Disney animator's office furniture valued at $80,000

A unique lot of Kem Weber-designed Disney animator's office furniture is to cross the block at Van Eaton Auction Galleries n June 18.

The set includes a rare Airline chair, a desk, floor lamp and ashtray - among other pieces.

Kem Weber furniture
Kem Weber designed Disney's Burbank offices in the late 1930s

Disney hired modernist designer Weber to work on the new Burbank studios in 1938. However, the hugely expensive project proved contentious with the animators, many of whom were paid low wages.

Weber's cutting edge design also displeased some of them, with many preferring the more homely environs of the old studios in LA.

It was one of the sparks that led to the 1941 Disney animators' strike and the unionisation of the workforce.

The auction house comments: "Although Animator's desks from this period occasionally show up for sale, groupings of this original Kem Weber designed furniture are so rare that we cannot recall a set such as this ever being offered for public sale."

Airline chairs alone are extremely valuable, with a single specimen selling for $13,000 at Wright in 2011.

The lot is expected to go for $60,000-80,000.

We have a copy of Walt Disney's America signed by 12 voice actors and animators, any one of whom could have sat at the desk.

A matching pair of Minnie and Mickey Mouse shop displays by Old King Cole Inc. is valued at $50,000-75,000.

As Van Eaton Galleries explains: "All Old King Cole Disney displays are rare and desirable, however finding a matching working pair in this condition is almost unheard of."

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