Hey, Which Witch is Which?
(what the heck should I collect and how should I get started)?!
1) Think about what you like and what your collecting goals are.
Who do I want to collect? I don’t think that one should limit oneself,
but it’s not a bad idea to have a think about where your collection is
going. You can pick studio (Disney), character types (Villains), or
movies (Snow White). Or, you can just have fun, and collect any
character or pose that takes your fancy!
What type of art do I want to collect? Original- cels, drawings,
reproduction- limited editions, sericels, etc. Understand what you are
collecting first, and it will save disappointments later.
2) Educate yourself to the differences about different kinds of art.
As I’ve said before, it’s very confusing in the beginning. Know the
difference between original and reproduction art. Know the differences
between key master, master, production, hand painted, and colour
reproduction backgrounds. Know the differences between vintage, feature,
short, television, and commercial animation. Be wary of adjectives such
as “mint” and “rare”, they mean different things to different people.
Mint has a different meaning for a Snow White cel (1937) than a Little
Mermaid cel (1989). Also, “rare” is a Snow White cel from 1937, “rare”
is not a sold-out limited edition that was made within the last 10
3) Shop around a little bit for prices. Don’t think so much in terms of
“will this be a good investment?”, as much as “is this good value for
Prices vary, and you should expect them to. Galleries get their art from
different sources, and the prices are usually never the same for vintage
pieces, even for similar pieces. Prices should be similar for newer art
– Simpsons, limited editions, sericels, Batman, Disney television, etc.
If you find a gallery that’s cheaper, that’s terrific, and you should
stick with them. Don’t get talked into anything. Ask questions, but have
the decision be yours.
4) Where do I find galleries?
In England, most of the new and reproduction animation art can be found
at the Disney and Warner Stores. For vintage and also other sources of
newer animation art, try a gallery which specializes in animation art.
There are one or two in England besides myself. I recommend that you
contact these galleries, interview them, compare prices, and see with
whom you feel comfortable dealing.
The internet can also be a good source. I suggest looking for pages with
a lot of art, educates collectors, is updated often, and has a good
selection and prices. Also, a gallery that is used to dealing with
overseas clients is a plus.
5) What is the deal with all these seals and certificates of
Studio sealing is something that has come about in the last decade or
so. For newer pieces, this acts as an extra assurance that the piece has
come through the studio program. It is a similar situation for the
certs. For vintage pieces, the studios are for the most part not
involved (although recently the Warner Stores have been purchasing Tom
and Jerry drawings, Red Hot drawings, and vintage Warner art from
private sources to seal and sell in the stores). Vintage art comes from
old animators, relatives of old animators and private individuals who
bought them from Courvoisier or Disney years ago, etc. The cert comes
from the individual dealer. This is the norm for the industry, and you
should feel comfortable with a cert from any reputable dealer.
In conclusion, collecting animation art should be fun. And if you spend a little time in the beginning educating yourself, you’ll be much happier with your collection.