Walt Disney memorabilia collection - owned by his very own sister Ruth


Walt Disney is a legend, having had a huge influence on 20th century cinema and being one of the pioneers of animation. Collectors of 'Disneyana' are common and a vast number of collectibles relating to his most popular characters are hoarded worldwide.

But what about early memorabilia from the man himself? Well, there's no better person to have had access to that than his own sister, Ruth Disney, and her collection has recently been released onto the market.

Walt, who was born in 1901, didn't enjoy a long old age, dying at 65 but Ruth lived all the way through from 1903 to 1995, which helped to keep her hoard intact (though it was sold before her death). It is now thought to be worth a six-figure sum.

Disney dollar files
Funny money... The Disney dollar files

The collection includes several stock certificates issued by the O-Zell Co. of Chicago (seven in total), including what may be the very first stock ever issued to Walt Disney. This one is expected to sell for up to $15,000 - 10 times as much as any of the others.

There is also an extensive collection of correspondence with the O-Zell Co. Whilst the value of this as scrip alone shouldn't be discounted (Lehman Brothers' stock certificate #1 recently sold for $33,100, and it's surely obvious why our Standard Oil certificate is valuable).

But there is a Disneyana value here too: Walt was not only a stockholder in the O-Zell Company at the age of 15, but was employed there "part-time" later. His father Elias bought a great deal of their stock. The correspondence is expected to sell for up to $35,000

Then there is a History of Disney Dollars by Charles T. Rodgers. The idea for Disney Dollars came from a silhouette cutter at Disneyland, Harry Brice. Mr. Brice had gone to one of the Disneyana shows and could not believe what people were paying for anything that had a Disney name on it.

Walt Disney stock certificate
Walt Disney's very first stock certificate

He wondered why not make something just for the collector that looked like money. The first Disney Dollars were designed by Matt Mew, an illustrator of Creative Services. Printing of the Disney Dollars was done at EPI of Battle Creek, Michigan.

The plates were steel engraving by the U.S. Bank Note Company, and the paper was 100% cotton, giving the Notes the look and feel of real money.

Disney Dollars have no redemption dates on them, and over one hundred and fifty different issues have been released. They may be used like real money in the Disney parks, including Disneyland in California and Disney World in Florida, and also in the Disney retail stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Fill up my can Walt Disney drawing
Original 'Fill up my Can' drawing by Walt Disney

However, the prize lot in the collection must surely be an original, autographed, early illustration by Walt Disney, entitled Fill Up My Can. The pen and ink work was done in the early 1920s, most likely before to Mickey Mouse, who didn't make his screen debut until 1928.

It is thought to be worth around $50,000. Original drawings by great cartoonists can be valuable - such as this original Fred Flintstone drawing by Bill Hanna (of Hanna Barbera) which we have in stock.

This is available at a fraction of the Disney piece's price, however, as that is expected to sell for up to $50,000.

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