On Saturday 28 February and Sunday 1st March, Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks (California) conducted an auction selling almost 1,000 artworks and collectibles about Disney theme parks, mainly Disneyland and some about Walt Disney World.
All of these items came from a collector who wished to remain anonymous. The sales raised over $1.7 million. An audio-animatronic Tiki Bird, sold for $130,000, was the highest paid object! Van Eaton Galleries, renowned for selling original animation art, states that this collection was unique in its quality and scope and called this exhibition and sale, “The Story of Disneyland Collection Auction.”
By looking at the objects sold, we can easily see that the collector did a very good job at selecting objects that reflects the history of the famed Anaheim theme park.
What is most interesting for Disney enthusiasts, especially ones like me who don’t have a deep enough wallet to buy historical collectibles, are the two catalogs (hardcover and softcover versions) edited by Van Eaton Galleries to present all the items.
These catalogs are quite beautiful books with 295 pages all in color. The content is the same as well as the size (21,7×27,9 cm – 8,5×11,7 inches). The hardcover version may appear slightly bigger, but only because the hardcover is a bit larger.
Famed Imagineers and Disney Legends, Rolly Crump and Bob Gurr, provide each a one page foreword.
For the catalog part, the collection is divided in chapters with the main ones being in fact the lands (Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, New Orleans Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland). There are also chapters devoted to specific subjects like New York World Fair or Walt Disney World and EPCOT.
The beginning of each chapter gives a quick context and each item is presented with a picture and text. Thus, by going through the pages, you go beyond the catalog of an auction: you were given the feeling of a trip down the lane of the story of Disneyland. Seeing the tickets, bags, souvenir books, cast members manuals, attractions props, park merchandises, costumes and so on is a fantastic reminder of all the tremendous work done to make Disneyland the revolutionary family entertainment it was at the time and the icon it is today. It’s almost hypnotic reading!
Of course, the texts are short, but for everybody interested in Disney and especially Disney theme parks, this is a must-have that we can have at home, in book form, a collection that would have been otherwise impossible to buy or see.
The quality of print is very good and the pictures are at the same level. Some almost full page item photos or attraction posters are simply gorgeous. There are only 3 or 4 poster reproductions that show a slight pixelation and that should not stop you from buying, as the rest is of the upmost interest.
“The Story of Disneyland, An Exhibition and Sale Catalog” is not a book you’ll find everywhere or on Amazon. You can only buy it directly from Van Eaton Galleries. However, PayPal or online credit card payment is easy and they ship worldwide. I received my hard and soft catalog (the soft one for reading the hard one being the masterpiece that has a collector value for me) carefully packaged. I bought it as a normal customer and did not mention I was going to write a review*.
Softcover version is $49.95
Hardcover version is $95.00
Van Eaton Galleries page to buy these books: http://vegalleries.com/storyofdisneyland.html (not an affiliate link)
Shipping and handling is calculated when you place your order. In the USA it is around $15 and international at $45 in most countries (Canada and France for example).
The best is that you can also read it (all the pages!) for free online here and decide if you wish one (embed below).
I warn you that it is very difficult for a Disney fan not to want it in “real” book form…
If the embed doesn’t work, go to this page and click on “Online Catalog Flipbook”.
(*) Disclaimer: I did contact Van Eaton Galleries after receiving the catalogs in order to ask them if they still have copies to sell, informing that I was writing a review. They answered that “both catalogs are currently still in stock.”