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Disney Animation Art

The Walt Disney Company revolutionized the world of animation in the 20th century, not only producing cherished animated films but also pioneering the preservation, archival, and reproduction of its company’s works.

In 1923, animator Walt Disney and his businessman brother Roy Disney founded the Walt Disney Company, originally called the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio. After creating a number of successful Mickey Mouse short films, the company produced the world’s first fully animated feature film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” followed by nearly 30 more using traditional animation techniques. After 1989, studio crews adopted computer animation almost exclusively, and the last film Disney produced using hand-inked and hand-painted production celluloid (cels) was “The Little Mermaid.”

For vintage Disney art collectors, original production cels are becoming rare and highly collectible, particularly anything produced from the 1920s through the 1950s. Also revered are original backgrounds, drawings, concept sketches, and storyboards. Any pieces signed by a Disney artist or Walt Disney himself will hold high values.

Aside from original production art, Disney has produced and marketed a variety of limited-edition prints, including hand-painted cels, lithographs, and sericels. Although these pieces are not considered vintage, some have recorded high earnings in the art marketplace.


Quick Facts

  • Disney’s Animation Research Library (ARL) holds 65 million pieces of animation artwork; over 200,000 of these are original production cels. The library is open to employees and designated members of the press, and its exact location is not publicly disclosed
  • Walt Disney jokingly called his group of supervisory animators the “Nine Old Men.” These individuals assisted Disney in creating and producing films from the 1960s through the 1970s
  • Heritage Auctions held a record-breaking animation art auction in April 2015. Several top-sellers included production cels from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” ($47,800), “Pinocchio” ($23,900) and “The Little Mermaid” ($15,535)

Recommended Items at Auction

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Disney Limited Edition Fond Memories of Mickey and Friends Sericel
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
Disney Limited Edition Fond Memories of Mickey and Friends Sericel
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$503 Bids
Sleeping Beauty, 1959
Dec 03, 12:00 PM EST
Sleeping Beauty, 1959
by South Bay Auctions Inc
Est: $400- $600
$2252 Bids
Robin Hood, Disney Animation Cell
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CST
Robin Hood, Disney Animation Cell
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $300
$2252 Bids
Walt Disney, Goofy
Dec 11, 10:15 PM CET
Walt Disney, Goofy
by Novartia
Est: €700- €800
€901 Bid
Donald Duck production cel
Dec 03, 12:00 PM EST
Donald Duck production cel
by South Bay Auctions Inc
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Thomas Kinkade Studio Proof #9/40 Snow White
Dec 01, 9:00 AM PST
Thomas Kinkade Studio Proof #9/40 Snow White
by Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0001 Bid
Disney Limited Edition Moving Day Goofy Delivery Sericel Cel
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
Disney Limited Edition Moving Day Goofy Delivery Sericel Cel
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$501 Bid
Disney Limited Edition Around the World with the Fabulous Five Sericel Cel
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
Disney Limited Edition Around the World with the Fabulous Five Sericel Cel
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$501 Bid
Walt Disney Animation Cel of Sleepy
Dec 09, 10:00 AM EST
Walt Disney Animation Cel of Sleepy
by Alex Cooper
Est: $600- $800
$3001 Bid
(WALT DISNEY STUDIOS / ANIMATION) Lady and the Tramp Animation Production Cel.
Dec 15, 12:00 PM EST
(WALT DISNEY STUDIOS / ANIMATION) Lady and the Tramp Animation Production Cel.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $700- $1,000
$5001 Bid
Walt Disney, Mickey
Dec 11, 10:15 PM CET
Walt Disney, Mickey
by Novartia
Est: €700- €800
€900 Bids
Disney Sericel, Winne the Pooh, 1982
Dec 09, 10:00 AM EST
Disney Sericel, Winne the Pooh, 1982
by Alex Cooper
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
2001 Disney's Lion King by Timothy Adebule AKA Bushman #1
Dec 07, 5:00 PM EST
2001 Disney's Lion King by Timothy Adebule AKA Bushman #1
by Absolute Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $300
$200 Bids
Disney Limited Edition Donald Ducks 50th Birthday Signed Cel
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
Disney Limited Edition Donald Ducks 50th Birthday Signed Cel
by Matthew Bullock Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$500 Bids
Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse
Dec 11, 10:15 PM CET
Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse
by Novartia
Est: €700- €800
€2500 Bids
Thomas Kinkade I/S/P #1/40 Canvas Print
Dec 01, 9:00 AM PST
Thomas Kinkade I/S/P #1/40 Canvas Print
by Grant Zahajko Auctions, LLC
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$5000 Bids
Valter Morais Acylic on Canvas
Dec 01, 10:00 AM PST
Valter Morais Acylic on Canvas
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $2,000- $2,500
$6000 Bids
E.M. Zax Original painting on canvas "Mickey"
Dec 01, 10:00 AM PST
E.M. Zax Original painting on canvas "Mickey"
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $1,200- $1,500
$4250 Bids
Sowa & Reiser Hand colored etching  on paper
Dec 01, 10:00 AM PST
Sowa & Reiser Hand colored etching  on paper
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $450- $937
$4000 Bids
Nastya Rovenskaya- Mixed Media "Painting The Truth"
Dec 04, 10:00 AM PST
Nastya Rovenskaya- Mixed Media "Painting The Truth"
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $2,040- $2,550
$2750 Bids
Jozza, "Big Hug" Unique Mixed Media on Canvas, Hand Signed with Letter of Authenticity.
Dec 04, 10:00 AM PST
Jozza, "Big Hug" Unique Mixed Media on Canvas, Hand Signed with Letter of Authenticity.
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $7,200- $9,000
$2,2500 Bids
Nastya Rovenskaya- Mixed Media "Mickey & Minnie"
Dec 04, 10:00 AM PST
Nastya Rovenskaya- Mixed Media "Mickey & Minnie"
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $1,360- $1,700
$1700 Bids
Nastya Rovenskaya- Original Mixed Media on Paper "Mickey & Minnie"
Dec 04, 10:00 AM PST
Nastya Rovenskaya- Original Mixed Media on Paper "Mickey & Minnie"
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $6,120- $7,650
$8000 Bids
Nastya Rovenskaya- Mixed Media "Mr. Dollar Bill"
Dec 04, 10:00 AM PST
Nastya Rovenskaya- Mixed Media "Mr. Dollar Bill"
by Robinhood Auctions
Est: $1,360- $1,700
$1700 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Disney Animation Art


Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Matthew Bullock Auctioneers

Robinhood Auctions

Robinhood Auctions

Bonhams

Bonhams

Swann Auction Galleries

Swann Auction Galleries