Heritage Auctions ‘Shanghaied’ Mickey Mouse Cel

Disney fans and collectors won’t want to miss Heritage’s Animation Art Signature Auction February 4-7. A rare Shanghaied Mickey Mouse black and white hand-inked nitrate Production Cel Setup on his hand-painted Key Master background leads the collection to be made available to the public.

“It’s an incredible piece that rarely becomes available to the public,” said Jim Lentz, Vice President of Heritage Auctions and Artistic Director of Animation and Anime. “Mickey Mouse is the most iconic cartoon character of all time and has been for years. Black and white Mickey Mouse production cels with their main main backgrounds rarely survive this long, and certainly not in this condition. This is an exceptional piece of animated film history from one of the greatest characters in animated films.

The configuration (estimate: $25,000+) is believed to be one of fewer than 25 master black-and-white Mickey Mouse key configurations remaining in private hands. During the film, a swordfish-wielding Mickey Mouse makes a raspberry noise with a deck of cards to annoy the villainous pirate captain Peg-Leg Pete; it was the first theatrical short featuring Billy Bletcher as the voice of Pete.

Of note, this black and white nitrate production cel includes his original hand painted key master production background. This is an incredibly rare classic piece of animated film history. This specific piece was featured in one of the first animation art museum exhibits for a company called Museum Graphics in California in the late 1970s.

Mickey first appeared in 1928, six years before Disney produced Shanghaied, replacing another character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Major lead setups featuring Mickey Mouse from black-and-white theatrical shorts are considered the rarest of all Disney animated setups.

The names “Fergy” and “Spencer” are handwritten on the bottom edge of the cellulo, likely a nod to two great animators: Norman Ferguson, best known for his contribution to the creation of Disney’s Pluto character, Peg-Leg Pete and the Big Bad Wolf and Fred Spencer, who has long been considered a Donald Duck expert. The background is rendered in black and white gouache and graphite, and the 12-field, two-hole nitrate cells show surprisingly minor handling and edge wear compared to most nitrate cells in this era. The paint on the cels remains entirely intact, making it one of the best-preserved black-and-white Mickey Mouse configurations Heritage Auctions experts have seen.

The bundle includes a portfolio containing a rare set of six studio-printed Shanghaied advertising images on 10 x 8 inch photographic paper.

More information is available here.

Source: Heritage Auctions

Debbie Diamond Sarto's photo

Debbie Diamond Sarto is associate editor at Animation World Network.

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