action television shows, including Davy Crockett and The Mickey Mouse Club, established the studio as a major force in the industry. Highlights of this exciting era include an Original Donald Duck Painting from Disneyland TV Show (Estimate: $2,000-$4,000); a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 6-Sheet (Estimate: $2,000-$4,000); a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Final Shooting Script (Estimate: $1,000-$2,000); an Eyvind Earle Lady and The Tramp Concept Painting (Estimate: $10,000-$12,000); several 1950s Original Disney Wind-Up Toys (Estimate: Various $100-$300); a Walt Disney Signed Bank Check to Sister Ruth (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a Walt Disney Signed Guest Book (1957) with Disneyland address (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); and many other items including artwork, posters, toys, autographs, and more.

Every era of Walt Disney history is its own phenomenon, shaping our culture and creating memories for families everywhere. From Mickey Mouse to Lady and the Tramp, and from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to a theme park boasting happiness from every corner, the artifacts from the life and work of Walt Disney reflected in this monumental auction are incomparable to any other. It’s a “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” opportunity for collectors and fans sure to make history on December 5th, 2020.

“This auction chronicles every aspect of Walt Disney’s life, from his earliest years to the modern reality of multiple resorts worldwide inspired by his dream of Disneyland. In celebration of Walt’s birthday we are offering over 865 remarkable items, as there is no better tribute to such a legendary individual than to put together a vast collection like this that tells his story, celebrates his life, and inspires others to dream. We are honored and very excited to see the reactions of fans around the world as they join in the fun of bidding online, on-site, or by the phone. Walt Disney: The Man, The Studio and The Parks is going to set some historical marks throughout the day.” – Mike Van Eaton, Co-Owner, Van Eaton Galleries

Other unique and astounding highlights in the vast array of items include a Wonderful World of Disney Color Advertising Banner (Estimate: $700-$900); a very rare and special “It’s A Grandson” Walt Disney Custom Cigar in Case (Estimate: $7,000-$9,000); a 1964 Mary Poppins One Sheet Poster (Estimate: $200-$400); an Original “Chim Chim Cher-ee” Musical Arrangement from 1964 (Estimate: $1,000-$2,000); a Walt Disney Hand-Written U.S. Navy Project Rejection (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); an Original Tron Storyboard Panel (Estimate: $600-$800); A Disney Channel Satellite Mickey Mouse Prop (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a Set of Nightmare Before Christmas Scene Prints (Estimate: $700-$900); a WDCC Jack Skellington Reindeer Figure (Estimate: $1,000-$2,000); a Techno-Gear Buzz Lightyear Prototype Figure (Estimate: $700-$900); a Collection of (5) “Planes” Animator Maquettes (Estimate: $2,000-$4,000); a Goofy on Pommel Horse Bronze Sculpture Prototype (Estimate: $1,000-$2,000); an extremely rare hand-numbered Ward Kimball Grizzly Flats Railroad Ticket (Estimate: $300-$500); a Walt Disney Personally Built Lilly Belle Train Stove from the 1950s (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad Plot Plan and Track Layout with photographs (Estimate: $15,000-$20,000); Walt Disney’s Lilly Belle Locomotive Design Artwork (Estimate: $20,000-$25,000) and a Walt Disney’s Carolwood Pacific Railroad (Disney 1949-1953) Track Section (Estimate: $15,000-$17,000); and many other items proving Walt’s love of railroads and his beloved theme park.

“Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America, with hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” – Walt Disney

Amazing theme park highlights which celebrate Walt’s legacy of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, as well as the other Disney parks, include an Original “Mickey Mouse Park” Disneyland Design (Estimate: $20,000-$25,000); a 1959 Walt Disney Signed Letter Regarding Disneyland Attractions (Estimate: $8,000-$10,000); a 45 Year Service Award Walt & Mickey Bronze Sculpture (Estimate: $1,000-$2,000); a White Disneyland Opening Day 1955 Press Preview Ticket (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a 1957 Walt Disney Signed Complimentary Disneyland Passport (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); a 1955 Your Trip to Disneyland on Records Mattel Musical Map (Estimate: $300-$500); 1955 Original Railroad Chimney Box Designs (Estimate: $6,000-$8,000); a Dumbo the Hub Bronze Statue (Estimate: $5,000-$10,000); a Golden Horseshoe Review Attraction Poster (Estimate: $2,000-$4,000); a Splash Mountain Attraction Vehicle Concept Model (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); an Original “Drink Me” Alice in Wonderland Painting (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000); Roy E. Disney’s Club 33 Family Membership Cards (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000); an Early Club 33 Cast Member Jacket (Estimate: $500-$700); an Original Haunted Mansion Attraction Poster (Estimate: $7,000-$9,000); Haunted Mansion Female and Male Cast Member Costumes (Estimates for each is $800-$1,200); an extremely rare 1955 Complete Mickey Mouse Club Circus Admission Ticket (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Devil Prop (Estimate: $6,000-$8,000); Captain EO Supreme Leader Makeup Test Head (Estimate: $2,000-$5,000); a Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Ride Vehicle Model (Estimate: $3,000-$5,000); Carousel of Progress Kitchen Table and Chairs (Estimate: $10,000-$20,000); Excursion Steamer Mickey Flag (Estimate: $700-$900); Pair of Western River Expedition Showgirls Models (Estimate: $5,000-$7,000); a Walt Disney World Master Plan and Aerial (Estimate: $1,000-$1,500); and too many more to list. A complete catalog can be viewed at www.vegalleries.com/waltdisney










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