What's It Worth? Rare Mickey Mouse Collectibles
A scientist friend once described to me an alleged quantum physics theory about why we at Hess Fine art can go years without seeing something cool, and then suddenly see several rare items of the exact same ilk within days of each other. His theory was that the atoms of something all wanted to get back together again. Uh-huh ...
Anyway, in the past few weeks, we have been inundated with Mickey Mouse stuff and decided to write a column about it. We have seen some great pieces over the years, and were honored to be chosen to sell one of the largest collections of Disney artists’ items and cartoon cels in the US on behalf of USF a few years back.
Usually such items dribble in one at a time. We will highlight a few that we have owned and a few that we wish we had owned today.
1. Only a small handful of the Mickey on a Scooter toys have shown up. Value, depending on condition, is huge. This item was likely the best example known of it since it was mint and had the original box. (See past stories about the importance of the original box or papers with collectibles.) Marked “Copyright Walt E. Disney” and “Another ‘Nifty’ Toy. Geo. Borgefeldt & Co.,” a poor-condition one with no box would garner $2,000 to $3,000. Retail for one in mint condition with original box would be $35,000 to $50,000!
2. Walt Disney allowed his intellectual property to be used for the war effort, and thousands of patches for military use with Disney characters in them are in existence. The rarest pictured here is a UK-made WWII US 349th Bomb Squadron, 100th Bomb Group, 8th AF leather patch showing Mickey Mouse riding in an airplane (Pluto) dropping bombs on the enemy. This patch, depending on condition, will fetch $2,000 to $10,000 (more if on the original jacket and in mint condition).
3. Disney autographs. While a simple, crude cut-out autograph may only bring a few hundred dollars, Disney playfully signed a few things with his name and a quick sketch of Mickey. These “autographs with drawing” can bring retail $5,000 to $10,000. A few years back, we guided a relative of Webb’s City who had a treasure trove of autographs to St. Pete’s Museum of Natural History, due to the Disney autographs she had.
4. Ever the prankster, Disney decided that unsung heroes of the company needed an award too, not just the big stars. So he created the “Duckster Award,” and these little treasures bring $1,000 to $10,000 depending on their condition and to whom they were awarded. Are they crummy little tinny things? Yes! But they were often given to the unheralded folks behind the scenes. One was famously given to Hayley Mills’s understudy and double, and it read “Best Unseen Performance by an Actress.”
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