Heritage Auctions presents rare artifacts from Disney’s history
On March 25 and 26, 2023, Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif. will present “The Art of Disneyland: From Stagecoaches to Monorails,” its first major Disney event of 2023 featuring Disney theme park vehicles, unique figure displays from Disney stores, and more.
Coinciding with the end of the 50th-anniversary celebration for Walt Disney World and the beginning of the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Company, this month’s event follows last year’s record-breaking $2.2 million “Art of Disneyland” auction.
“This event has lots that showcase every aspect of the Parks,” says Jim Lentz, Heritage’s Director of Animation Art. “You’ll see more than 850 lots spread over two full days that tie to Main Street, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and more.”
During Disney’s milestone anniversary year, it’s fitting the auction includes iconic Disney vehicles, including one from the company’s first theme park: the original full-size, nine-passenger Overland Stagecoach that evokes memories of the “Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach” ride from Disneyland’s earliest years (lot #16104).
This authentic stagecoach belonged to a friend of Walt’s, fellow Anaheim businessman Ben Hathaway, who owned Tiffy’s restaurant (originally located in the Disneyland Hotel). According to Heritage Auctions, very few authentic frontier stagecoaches still exist, making this a rare piece of Americana and the inspiration for the 1950s Disneyland attraction.
“This authentic frontier stage harkens to Disneyland’s early portrayal of America’s past and the ultimate transition towards a vision for the future,” says Lentz. “The winning bidder of this remarkable piece of American history will instantly attain exclusive bragging rights.”
Also on the auction block from Disneyland is an exceptionally rare bright orange “Tomorrowland era” Skyway gondola with the iconic rounded design (lot #16205); a park-used “Dopey” vehicle from Snow White’s Scary Adventures(lot #16208); and an Autopia Mark VII car from Disneyland (circa 1967-1999), which has been professionally restored to drivable condition (lot #16220).
Walt Disney World fans can bid on an original Mark IV Monorail cabin (lot #16279), which began its travels around the Orlando parks in 1984. The cabin’s doors still open and close, all of its windows are intact, and inside are eight rows of seats, an emergency phone, and “watch your head” signage over the doorways.
The “Kevin and Jody” Collection
Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily – two Disney artists based in Southern California – are bringing more than 100 items from their collection of Disney creations and prototypes to auction for the first time. Known to collectors and enthusiasts for their craftsmanship and attention to detail, Kidney and Daily have created sold-out collectibles and Disney Parks items.
“Our niche is nostalgia,” Kidney says. “We are interested in classic Disney, the Disney of our childhoods.”
Examples of their work include original concept art for Goofy’s 70th-anniversary Big Fig (lot #16068), Walt Disney World signage (one inspired by a 1940’s era sign at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, lot #16081), hand-painted 3-D maquettes, including the Hat Box Ghost (lot #16090), replicas of Enchanted Tiki Room props (lot #16083), and a Mickey sculpture for the “Happiness is Here” parade at Tokyo Disneyland (lot #16061).
“Many of these designs have been on display in our studio, [including] production samples that are very special,” Kidney said. “The scenic pieces are rare; they’re handmade, hand-painted.”
Some items from the archive are prototype designs he and Daily created that were never made available to the public and production samples called “paint masters” that the artists hand-painted before larger production like an extremely rare set of six paintings featuring characters from “Ichabod and Mr. Toad” that were drawn by Kidney and hand-painted by Daily (lot #16078).
In a Facebook post on March 23, 2023, Kevin and Jody described a particularly unique item up for auction, and shared a story that “hasn’t been told before:”
In 2005, we designed a stained glass lamp for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary, based on one of the famous stretching portraits in the Haunted Mansion. We chose the sweet and sinister lady perched daintily on the tombstone of her “dear beloved George”. The image is instantly familiar to Disneyland fans, everywhere, and we knew it would be a hit. Humorously, however, the sculptor in China mistook the design of the woman’s hair to imply that we wanted the character to be a Buddha! As such, the figure was sculpted with a much more rounded face and “Buddha-like” hair. Of course we had to fix the error for the final piece, but we were enamored with the production samples and kept one (there were a total of three castings made). One is currently available in Heritage Auctions’ “The Art of Disneyland”, happening this weekend.
The Disneyland – Haunted Mansion Error “Buddha” Lamp Production Sample (pictured left) is lot #16095 and measures 5.5″ x 5.5″ and 10.5″ tall.
“The Art of Disneyland: From Stagecoaches to Monorails” auction also features park-displayed signs, hand-silkscreened attraction posters, and an eight-foot “Jolly Roger” skull and crossbones flag from Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Restaurant in Fantasyland, a life-sized pirate ship that was a beloved Disneyland attraction from 1955 to 1982 (lot #16193).
Disney Store Character Figures
The first Disney Store opened in 1987 in Glendale, Calif., bringing the magic of a Disney theme park experience to shopping malls worldwide.
“The rafters, walls, and entrance displays were decorated with large fiberglass statues created by Disney artists for the stores.” Lentz said. “The statues were so popular people constantly asked to buy them.”
This Heritage auction includes the most extensive collection of actual Disney Store character figures, including Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey from “Fantasia” (lot #16002); a set piece featuring Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, and Figaro (lot #16035); and a group display of Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie (lot #16026).
“This is our biggest collection of very hard to find Disney figures ever offered,” Lentz said. “With historic lots such as these, this Disney auction truly covers everything – from stagecoaches to Monorails,” says Lentz. “If Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth, this surely will be the happiest auction on earth!”
“The Art of Disneyland: From Stagecoaches to Monorails”
- March 25, 2023, at 10 a.m. PT – The Art of Disneyland Session 1: Lots 16001-16348 (live floor, live phone, mail, fax, internet, and Heritage live bidding)
- March 26, 2023, at 10 a.m. PT – The Art of Disneyland Session 2: Lots 17001-17509 (mail, fax, internet, and Heritage live bidding only; no floor or phone bidding)
Heritage Auctions will offer public previews of the auction items in Beverly Hills on March 20-24, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.
Click here for more information.
What’s the going bid at this time on the Tiki Enchanted Room Prop?