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Hanna-Barbera Animation Art

For generations of cartoon-watchers, Hanna-Barbera is almost a household name, known for its popular television cartoons across the second half of the 20th century. Its characters have appeared in books, films, and merchandising ever since, and subsequently, the demand for Hanna-Barbera art continues to grow.

Founded in 1957 after MGM shut down its animation studio, Hanna-Barbera worked first under the name H-B Enterprises. Its two creators, William Hanna and Joe Barbera, had collaborated at MGM since 1939, creating the highly successful Tom and Jerry cartoons during their tenure at the studio. With the growth of television in the 1950s, Hanna-Barbera was one of the first studios to widely produce made-for-TV cartoons, and from 1957 to 1995, the company’s creations were broadcast across all three major U.S. television networks. “The Flintstones,” “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!,” and “Yogi Bear” are just a few of Hanna-Barbera’s top-watched programs.

The market for original Hanna-Barbera production cels is competitive, as is the market for its storyboards, production backgrounds, layouts, lithographs, and drawings. Any pieces signed by Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon artists or founders can reach high values as well.

Quick Facts

  • Heritage Auctions held a record-breaking animation art sale in April 2015. A production cel set-up from “The Flintstones,” featuring Fred and Barney in Fred’s car, sold for $5,258
  • With a tight budget and a high rate of production, Hanna-Barbera used a technique called “limited animation” to produce cartoons. Despite being criticized by some for animation quality, the company made thousands of popular cartoon episodes spanning nearly four decades
  • Turner Broadcasting purchased Hanna-Barbera in 1991, using its material to help populate its new channel, the “Cartoon Network”

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