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Animation Art Auctions

Is it me, or are animation art auctions becoming less and less frequent?

One thing is for sure, vintage production cels are getting scarcer and scarcer, and their values (in other words: prices) are getting higher and higher. I can’t afford to collect these pieces myself but I love getting the catalogs to see what still survives.

I sure hope some of the material (cels, backgrounds, pencil animation, model sheets, etc.) listed in the latest S/R Laboratories Auction catalog (Fall 2008) ends up in the right hands. Several jaw dropping items posted there include this original title card (above) from the black & white Silly Symphonies (left) and the main titles from the super-obscure 3-D Jamboree (which was publicly screened in 2006 at the 3-D Festival in Hollywood). For more information on this auction, to get a copy of their catalog, or to view it online, click here.

  • For entertainment, I like to watch those ‘Fine Art Auction’ cable channels, because occasionally they’ll throw in an animation collectible.
    When I say ‘collectible’, I mean ‘sericel made this year with no intrinsic historic value whatsoever’ and these people claim they’re worth thousands in galleries.

    No, an original Ollie Johnston animation drawing or an actual 50+ year old production cel, THAT’S worth thousands.
    The mass-production of animation ‘collectibles’ makes me ill.

  • Doug Drown

    I never knew Columbia Pictures ever had any role in distributing Disney cartoons. I had always thought that the original distributor was United Artists, followed by RKO. When did Disney work with Columbia?

  • Tom Minton

    Columbia was Disney’s shorts distributor prior to the UA deal, which Walt and Roy struck to get better terms. Frank Capra tells the story of screening Walt’s “Steamboat Willie” at Columbia in his autobiography “The Name Above the Title”, to great effect. Columbia pictures co-founder and studio head Harry Cohn was, according to Capra, the first of many people to underestimate Walt Disney.

  • Disney’s cartoons were distributed by Columbia from around 1929 until about mid 1932

  • Dr. Pepper

    I always wondered whether the art on the Great American Ink website was actually real or not…
    Though I have to say the fact that a Family Guy Pix-cell costs a quarter of a freakin’ snow white drawing amuses me.

  • Vixie

    I started collecting animation art back in 1988, but my budget prevented me from picking up much vintage art. I was fortunate enough to pick up a production cel of Miss Skunk from Bambi, as well a few models sheets of Flower.

    I used to be very active as far as tracking what was out there, and I knew several gallery owners. It is interesting to look back and trace the trends, when I started, nearly everything available was production artwork, then it started shifting more and more to limited editions and sericels as both the vintage art was all bought up, and studios switched from using cels to digital coloring. Today very few of the galleries are left, and I haven’t bought anything in years. Still, it was a fun time, and I learned a lot in my years as a collector.

  • Whatever about the genuine classic stuff, collectors and fans do get totally ripped off these days. I worked on a show that had licensed art sold from it in an animation art gallery. It was basically some of the images from the show badly vectorised or drawn over in illustrator with all of the colour and texture stripped out, then printed digitally and a hefty price tag attached.

    It actually made our art look far worse than it was and how they possibly justified the price tag was beyond me. I hope nobody actually paid money for it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Having missed the boat on the whole gallery deal, I tend to buy artwork off eBay whenever something catches my eye. I tend to get lucky a few times.

  • Nico

    I have a sericel called snowshoe bugs created by robert mckimson and signed by his borthers tom and charles. Any idea what it might be worth or where I can find out?

  • I never knew Columbia Pictures ever had any role in distributing Disney cartoons. I had always thought that the original distributor was United Artists, followed by RKO. When did Disney work with Columbia?

  • Scott Wells

    I have an original 1 of 1 Limited Edition Animation Cel. I’m looking to sell if anyone comes across an interested buyer. Left side is the original production pencil sketch / right side is image Bugs Bunny traced in ink to a sheet of clear acetate & hand painted on the reverse side. Comes with the Certificate of Authenticity, and is personally signed by Chuck Jones on the back. He also included the text “What’s Up Doc?” The image is Bugs Bunny eating a carrot and is from the cartoon Bugs Bunny’s Bustin Out All Over” from 1980.