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Heritage Brings ‘Shanghaied’ Mickey Mouse Cel to Auction

Lot coming up for sale includes portfolio containing a rare set of six studio-printed Shanghaied publicity images on 10-by-8-inch photographic paper; auction runs February 4-7.

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

“This is an incredible piece that rarely becomes available to the public,” shared Heritage Auctions Vice President and Animation & Anime Art Director Jim Lentz. “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 key master 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 setup (estimate: $25,000+), is believed to be one of fewer than 25 black and white Mickey Mouse key master setups remaining in private hands. During the film, a swordfish-wielding Mickey Mouse makes a raspberry noise with a deck of cards to antagonize the villainous pirate captain Peg-Leg Pete; it was the first theatrical short featuring Billy Bletcher as the voice of Pete.

It is notable that this black-and-white nitrate production cel includes its original hand-painted key master production background. This is a classic incredibly rare piece of animation film history. This specific piece was in one of the early Animation Art Museum Shows for a company called Museum Graphics in California in the late 1970s.

Mickey first appeared in 1928, six years before Disney produced Shanghaied, as a replacement for another character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Key master setups featuring Mickey Mouse from black-and-white theatrical shorts are considered the rarest of all Disney animation setups.

The names “Fergy” and “Spencer” are hand-written at the bottom edge of the cel, 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 long revered as an expert on Donald Duck. The background is rendered in black-and-white gouache and graphite, and the 12-field, two-peghole nitrate cels show astonishingly minor handling and edge wear compared to most nitrate cels of this era. The paint on the cels remains fully intact, making this one of the most well-preserved black-and-white Mickey Mouse setups Heritage Auctions experts have seen.

The lot includes a portfolio containing a rare set of six studio-printed Shanghaied publicity images on 10-by-8-inch photographic paper.

More information is available here.

Source: Heritage Auctions

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is assistant news editor at Animation World Network.