Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hip Hip Pooh-ray

A number of Pooh cels were sold on ebay this week. Here are some of the best.
Christopher Robin
Sold on ebay: $360.00
Great Christopher Robin cel. While Christopher Robin is often the smartest character in the series (not counting Owl who, let's be honest, is really just fatuous). Yet here, we see Christopher is still just a child.

Kanga and Roo

Sold on ebay: $561.00

As a cousin of mine used to say, this cel is "such a dorable." The set-up is so comforting you feel like hopping right into Kanga's pouch. And considering its ebay, and considering its not main characters, the price is pretty good.
Pooh and Christopher Robin

Sold on ebay: $842.00
One of the most charming Pooh cels I've ever seen. The scene depicts Pooh as a "little black rain cloud" and Christopher Robin helping him. Not only is this a great Pooh pose, but also great effects.

Little story behind this collection: "Being sold on behalf of the person who purchased them originally in the 60's & 70's. Unfortunately, due to upcoming bills, he is forced to let some of his collection go." Apparently, the person is sick and needs money to help with the bills. Whoever this person is, I wish him a speedy recovery. It's a shame he had to part with these great cels for that reason.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It's a Jungle Out There

There have been a number of Jungle Book cels on the market in the past week. Between ebay auctions and gallery listings, I figured it was as good a time as any to look at the market for art from this film.

Let's start off with Mowgli. These following three images all sold on ebay this week. The first one sold for $273.68 The close-up went for $374.00. And the damaged cel where Mowgli is try to balance the water jug on his head went for $383.89. Now those seem a little undervalued to me. However, as opposed to some other films, even though Mowgli is not the main character, he is not necessarily the most popular one from this beloved movie.

Instead, two of the most popular characters for collectors are Shere Khan and King Louie. Due to their limited screen time (King Louie only has one scene and Shere Khan only appears in the final third of the film). Both of these characters infuse a new jolt of life into the story when they appear, which is what makes them so popular. That, and in Khan's case, he was animated by the master himself, Milt Kahl.
Take a look at this Shere Khan cel which just sold on ebay for $532. (You'll notice it is also undervalued, but that has as much to do with the item listing as anything else. A photo was not included on the external post).

Here, Khan is at his most animalistic: lurking, menacing, coiled and ready to pounce. Look at the muscular form, accentuated by the tiger stripes. It's perhaps the most realistic animal depiction since Bambi and perhaps even outshines the great work done in the opening of the Lion King. If this cel lacks anything, its the acerbic wit provided by George Sander's marvelous vocal work on the film. This is not the sophisticated Khan we are about to meet. This is the dangerous Khan we've been warned about from the opening of the film. This cel is a real masterpiece.

Now, onto the other character highly desired by collectors: King Louie. Again, he only appears in one scene. But that scene is not only a highlight of the film, its a showstopper. The film threatens to come to a screeching halt once Louie leaves the film. And its the crazy energy (and equally crazy animation) which is what we love.

Louie cels don't come up on ebay that often. When they do, they often fetch gallery style prices. But that doesn't mean you can't find a great King Louie cel out there. This following one at Van Eaton Galleries sells for $1300.

Again, look at Louie. Notice the wild look on his face as he gets into the music. This is a great pose. It's also nicely set against a reproduction of one of the backgrounds in the actual film. More on that in a moment...

But now, lets talk about the one favorite character I haven't discussed yet. Papa Bear himself, Baloo. Generally speaking, Baloo cels are more common. He appears in a good chunk of the film. On ebay, the Baloo image below grabbed $417.50.

Baloo also represents the crazy, jazzy elements of The Jungle Book. But thanks to his relationship with Mowgli, he also grows up over the course of the movie. This cel helps capture that inner turmoil as his character realizes he needs to grow up.
Like Mowgli, a solo Baloo is only so attractive to collectors. However, once you pair them up, you have a solid item, and perhaps the most desired of any Jungle Book fan: a Mowgli and Baloo combo.

The image here is available at Animation Sensations for $1900. Again, its the serious Baloo, telling Mowgli he can't stay in the Jungle. Again, its set against a nice reproduction background similar to what is in the movie.

This last item is remarkable cheaper and available at Wonderful World of Animation for $1225. Here you have the more carefree Baloo tell Mowgli to get up, after he's been knocked down. The cel has some slight damage as listed on the site. But what is interesting to note is the background, which is a desert setting. Sold at the Disneyland Art Corner, the cel and the background don't really go together. Perhaps against a more tropical lush landscape, the cel would get its proper value.

Now, the one thing I haven't discussed yet are the factors driving the Jungle Book market. As we all probably know, it's the last to have Walt's seal of approval. And it's seen as the last true Walt Disney classic. In fact, Sword in the Stone is more akin to the post-Walt era even though it came out four years earlier. Walt wasn't as involved in the making of that 1963 film and it shows. But with Jungle Book, he saw to it that the film would have heart and engage audiences. In fact the Jungle Book is often the dividing line of Disney animated films. All films before that are considered "Vintage" or "Classic" while the ones which followed are often classified as "Contemporary."

However, because Disney had already entered the art market with its Disneyland shop when Jungle Book was released, it is not hard to find cels from the film. They pop up fairly regularly. Due to the healthy number of cels available, demand isn't as high and so neither are prices.

Still, many collectors value the items they own from the Jungle Book as much as from any other film they own. Don't believe me? Check out Disney Animator Andreas Deja and his collection on the recent 40th anniversary release DVD.

Friday, May 30, 2008

SR Labs Update

Seems having an auction on Memorial Day is a bad idea. Perhaps that explains some the number of unsold and lower-priced lots in the SR Labs Spring Auction.

This is an email from 'S/R Laboratories, Inc.'


Hi, Everyone.

Seems like more of you were traveling during the Memorial Day holiday than expected. And many of you have emailed me asking for the link to the catalog because you were out of town during the auction.

Well, we won't have an auction over a holiday again...that's for sure. And we don't want you to be disappointed either.So, If you check back tomorrow there will be a link for you to access the Spirng 2008 Lab Listings© catalog for a little while longer.And, we are, of course, beginning to accept consignments for our October, 2008 sale. Please email us to let us know what you'd like to offer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

SR Labs Top Sellers

Sold = 5800
Sold = 5800

Lot #057 ARABIAN FISH from FANTASIA $2400-$3200

Sold = 4910

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wednesday Night Roundup

From ebay
Baloo from The Jungle Book
Sold: $662

Nice image of Baloo with a really interesting inclusion of the leaves. Some cracking apparently but still a really nice shot of this beloved character. It was picked up by a gallery, so don't be surprised if this one is back on the market in the not too distant future.

From ebay

Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty

Sold: $510.00

Small image but a really nice set up. As highlighted in previous posts, Sleeping Beauty is highly desired by collectors. Cel is in decent condition, though in this case, size matters. A larger image of Briar Rose may have fetched more on ebay.

Monday, May 26, 2008

SR Lab Best Buys

Be sure to get your bids in for SR Labs Spring Auction.

Going over the catalogs, here were the ones I thought were the best buys. My reasons for picking these items vary greatly. Some are rare, classic characters. Some are reasonably priced master setups. Others are just good values.

Lot #151 CRUELLA DE VIL from 101 DALMATIANS $1600-$2400
Lot # 130 URSULA from LITTLE MERMAID $700-$1000
Lot #113 JAQ from CINDERELLA $600-$900
Lot #117 MICHAEL AND BEAR from PETER PAN $300-$600
Lot #250 OLIVER AND DODGER from OLIVER & COMPANY $300-$600

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons

From ebay
Prince John from Robin Hood
Sold: $255.73
One of Disney's most underrated villains, Prince John is perhaps the most entertaining characters from Robin Hood. This image appears to be wavy, which is unfortunately not uncommon for cels. The pose is slightly awkward, because in the film, he's sitting in a throne. Still, notice all the rich colors in this image - from the rings to the inside of his robe. A solid buy! Frame included, which raises a question: When you buy, do you prefer it framed or not? Let me know!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What We're Watching

Full wrap up of the SR Labs Auction next week. In the meantime, its been slim pickings on ebay this past week. However, this gem popped up at Wonderful World of AnimationFrom WWA gallery
Dopey and chipmunk from Snow White
Price: $3,400

Smaller image of Dopey, as the site says the piece is 3.25" h x 2.25" w. But what a cute expression of Dopey. Look at his eyes and how they are slightly off-center from his nose. And the chipmunk here is extremely cute.

A Cel-er's market?

So all the talk in the news is of an economic slowdown. The market for cels already seems to have taken a dive from its heydays in the late 80s and early 90s. But what do you think?
Is it a buyers' or sellers' market? Will it be harder to sell pieces in the next few months? Will there be better deals for buyers? Or is the market pretty fixed at this point?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Roundup

From ebay
Dumbo from Dumbo
Sold: $2501
Adorable action shot of Dumbo, in amazing condition. The owner says it was purchased a few years ago for double the price.

From Philip Weiss Auctions
Donald and nephews from The Hockey Champ
Sold: $2,300
Great poses of Donald and his nephews from this classic film. I understand the high price due to the Vintage nature of the item and yet considering the selling price of another Donald piece at the same auction (see below) and the waviness of this cel, I am a little surprised.
From Philip Weiss Auctions
Pegasus family from Fantasia
Sold: $4,500
Amazing cel. Its rare to see a cel with multiple members of the Pegasus family. Also, notice the stunning reflection cel being sold with this. The highest selling Disney cel from this auction.

From Philip Weiss Auction

Captain Hook from Peter Pan

Sold: $1,350

One of everyone's favorite Disney villains being caught by surprise. The exaggerated pose is classic. Like a lot of classic villains, Hook cels typically go for as much as, if not more than, the main hero.

From Philip Weiss Auctions

Ostriches from Fantasia

Sold: $2,300

Another amazing cel from Fantasia. The item says it's on a "studio background." Great condition. Really a fantastic buy.

From Philip Weiss Auctions

Donald and Daisy from Don Donald

Sold: $1,300

Donald and Daisy from this classic cartoon. Daisy, one of the angriest Disney characters, is off in a huff as Donald - at his most charming - chases after her. Again, considering how much the cel of Donald and his nephews sold for, this seems almost like a bargain. Any thoughts on the thousand dollar difference between these items?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Why Should I Worry" about Oliver

I would like to thank one of my readers for this topic idea...
Why are Oliver and Company cels so cheap/affordable?

The Disney company has dismissed Oliver and Company as a "training" film for the generation of animators who would go on to revive the Disney brand. In short, the film has been sidelined by Disney and hence collectors.

If you had to describe Oliver in one word, it would be "scruffy." From the storytelling to the art itself (by all accounts, it was a stylistic decision), the film feels as unpolished as any cartoon the studio ever released.

But Oliver and Company marks some key transitions in Disney animation, as captured in the cel below. (Currently for sale at Wonderful World of Animation for $395.

First, it advanced the use of computer animation. Take the stairs here: designed in a computer but painted by hand. Of course, at the time, the studio swore computers would never replace humans. And while 2D is coming back, hand-painted production cels are not. Oliver and Company is the second to last full-length Disney feature to release cels.

Second, Oliver and Company aggressively promoted the use of celebrity voices in animation. One of the key selling points of the film was that Billy Joel and Bette Midler (along with Cheech Marin, Joey Lawrence, Richard Mulligan, etc) were starring in it. Disney executives - hungry for a hit - wanted to make a movie which would appeal to as many people as possible and decided stars would be one way to do that. Sure, there are celebrity voices in previous Disney cartoons (especially in the 1970's) but Oliver went for "cool" stars. Billy Joel and Better Midler were riding a second wave of popularity at the time and their participation gave the film the street cred it needed.

Third, it was a hit, albeit a modest hit. While it was not as successful as Roger Rabbit, it gave Disney animation some much needed momentum. When promoting Rescuers Down Under and Beauty and the Beast, Disney used the success of Oliver and Company to show The Little Mermaid was not an anomaly but part of a trend.

So, why can you pick up the following cel (great image of Jenny and Oliver with cool effects) for $250 at Van Eaton Galleries? Sure, age is a factor, but Little Mermaid cels can fetch as much as any Disney film from the 1950s.

Well, Oliver and Company is not a perfect film. Despite its attempts to be cool, the storytelling makes it hard for anyone over the age of 12 to fall in love with it. And really, the best Disney films (the one whose cels still command top dollar) appeal to people of all ages.

However, it's also worth noting that after the success of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast (and the failure of the exciting Rescuers Down Under), Disney decided to focus on creating "timeless" classics. It no longer made sense to promote Oliver and Company since it takes place not in a fantasy world, but in our own time.

So, where does this leave the collector? It's a buyer's market. If you love Oliver and Company, as many people who grew up in the '80s do, go ahead and buy a great cel. Cel collecting should be about love (and, if you so choose, money).

So why not go for one of these great cels also from Van Eaton Galleries:

Oliver and the gang for $400.
Tito, at his most appealing, for $125.
And my personal favorite: Jenny, Winston and Oliver waving goodbye for $200! (Much better than the $200 spent on a Roscoe and Desoto cel highlighted in a previous cel).

So, do you collect Oliver cels? Or do you avoid them? Is my analysis fair or way off? Please chime in!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

SR Lab Preview

The website for SR Lab's spring auction will be up and running next week. In the meantime, Scoop has a preview of some of the beautiful pieces which are up for auction. Take a look at the stunner from Fantasia's Nutcracker sequence. These fish with translucent tails - in a formation akin to Busby Berkeley - are absolutely gorgeous. Also, note the effects included in this set-up.

And then there's this cel of Cruella. Look at the devilish look on her face as she laughs to herself over her diabolical plan. While she's not wearing her classic coat and her eyes are closed, this is sure to be a hugely popular item.
One more interesting note about the cel on the cover of the article. It's currently for sale on We know from their website that this setup includes a production background.

Speaking of Animation Celection, their website is one of the most disappointing online galleries. First of all, as a collector, I hate websites which don't tell you their prices. What are they hiding? A gallery as well known as Celection should really have its act together. They rarely update their website. Hence, an item like this one is being sold in a couple weeks at a different auction but they still have it listed on their own website. I don't say this to bash Animation Celection. They have one of the best collections online. But they really need to care more about their own website.

So, are you excited for this spring's SR Lab auction? What kind of cels are you hoping to see there?

Also, how do you feel about Animation Celection and other galleries which don't share their prices until you contact them? Am I being too harsh?

Tuesday Night Roundup

From ebay:
Roscoe and Desoto from Oliver and Company
Sold: $200

Really?? Sure a framed Disney production cel is worth something. But I'd be hard-pressed to think of two characters less desirable from any Disney film than Roscoe and Desoto. Is that harsh? Considering you can pick up a cel of Oliver and the entire gang for $200 on ebay, it seems odd to me that this cel would have been snatched up. Am I wrong? (Not rhetorical, tell me if I'm wrong).

From ebay
Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore
Sold: $15.50

A cel of Winnie the Pooh from the last featurette (though made with the new generation of Disney animators). A steal for the price. The really cool thing about this item is not that it was being sold with a drawing of Pooh, but that it includes a rare production overlay of the pages in which Pooh and his world exist. The "book" is what helps give the original Pooh series its magical feel.

From ebay:

Peanuts gang from A Charlie Brown Christmas

Sold: $1,534.00

While Disney cels are the main focus of this blog, a treasure like this cel cannot be ignored. Recently sold on ebay, this is a great cel from this holiday classic. Similar cels without Snoopy and Linus have sold for between $1400 and $1900.

From ebay

Two cels from Small One

Sold: $324.89

Interesting pairing from Disney's attempt at a holiday classic. Small One has its fans but the short has been all but forgotten when Disney animation is discussed. Still, a great cel of the two main characters with another cel thrown in for the deal.

From ebay

Mickey in Brave Little Tailor

Sold: $2,800

An amazing cel of classic Mickey in one of his last appearances before his Fantasia makeover. Great Courvoisier set-up. I'm sure a gallery would charge more than this price for the cel, especially because it appears to be in good shape and Mickey has a cute pose.

From ebay

Jiminy Crickey in Pinocchio

Sold: $999.00

Jiminy gets ready to knock some sense into the boys in Pleasure Island. A great scene from this animated masterpiece. There is some paint missing from Jiminy's foot. Interestingly, once the reserve was met, the bidding stopped.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Get ready for one of the most exciting animation auctions of the year! S/R Labs hosts a Spring and Fall auction every year. You can buy a catalog or wait til May 19th when the auction goes online. Always has a few great surprises and lots of rare pieces.
From ebay
Donald Duck and Jose Carioca from Saludos Amigos
Sold: $975.55
Great pose by Donald (is there a more classic Donald pose?) and interesting cel of Jose. Clearly this set-up has seen better days. The waviness is customary for a cel this old. However, with great character poses and renewed interest in Saludos Amigos (a new DVD and the film festival premiere of WALT AND EL GRUPO), its easy to see why this vintage cel was bought up for this price.

These two classic cels were taken off of ebay late last week. It will be interesting to see if they pop up elsewhere. Two great pieces. Hopefully, we'll see them real soon.


Sold on ebay for $2,729.99. As stated earlier on this blog, this is a great cel from one of the most cherished moments in Disney animation history. Briar Rose dancing with the "Owl Prince" is highly sought after. I admit I was slightly surprised the cel went quite as high as it did though. I guess I learned there are some hungry ebayers out there after all. They are willing to pay for the right piece.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesday Night Roundup

From Wonderful World of Animation Art
Mickey from Mickey's Kangaroo Master Set-Up
Sold: $19,500

From the last black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon. As mentioned with the Santa's Workshop cel below, it is rare to see something this old in such great condition. Add in the original background and the Walt Disney signature and it's easy to see why it was snapped up so fast.

Figaro from Pinocchio
Sale price: $2,400

Sure, Figaro's eyes are closed - he's sleeping. But this is a really adorable cel. Figaro is one of my favorite characters and Pinocchio is one of the very finest Disney films. The price seems pretty standard for a gallery.

From ebay:
Owl from Bambi
Sold: $738.00

Interesting cel from one of Disney's golden era films. Perhaps a little below market price but pretty close.

Today's spotlight

From ebay:
Sleeping Beauty Production Cel
Current bid: $1,300
End Date: May 5

A great cel from one of the most sought after scenes in SLEEPING BEAUTY. Slightly odd pose of the animals and everyone's eyes are closed but still a magical image.

From ebay:
Marie from the Aristocats
Sold: $229.29

Not perfect condition but just about the ideal pose for this character. Marie is quickly becoming a cult Disney favorite thanks to some sly marketing from the company. Pretty good buy.

From Wonderful World Art Gallery

Selling price: $3,500
Tramp, Scamp and Lady

Interesting set-up of three popular characters. Asking price seems a little high and the cels appear in different scenes in the film. Still, great to see some nice poses from this film (though Tramp oddly evil).