1928 Mickey Mouse Poster Sells for Over $100,000

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Mickey Mouse Poster

Mickey Mouse Poster

Believed to be the ear­li­est known poster of the world’s most famous mouse, a 1928 movie poster of Mickey Mouse sold Thurs­day for over $100,000, Dallas-based Her­itage Auc­tions announced.

Though it had been expected to bring at least $20,000, the poster ended up sell­ing for $101,575. The name of the win­ning bid­der was not released.

It came from the col­lec­tion of the late Crow­ell Havens Beech, a major movie poster col­lec­tor and dealer in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. The poster is con­sid­ered unique.

After buy­ing it nearly 25 years ago, Beech secreted the poster away from every­one — even his fam­ily,” Her­itage Auc­tions said.

In a state­ment, Grey Smith, direc­tor of movie poster auc­tions at Her­itage Auc­tions, called the poster “an impor­tant piece of pop cul­ture trea­sure.” He said that it prob­a­bly was the only Mickey Mouse poster made until 1930.

A poster for another Dis­ney car­toon — Alice’s Day At Sea, a 1924 Alice Com­edy by Walt Dis­ney for M.J. Win­kler Pro­duc­tions — was sold at Christie’s in Lon­don for the equiv­a­lent of $36,534 U.S. in April 1994. At the time, Guin­ness World Records said that this was the high­est price ever paid for a car­toon poster.

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About Paul Anderson

Paul is an old-timer here at BCDB- his contributions go back to before the site! Paul is widely regarded as a Disney historian, and is also on staff at the Disney Museum in San Francisco. Paul is also a contributing historian for D23, the Disney Club. Paul has published several books and magazine articles on Disney history, too. You are welcome to drop Paul a line here.

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One thought on “1928 Mickey Mouse Poster Sells for Over $100,000

  1. There is so much more to this story than what appears here. The bizarre chain of events that led to the poster’s sale involved an eccen­tric Cal­i­for­nia movie poster col­lec­tor, a thief, a New York City poster dealer and an alert poster expert work­ing in Dal­las for Her­itage Auctions.

    The poster was pur­chased in 1988 from the Steve Shapiro col­lec­tion by two movie poster col­lec­tors. 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 and their fam­i­lies of the exis­tence of the poster and of its location.

    Crow­ell died in 2008. After his death, Lor­raine decided to sell the bal­ance of their movie poster col­lec­tion. That’s when the fam­ily dis­cov­ered that Mickey was no longer in his hid­ing place. Lor­raine didn’t even know where Crow­ell had moved it to. Lor­raine con­tin­ued with the sale of their posters (sans Mickey) and used her and Crowell’s trusted friend Grey Smith. The fam­ily searched the house peri­od­i­cally for two years but could never locate it.

    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.

    The next leg of Mickey’s grand adven­ture began with a wild storm in Jan­u­ary of 2011. A neighbor’s tree top­pled 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 and other areas 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. It almost worked.

    Unfor­tu­nately for the handy­man, the New York dealer, who was an unwit­ting pur­chaser of the stolen art work, quickly put out word in the movie poster world that he had the poster for sale. That is when an alert Grey Smith learned that Mickey had been found and alerted Tracy and Lorraine.

    Lor­raine, with Tracy’s help, filed a police report with the City of Belvedere police depart­ment. The New York dealer was very coop­er­a­tive and pro­vided a copy of the check writ­ten for the pay­ment of the poster. That led to the arrest of the handy­man who later admit­ted to the theft and plead guilty in court.

    The New York City dealer quickly and gra­ciously turned Mickey over to her­itage Auc­tions for safe keeping.

    Crowell’s part­ner in the poster, Jose Car­pio, had died a few months after Crow­ell. 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 stay in hid­ing for another 25 years. More­over, she noted “It’s typ­i­cal for Mickey Mouse to have an adven­ture. And it all turned out right, just like it usu­ally does in the cartoons.”

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