ARTS & CULTURE

$1.7 million in Disneyland memorabilia sold

When a collector's cache of Disneyland memorabilia brings in $1.7 million, that's no Mickey Mouse auction

A 27-inch-tall 1970s robot bird from Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room sold last weekend for $153,400 — or $5,681.48 per inch of fiberglass, paint, wood and feathers. A "Story of Disneyland" guidebook signed by Walt in 1955 for the park's opening day went for $13,275, and bidding on an original Pirates of the Caribbean skeleton propelled the sales price, including auctioneer's commission, to $129,800.

But at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, where an undisclosed collector sold more than $1.7 million worth of Disneyland history in two days, some of the most charming pieces were the less-expensive vintage artwork — posters that dated to the park's earliest days and, in many cases, were reminders of Disneyland's past.

One lot was a 1956 poster for the Skyway, the long-gone gondola that once linked Fantasyland and Tomorrowland sold for $5,310. Another lot was a psychedelic 1962 poster for the Swiss Family Treehouse, which opened in Disneyland two years after "Swiss Family Robinson" hit theaters (but got remodeled in 1999, when Tarzan moved in), remained unsold.

Most of the posters sold above their pre-auction estimates. Autopia went for $4,130, Jungle River Cruise for $8,024, Tom Sawyer Island for $10,325 and Rainbow Caverns (remember that?) for $17,700. The Enchanted Tiki Room is still around, of course, and a hand-silkscreened poster from 1963, the year the attraction opened in its animatronic avian glory, had been estimated at $10,000 to $12,000. Alas, it went unclaimed.

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