Mickey Mouse poster from 1928 sells for more than $100,000

LOS ANGELES Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:46pm EST

A 1928 poster, which is believed to be the earliest known surviving Mickey Mouse cartoon movie poster, is seen in this publicity photograph released to Reuters November 29, 2012. One of the earliest surviving posters of Mickey Mouse sold for more than $100,000 (62,320 pounds) on Thursday, Heritage Auctions said. The 1928 movie poster of the iconic cartoon mouse belonged to the family of a deceased collector in Northern California, the auction house said. REUTERS/Heritage Auctions/Handout

A 1928 poster, which is believed to be the earliest known surviving Mickey Mouse cartoon movie poster, is seen in this publicity photograph released to Reuters November 29, 2012. One of the earliest surviving posters of Mickey Mouse sold for more than $100,000 (62,320 pounds) on Thursday, Heritage Auctions said. The 1928 movie poster of the iconic cartoon mouse belonged to the family of a deceased collector in Northern California, the auction house said.

Credit: Reuters/Heritage Auctions/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One of the earliest surviving posters of Mickey Mouse sold for more than $100,000 on Thursday, Heritage Auctions said.

The 1928 movie poster of the iconic cartoon mouse belonged to the family of a deceased collector in Northern California, the auction house said.

Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 by Walt Disney, and the color poster shows a smiling Mickey waving his gloved hand, advertising the "Mickey Mouse sound cartoon," with a slogan calling the animated mouse "The World's Funniest Cartoon Character."

The poster was auctioned in Dallas, Texas and sold for $101,575. The name of the winning bidder was not disclosed.

Grey Smith, director of movie poster auctions at Heritage Auctions, in a statement called the poster "an important piece of pop culture treasure," and said it was likely to be the only Mickey Mouse poster created until 1930, when Columbia Pictures started distributing Disney cartoons.

Mickey Mouse has become one of the most recognized animated characters in popular culture, symbolizing the Walt Disney Company and spawning a global merchandising franchise.

(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Eric Kelsey and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (1)
Lloyd_L wrote:
There is so much more to this story than what appears here.

The poster was purchased by two movie poster collectors in 1988. One of the collectors, Crowell Havens Beech, took possession of the poster and hid it on top of a dresser with a piece of plywood covering it. He covered that with a tapestry. About the only other people in the world who knew the identity of the owners were Crowell’s wife, Lorraine, and Grey Smith of Heritage Auctions.

It wasn’t until about 2005, when Crowell’s health began to fail, that he even told his children of the existence of the poster and of its location.

Crowell died in 2008. After he died, the family went to the poster’s hiding place only to find that it was gone. Lorraine didn’t even know where he had moved it to. The family searched the house periodically for months but could never locate it.

Crowell’s partner in the poster, Jose Carpio, died a few months after Crowell.

Lorraine had a trip and fall accident in mid 2010. The accident resulted in a broken pelvis. She was 87 at the time and could no longer live alone. Having no children of her own, she went to live with Tracy Leighton, one of Crowell’s daughters. That left the home to sit vacant.

In the spring of 2011, Grey Smith phoned Tracy Leighton and told her that the poster was for sale with a dealer in New York City. Grey asked if they had sold the poster and Tracy said no, that they had never found the poster.

Earlier that year, during a wild storm, a neighbor’s tree had fallen over and struck Crowell and Lorraine’s home. The damage was relatively light and a Good Samaritan neighbor arranged to have her handyman repair the damage. Fully trusting the handyman, the neighbor gave him unsupervised access to the house so that he could check the walk up attic for possible damage from the falling tree.

It was in the attic that the handyman found the poster. Not realizing what he had, he thought no one would be the wiser if he sold it to a movie poster dealer on the other side of the country. Unfortunately for the handyman, the New York dealer, not knowing the poster was stolen, quickly put out word in the movie poster world that he had the poster for sale. That’s when Grey saw it was for sale and contacted Tracy.

After a short investigation by police, they arrested the handyman who eventually admitted to his crime and plead guilty.

The New York City dealer quickly turned Mickey over to Grey Smith for safe keeping.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2012 that Jose’s only heir could be located to authorize the sale of the poster.

Speaking for the family, Tracy Leighton has said that they family’s hope is that the purchaser will be someone who will feel free to display and enjoy the poster so that Mickey doesn’t have to hide under a block of wood for another 25 years.

Dec 03, 2012 11:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
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