From Dumbo to Mr. Toad, Disneyland collection goes up for auction

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For years, Dumbo the Flying Elephant hung from his living room ceiling, a Mr. Toad Wild Ride car was parked in his library and Bashful’s cart from Snow White’s Scary Adventures sat on his front lawn in suburban California.

Now collector Richard Kraft is selling off his 750-item collection of theme park vehicles, props and artifacts spanning six decades of Disneyland history.

Kraft, a Hollywood agent, began his collection 25 years ago, spurred by nostalgia for his visits with his late brother to Disneyland in southern California.

Van Eaton Galleries in Los Angeles said the result was an extraordinary array of Disneyland memorabilia.

“Through Richard’s passion for the park and his love for his brother and family, he has amassed a collection that is unequaled,” co-founder Mike Van Eaton said.

Such is its scale that hundreds of the items are being displayed for a month at a free public exhibition called “That’s From Disneyland” at a 20,000 sq ft (18,500 sq meters) abandoned store in suburban Los Angeles ahead of the auction on Aug. 25 and 26.

Visitors will be able to dance along with six singing animatronic dolls from It’s a Small World, or board one of the pirate ships from Peter Pan’s Flight.

“Real artisans made this and I love putting it in an exhibit setting so it could be admired differently. You never actually see this stuff up close and personal the way you would see it in this exhibit,” Kraft said.

“We had Dumbo hanging in the living room of our house - 800 pounds (360 kg) of elephant hanging over people’s heads,” Kraft said. “We used to decorate Dumbo for Christmas.”

The Dumbo the Flying Elephant vehicle is expected to be among the top sellers with an estimate of $100,000-$150,000, while a Peter Pan’s pirate ship vehicle is seen fetching $75,000-$100,000.

Other artifacts include a Disneyland ticket booth, an animatronic singing bird from the Enchanted Tiki Room, as well as original drawings, concept sketches and posters from the 63-year-old theme park.

Kraft intends to donate a portion of the proceeds to two organizations benefiting children who, like his four-year old daughter Daisy, suffer from the rare genetic disorder Coffin-Siris Syndrome, and other special needs.

“She’s in a special school program that is so underfunded. This collection I’ve had for all these years can be put to good use in helping kids and people with disabilities,” he said.

Additional reporting by Sandra Stojanovic; editing by Diane Craft