Disney-themed antiques can fetch tens of thousands of pounds at auction
Our antiques expert takes a look at Disney collectables ahead of the release of Frozen 2...
If you have children, excitement is probably reaching fever pitch at the release of ‘Frozen 2’. The follow-up to Disney’s 2013 epic smash hit with its memorable theme song is set for release, exactly six years to the week later.
Disney releases always prompt visits to the centre with reawakened interest in Disney collectables. Mass production means it could take decades for any ‘Frozen 2’ merchandise to accrue much value. But historic Disney collectables? Ah, there you’re talking.
Right from the company’s launch in the 1920s, Mickey, Minnie and all Disney’s cartoon and film stars have been produced as popular collectable figurines.
Often called ‘Disneyana’, some purist collectors argue that Disneyana is exclusively for Disney-themed articles made before Walt Disney's death in 1966. Original Mickey Mouse figurines, made by Charlotte Clark at the peak of Mickey Mouse’s early popularity in the 1920s, have a list value of over $20,000- if you can find them at all.
Learn to recognise different materials; premium Disney figurines are made from porcelain, ceramic, glass, and pewter – early ones from cloth. The intrinsic quality of these figurines means they can fetch hundreds of pounds in the secondary market.
Valuable pre-1966 Disney figurines were often made from rubber. Later mass-produced action figures were made from vinyl.
Canny collectors don’t stick to figurines: Classic Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck ‘Pez’ candy dispensers originally sold for twenty-five cents per box. Now, however, just one in good condition can fetch several hundred pounds- not a bad return for a ‘throwaway’ gimmick!
Vintage Disney animation cels sell for up to £5,000. To put that in perspective, similar artwork for the Simpsons fetches about £500. A cel from Mickey Mouse’s 1933 film ‘The Mad Doctor’ fetched £21,275 at auction.
Disney films still capture the imagination of children, so today’s merchandise could be worth hanging onto. Other popular plush figures include Toy Story characters, along with other modern classics such as Monsters Inc and The Lion King.
Keep any vintage Disneyana safely tucked away by all means, but relish your kids or grandkids playing with the new ‘Frozen’ merchandise, just how it was intended to be enjoyed.