Inheritance The Art of Anime and Everything Cool Signature Auction continues to grow in popularity and attract eye-catching mailings to tempt collectors of original comic books, shopping cart artwork and animation cels.
The third installment, a sold-out four-day event, wrapped up late Monday night and surpassed its predecessors in both monetary value and the number of bidders who participated. The sale made $3,115,598 to smash the record set last December, with many lots greatly exceeding their initial estimates. And more than 4,700 bidders competed for their slices of history online, over the phone and in person, the largest attendance yet.
“We were thrilled with the success of our December Animation Art Auction, which brought in over $2.6 million, and this sold-out sale of over 2,200 lots went well over beyond that,” said Heritage Auctions VP and Director of Animation & Anime ArtJim Lentz. “The art of animation in all its forms has never been more popular with collectors, as evidenced by the results of this auction and its predecessors. Organizing these sales at Heritage Auctions has been extremely rewarding and exciting, and an increase in bidders of almost 1,000 this time suggests that the upward trend will only continue.
In a surprising twist for animated auction dogs, this feat was accomplished without a single batch of Disney art – which has long proven to be the most popular and coveted cel among collectors. However, the pieces will be offered separately from December 9-12 at The Art of All Things Disney Animation Art Signature Auction.
The main batches of the third Art of Anime and Everything Cool event ranged from an original February 21, 1954 to Peanuts Charles Schulz’s Sunday comic, which made $72,000; to a production cel and cartoon of Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 Studio Ghibli masterpiece Kiki’s Delivery Service, which sold for $40,800; to a painting of Wolverine directed by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt for the popular 1994 Marvel Comics Powerblast Masterpieces trading card series, which opened the four-day event by selling for $33,600.
Also included in this sale are 49 lots of Akirathe hugely popular 1988 Japanese animated cyberpunk action film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo and based on Otomo’s 1982 manga of the same name. Unsurprisingly, a production cel and animation taken from Akira with Kaneda accelerating on his signature bike ranked among the top lots at the event when it sold for $33,600.
Another diverse offering in this edition was a stop-motion puppet of Exitone of the stars of the film directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton The Nightmare Before Christmas. This rare, masterfully crafted and hand-painted work also fetched $33,600.
The 57 Studio Ghibli Bids from this auction proved covered memories among collectors, who fought over works such as a production cel of the pigeon feeding sequence in 1986 Castle in THE sky, who made $30,000; and a smile chat bus from 1988 My Neighbor Totorowhich sold for $26,400.
One of the most sought-after pieces in this auction was not from a particular cartoon, but from a network: Nickelodeon. When Universal Studios in Orlando opened on June 7, 1990, Nickelodeon Studios opened alongside it; two years later, a time capsule for the network was planted “as a gift to the children of the future”. Eventually, the capsule was moved to Burbank, where it is still scheduled to open on April 30, 2042, but the huge time capsule cover – over 42 inches in diameter, over 45 pounds in weight – sold last weekend for $19,200.
It was also a historic auction for The Flintstones, thanks in large part to original concept art by animation greats Hanna-Barbera, Ed Benedict and Dick Bickenbach, which were once on display at the Norman Rockwell Museum. A complete 55-page set of original storyboard artwork for the 1963 episode “The Blessed Event” made $18,000 – a collector now has the entire Pebbles‘baby’s first album. And Benedict’s 1960 model sheet with Betty Rubble and dinosaur sold for $12,000.
And not to be outdone, many collectors dreamed of Jeannie — but only one could win the I dream of Jeannie Production cel of the opening sequence featuring Jeannie and her bottle. It sold for $16,800.
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