DALLAS — It was the rare sequel that outperformed the original. Heritage Auctions‘ four-day Art of Anime and Everything Cool II Animation Art Signature® Auction, which wrapped December 13, realized $2,635,985 to outperform its June predecessor — itself, a multiple record-setter as the world’s first auction highlighting anime. Numerous lots far exceeded their initial estimates in this complete sell-out.
That this event was a rousing success should come as no surprise, as it featured numerous lots from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and was held, coincidentally, only weeks after the great filmmaker announced his return to filmmaking. Several of the auction’s top lots were Miyazaki’s 1988’s masterwork My Neighbor Totoro, among them a production cel featuring the weird and wonderful Catbus.
If ever one needed proof that Miyazaki’s work is as likely to be exhibited as it is screened, this stunning and surreal proof ends all arguments. So, too, does its final price: $40,800.
This event also featured something exceptionally special: an original drawing of Nausicaa, princess of the Valley of the Wind, by the hand of none other Miyazaki himself. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was his second animated feature after The Castle of Cagliostro, and while it was made before Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli, it is widely considered part of the Studio Ghibli canon. This piece, which realized $31,200, is also signed by Miyazaki and dated August 4, 1987.
But Miyazaki had myriad co-stars in this sale, chief among them production cels from 1988’s Akira, the manga-turned-film that remains a classic in any medium. Set in a dystopian future in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster and war, the vast story deals with corruption, rebellion and a struggle for what’s best for society. It also features some pretty amazing scenes of Kaneda astride his iconic red motorcycle, among them this production cel that sold in mid-December for $21,000 and another that raced to a $20,400 finish.
And, yet again, Charles Schulz’ baseball-themed original Peanuts strips proved to be a (wait for it) home run with collectors. An original daily strip dated August 13, 1973, sold for $43,200. And from Feb. 22, 1965, a signed-and-inscribed original daily strip featuring that odd couple Lucy and Schroeder (at his piano, where else?) sold for $31,200.
Nearly two dozen bids poured in for Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas Mt. Crumpit pan background layout drawing by Maurice Noble (MGM, 1966) before it found a new home at $9,900, nearly doubling its estimate. This large background is from the opening sequence in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas when the camera starts at the top of Mt. Crumpit and pans down to Whoville, and was created by Chuck Jones’ long-time right-hand man. From the same beloved classic came a How The Grinch Stole Christmas Grinch and Max production cel signed by Chuck Jones (MGM, 1966), which prompted 29 bids before it reached $8,400.
One of the most popular shows and the longest-running animated show in TV history, The Simpsons, was featured in 52 lots in the sale. Among them were The Simpsons (Tracey Ullman Show) Entire Family production cel setup with key master background (Fox, 1987), which drew $9,300; The Telltale Head Homer, Bart and Townspeople production cel setup (Fox, 1990), which finished at $7,200; and a Treehouse of Horror V key master production cel setup (20th Century Fox, 1994) that brought $5,280.