What Sells: Disney Items

Disney collecting is big business around the world; so big that on most online marketplaces there is an entire category devoted to “Disneyana” divided into pre- and post-1968 sections. In general, items that can be listed under pre-1968 are far more valuable than the more contemporary pieces of Disney memorabilia. But, for an avid collector seeking an item to complete their collection, the rarity of an item has as much, if not more, influence on its value than age.

Early Disneyana items can often be identified by the characters’ features. Mickey and Minnie were “pie-eyed;” their eyes were white ovals with black pupils. Each pupil had a “slice of pie” removed. Donald Duck also had a different appearance in the early days; his bill was much longer and pointier.

Some of the most popular contemporary Disneyana collectibles derive from Disney films. Contemporary figurines from the Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast are consistently in high demand. Supporting characters are often just as popular if not more popular for the avid collector looking to complete a collection.

What Sells

Top-selling items include:
  • Animation art (framed cels and production drawings)
  • Books, comics and records
  • Lithographs and prints
  • Theme park souvenirs (signs, programs, menus, etc.)
  • Toys, dolls and games
  • Vintage Mickey Mouse wristwatches
  • WDCC (Walt Disney Classics Collection) figurines, snow globes, etc.
  • Letters and other items signed by Walt Disney

Disney’s enduring popularity has led to the production of countless figurines, plates, clothing, jewelry and other goods; not all of which are valuable, however. It’s best to research each item online. Counterfeit merchandise manufactured in China is widely available at flea markets and over the Internet, so make sure that all collectibles you list for sale have been appraised or come with Certificates of Authenticity.

Research Resources

The Disneyana Exchange has thousands of Disney collectibles and animation art. You can search by movie title or character name. Visit the website at http://disneyanaexchange.com/.

Duckman’s Inside Report contains photos and information about the Walt Disney Classics Collection and other Disney Collectibles. Visit the website at http://www.wdccduckman.com/.


Look for the following signs of wear and tear:

  • Torn, ripped, creased or yellowed paper
  • Fading from sunlight
  • Chips, cracks and “crazing” (a web-like network of tiny, delicate cracks in the glaze)
  • Breaks that have been repaired (look for cracks and blobs of dried glue — even a well-done repair can lower the value of a piece)
  • Missing or broken parts
  • Dirt and fingerprints from being played with or displayed on a shelf
  • Spots and stains
  • Scratches on records
  • Odors, mold and mildew
  • Manufacturing defects (uneven glaze, blurred or double stamps)
  • Missing Certificate of Authenticity (COA) and box

When evaluating a Disney collectible, also look at factors that apply to all collectible items:

  • Rarity of the item and/or age
  • Packaging/Merchandising that accompanies the item (sometimes graded “mint in box”)
  • Regional interest (e.g. memorabilia from Disney World vs. Disney Land or Disney California Theme Park)
Key Details

Include these details in your listing:
  • Name of the character
  • Title of story or movie
  • Type of item (cel, figurine, watch, doll, etc.)
  • Name of theme park (WDW for Walt Disney World in FL, Disneyland in CA, etc.)
  • WDCC for Walt Disney Classics Collection items
  • Age (if known)
Storage and Shipment

Store items in a well-ventilated room, away from children, pets, smoke and cooking odors. Never place an item in direct sunlight; cover it with a sheet or better yet, keep the windows covered. Don’t place an item next to heating vents or air conditioners, either, since temperature/humidity changes can cause damage. Keep the item away from heavy traffic areas to avoid breaking or damaging the item.

If an item includes a case, place the item in the case, pack the case in bubble wrap and place it into a bed of packing peanuts for shipment. If the item does not include a case, make sure to use a new box and one that has as little extra space as possible to pack an item. But, the box should be large enough to allow for a cushion of protection for the item or items. Consider double boxing particularly fragile or valuable collectibles.

Wrap the item with bubble wrap with the bubbles facing toward the item and secure it with invisible tape. If you’re shipping multiple items, place the heavier items on the bottom or consider packing them in separate boxes. By packing items individually, you can provide a better cushion and prevent your box from losing strength due to excessive weight. Be sure to fill any extra space below and around the item with clean paper and/or packing peanuts. This will prevent the item from shifting during transport and it will provide extra protection. The size and delicacy of a Disney collectible can require special crating or shipping services. It’s best to determine the packing and shipping methods in advance and to include an estimate of the total shipping cost in your listing.

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