Rare Mickey Mouse Animation Cel and Background From 1935 Brings $98,000+ at Auction

NEW YORK—An incredibly rare piece of animation history, an all-original, unrestored production cel and master background from Walt Disney’s 1935 classic “Mickey’s Service Station,” featuring Mickey Mouse and Goofy, realized more than $98,000 at Heritage Auctions in New York on July 1, as part of the company’s $1.28+ million Animation Art Signature® Auction, at the Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion (2 E. 79th Street, at 5th Ave.).

“It’s an extraordinary price for an extra ordinary piece,” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation Art at Heritage. “This is really a Holy Grail piece of animation and one of the best I’ve ever seen, from one of the best early Mickey cartoons and one of the very last black and white Mickey cartoons before Disney changed everything by going to color.”

Besides the rarity of the cel and the background, it is also believed that this is the only known black and white production cel featuring Goofy in private hands. In the classic cartoon Mickey (voiced by Disney himself), along with Goofy and Donald, do their best to find a squeaking sound in Pete's roadster. Naturally, they take the car apart looking for the source of the annoying sound, which turns out to be a cricket.

One of the great surprises of the auction came in the form of a set of 1961 storyboards from The Bullwinkle Show (Jay Ward Studios), three extremely rare trimmed storyboards by Roy Morita for the episode "Buried Treasure," on Ward Inc. storyboard paper, which crushed its $750+ pre-auction estimate to finish, amidst very spirited bidding, at $44,460. One panel features Rocky and Bullwinkle, one has a close up of Bullwinkle, and one is an amazing drawing of Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, with the handwritten notation "B+R House" and an arrow pointing out the specific abode.

The auction, which went deep into the career of the world’s most iconic mouse, with amazing early representations from some of the most beloved Mickey cartoons, included a wonderful cel of Mickey as The Sorcerer’s Apprentice that was very competitive before finishing at $20,913 and a very scarce piece of Mickey Mouse storyboard art, realizing $4780, both from Fantasia (Disney, 1940) and a scarce Steamboat Willie (Disney, 1928) production drawing by the great Ub Iwerks, from the cartoon that made Mickey famous, which realized $1,528.

Another great early Disney star made an important appearance in the sale as a production cel from 1934’s “Wise Old Hen,” the cartoon that marked the debut of Donald Duck, realized $8,365.

Heritage Auctions is the largest auction house founded in the United States and the world’s third largest, with annual sales of more than $900 million, and 850,000+ online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and receive access to a complete record of prices realized, with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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