Bonhams is having another Entertainment Memorabilia auction on May 4th and 5th, once again featuring “artifacts from animation history”. Among the items for sale is a 16mm print of Poor Papa (1928) (valued at “$15,000-20,000”), the very first “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit” cartoon – “and one of only three prints of the film known to exist”.There is no doubt Poor Papa is a scarce film, and a historic one. My question is how does Bonhams come up with the $15,000-$20,000 estimate? Who do they think is going to buy it? It’s way out of my league – or anyone else I know who’d understand what this is.
Disney could of course be interested, but how strongly, given that the print is not unique?
There was another Poor Papa auction last year (see lot 693) where a print went for £170 – that’s less than $300, and a perfectly normal price for non-unique Oswald elements.
It can’t suddenly be worth $15,000 just because Bonhams “thinks” it is. Is last year’s auction print one of the three Bonhams says exists, or are there maybe four prints? Or more?
What about this other auction at Capes Dunn in 2001? I’m no longer a member of this auction site, but I once was, and learned that it sold for under $100… !
It’s rare – but not nonexistent. Hey, I want to see Poor Papa as badly as the next guy (especially if the next guy is just-as-likewise a rabid Disney-history freak) – but $15k seems a little too high for the privilege.
Beyond Poor Papa, there are some amazing items here – mostly Disney – up for grabs (if you have the money). The complete catalog is online. There is much original artwork by artists such as Eyvind Earle and Mary Blair – including a study of Alice chatting with the Caterpillar-turned-butterfly, in Alice in Wonderland (est. $8,000-12,000).
Cels, pencil animation and merchandising artwork – way out of my league – are also available. Personally, my speed is this animation drawing from Fleischer’s Dizzy Divers (lot 4136, est. $300).
Bonhams is also offering an assortment of vintage comic strip originals. Highlights include an October 1952 Pogo daily by Walt Kelly, (est. $1,000-1,500); a Flintstones daily and a Donald Duck Sunday page (est. $300-400).
Bonhams is located at 7601 W. Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Preview days for the Entertainment Memorabilia including Animation Art auction are Friday and Saturday, May 2nd and 3rd from 10am to 5pm. Be prepared to open your wallet.