Arts & Entertainment

1,000 Disneyland artifacts go up for auction, offering a look into the theme park's past

Original concept art for
Original concept art for "Pirates of the Caribbean", by Marc Davis.
Courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries
Original concept art for
One of the original “Main Street Cinema” Mickey Mouse signs up for auction.
Courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries
Original concept art for
A completely intact animatronic “It’s a Small World” doll.
Courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries
Original concept art for
13-year-old Annette Funicello’s personal 1957 school notebook will also be available for bidding.
Courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries


Remember strolling down Disneyland's iconic Main Street, maybe stopping in the tobacco shop and grabbing a stash of "Disneyland Special Blend" tobacco and Disney brand lighter for the walk? 

No? Well you'll be able to peek into the Happiest Place's history next month when items like a years-old unopened can of tobacco and ash trays go up for auction at Van Eaton Galleries' “Souvenirs of Disneyland." 

The gallery will be auctioning away pieces of the theme park's past, including artifacts that span its 1955 opening all the way to the modern day. Mike Van Eaton, co-owner of the art animation gallery in Sherman Oaks, told KPCC the pieces will offer “a wonderful window into that particular era.”  

Most of the pieces come from collectors, but some of them also come from family members of past Disneyland employees, he said. The tobacco memorabilia in the auction was passed on by the son of the man who owned the tobacco shop in the park from 1950-1960. 

Several pieces in the auction were donated by Annette Funicello’s husband. Funicello is best known as one of the 24 original Mouseketeers in the old Micky Mouse Club during the 1950s. She battled multiple sclerosis before passing away in 2013. All the proceeds of those items will benefit a neurological disease fund that she founded.

Other notable pieces include original signage from the park, a car from the early days of the "Autopia" attraction and a doll from "It's a Small World", which has all the mechanical features still intact.

https://twitter.com/VEGalleries/status/791696762398310400 

Van Eaton's personal favorite: an original stretch painting from "The Haunted Mansion" attraction. For anyone familiar with the ride, the paintings that give the illusion of elongation as you stand in the elevator during the first part of the attraction are one of its standout features. 

A photo of the original “Haunted Mansion” stretch painting up for auction.
A photo of the original “Haunted Mansion” stretch painting up for auction.
Courtesy of Van Eaton Galleries

“I love the Haunted Mansion painting. It’s amazing — it’s one of those rides that I’ve been on so many times that it’s just iconic to me. As soon as I see it I know exactly what it is," he said. 

An annual pass holder himself, Van Eaton says his passion for animated art often overlaps with his love for Disneyland. 

“It’s amazing to see what that park has and the effect it has on people,” Van Eaton said.  

The gallery has put on about four Disneyland-related auctions in the past year, attracting bidders from all over the country and world, who want a piece of that history. 

Most of the pieces will start at a $50-100 bidding range, but he anticipates a majority of them will be sold in the $100-200 range. Some of the larger pieces, like the "Haunted Mansion" painting, can sell up to $50,000, but he said its estimated worth is around $35,000. 

“The big thing about Disneyland is it crosses over many generations. I went there when I was a kid, so I had memories from it," Van Eaton said. "I take my kid there, so she has memories from it... It makes pieces from that park very important to people, very nostalgic and it’s actually a piece of popular culture history. That’s how much influence the park has had on the world.” 

The auction is on Nov. 19, live at the gallery, but it will also streamed online. If you can't make it in person, Disney fans can bid online, over the phone or fax.

Check out their 352-page catalog (!) below or at this link to see the full offering: