The Animated, Intoxicating World of Auctions

232-page auction booklet for Van Eaton Galleries

A is for Animation

In the world of collectibles, animation art is the thing. Owning an original piece of animation art by someone like Chuck Jones, is beyond some collector’s wildest dreams. Fortunately, many of the major animation studios will regularly release huge lots of collectible art for auction and this year is no different. The three big auction houses to watch are Heritage Auctions, Bonhams, and Van Eaton Galleries.

Animation art is one of the fastest growing categories of collectibles, and it’s no wonder considering how much of an influence cartoons have on us as kids. Who didn’t grow up watching Saturday morning cartoons? As the characters come to life on the screen, we’d follow along, imitating their funny voices, mimicking their facial expressions and gestures, laughing our heads off. Our favourites became part of our lives, as well as our dialogues, and it’s probably the same for your own kids today.

Cartoons create a magical world where we can escape for a while and enjoy the wacky, imaginations of these creative animators. It’s magical when you can recapture that experience again and again, by pressing the play button on your box set DVD collections! But actually owning a drawing from the greatest animator of all time, Chuck Jones is worth buying a ticket to Texas!

That’s where you’ll find Heritage Auctions, host to many animation art auctions. This year’s show features more than 850 different pieces from Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Tom & Jerry, The Grinch, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Peanuts, and many more. These pieces showcase some of the biggest names in 20th Century animation like, Chuck Jones, Elmer Plummer, Retta Scott, and Walt Peregoy.

Meanwhile, over in another part of town, Bonhams had their own animation art auction called, TCM presents...drawn to film. Featuring works from the Ted and Dawn Hopkins Collection, this collection features many famous sketches and paintings of your well-known cartoons. Famous characters and scenes from everybody’s favourites like Mickey Mouse, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester and Tweety, The Road Runner, Mickey Mouse and Pluto, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and many, many more.

If that’s not enough, take a look at the 232-page auction booklet for Van Eaton Galleries’ Collecting Disney auction. Lots of vintage Mickey Mouse collectibles here, and you can even purchase the catalogue itself. It’s that impressive!

The Collecting Disney auction doubles as an exhibition too, showcasing more than 700 rare items, some of which have never been seen before. The estate of Annette Funicello is one of the contributors and these items will be auctioned off for charity.

The Buzz on the Streets

According the buzz going around the auction houses, you need to be very aware of fakes and impostors. More and more fraudulent pieces are making their way to the auction block; so much so, everyone is looking at each other a little sideways. Some early animation sketches from animators like Mary Blair, Eyvind Earle, Ub Iwerks would be extremely easy to reproduce without raising suspicion. So make sure you check the provenance and then check it again to be sure!

"The spate of fakes is not my opinion alone — I’ve brought this issue up privately with esteemed historians and industry artists, and there is a unanimous consensus that there’s something fishy happening, and someone (or someones) is providing major auction houses with forgeries," Amid Amidi for Cartoon Brew

Sleeping Beauty

From fairytales to real-life princesses, this next auction features a beautiful teal, sequined cocktail gown belonging to the late Princess Diana. This is an iconic piece made by Catherine Walker that Princess Di enjoyed wearing on several special occasions. It is the one gown that is most recognizable because it was her favourite. She first sold it at auction in 2013 for $131,000 just a few months before she died. Its price tag this time is around $145,000 at Kerry Taylor Auctions – the place to follow if you love iconic, collectible fashion.

Untitled But Not Forgotten

Exciting news for Jean-Michel Basquiat fans, as plans get underway for a new private museum featuring the magnificent and influential works of this brilliant artist. The last piece to go up for auction – Untitled – sold for $57.2 million at Christie’s, almost $40 million more than the asking price. The lucky owner is Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, an avid art collector, who plans to put this piece in his new Basquiat museum.

A Reason to Celebrate

A rare and valuable collection of grand crus burgundy wines is one of the largest lots of its kind to come to auction. Only 200 bottles of the grand crus are made every year and there’s a waiting list of 100,000 for this year’s crop. The 1,407 bottles that came up for auction recently had been preserved for the past 15 years and proudly bear the label, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Baghera Wines auction house in Geneva sold this lot for over $40 million dollars.

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