Wonderful World Art Gallery

Specializing in Animation Art and Pop Culture Fine Art!

Wonderful World Art Gallery

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Warner Bros.

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Limited Edition Comparison Page

Why our gallery recommends you make educated purchases!

If this page helps you in any way,
please let me know!

It is well-known in the animation art collecting world that I am not the biggest fan on limited editions. I just really love the original art. However, limited edition art is just perfect for some people's collections. As long as collectors understand what they are buying, WWA is delighted to help collectors acquire any art they like.

The purpose of collecting animation art is to enjoy the art you own. I think that part of enjoyment is knowing a certain amount about your pieces. When I receive phone calls from people who are confused or upset about what they own, having thought they owned orignal or vintage art, they most often leave the field of collecting, which is a shame. Informed collecting ensures that you will love your collection.

I realize the following comments may upset some people, but I have been a collector of original production animation art for a number of years and have very strong opinions on this subject. (Please see the end of this piece for instances when I would recommend a Limited).

I feel that original animation art is almost always better value for money if an original piece of art is available for a somewhat similar price. I think it's more fun and exciting to own a one-of-a-kind piece of art that was actually used in a cartoon. I do have a different opinion of those limiteds whereby the original is at a price much above a limited so that the original piece is just not an affordable option for some collectors. In this same line, I think the sericels are a good option for those that do not wish to spend US$5000 or so on a Bambi or Dumbo cel, etc. can have a cuter sericel for a few hundred dollars.

Also, I am concerned that the limited editions are no longer "limited" to just a few editions a year as they once were some years back. Disney is the most discriminating about their releases, but it seems that every time I turn around, there are more and more released on to the market- they don't appear very "limited" to me.

The studio stores tend not to sell the original animation art (there are exceptions) for the simple reason they no longer have them in their possession. Way back when, the studios destroyed a lot of art for various reasons.

If, after reading this, you still wish to buy a piece of Limited Edition art (I hesitate to call them "animation art" as they have not been created for, or used in an animated film, rather they resemble art that was), then I am glad that you took the time to educate yourself and make an informed choice! I think that educated collectors are happy collectors.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
So, take care, and happy collecting!

*Foremost, we recommend that you purchase a piece of animation art you love.
Before you buy, however, please make sure your decision is an educated one.
Here are some things you may wish to consider.


1) How limited are they?

Original Animation Art
Only one of its kind in the world. (Although others of the same sequence will look similar, you can't get any more limited than that!)

Limited Editions
Usually anywhere from 1 of 250 to 1 of 2500 (usual sizes of editions).Of course, there is no telling when or how many similar ones will be produced at a later date. The buyer has no protection that at any time the studio may release other limiteds of a similar nature. In fact, this has already been done in a few cases... ...If one looks at this from a simple economic supply/demand curve standpoint, if there is now two very similar editions of a Limited, then your limited edition is now in theory worth up to half as much as there are now twice as many available for other collectors to choose from (imagine the 1937 Snow White film being twice as long).

2) Why do they have value?

Original Animation Art
Each has appeared in an animated film, is unique, has value as an antique, and is limited in number at the most to the length of the film. The fact that not all original animation art has survived through the years further enhances its value. In addition, each piece was either hand-drawn by an animator, or hand-painted by a studio employee and used in the course of creating a film. The actual image you see on your video (for under the camera production cels) is a photograph of what you see on your wall. The price of any given character is determined by the market of all the animation buyers and sellers (much like the stock market).

Limited Editions
They have value because they are created by the studios and packaged for the "collectors' market", and are "limited" to editions from 250-2500. They are hand-painted reproductions of famous scenes, or are sometimes newly created ones that often depict sports scenes, or mix characters together that ordinarily would not appear together. Some collectors also quite like the beautiful color reproduction backgrounds that accompany the pieces as well. But, like anything, the more there are, the less they are worth in theory. The prices are determined by the studios and what they think they can sell them for.

3) Are they hand-painted?

Original Animation Art
Yes. By studio employees during the course of the production of the film.

Limited Editions
Yes. By studio employees or a freelance artist.

4) How do the prices compare?

Original Animation Art
Most of our pieces range from $50 - $10,000. The majority are in the $500-$3000 range. Drawings are generally 1/4- 1/6 the price of cels.

Limited Editions
Most pieces are between around $250 (sericel) and $5000 (Disney's Seven Dwarfs Ltd.). They generally run around $600-$1000+ for Warner Bros., $500-$2000+ for Hanna-Barbera, and $1500-$3000 + for Disney. An argument we've heard for purchasing Limiteds is, "It would be very expensive to find this pose in original animation..." This is sometimes, but not necessarily true. We suggest you explore all options before making your purchase. For example, we recently sold a one-of-a-kind Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty (1959) production cel for $4200, while the Disney Store sold a similar pose in a Limited Edition for $3400. I particularly have difficulty in seeing the logic of purchasing the limiteds of new series when it is relatively easy to acquire the original art at a very similar price- Batman (Fox version), Simpsons, Ren and Stimpy, Beavis and Butthead.

5) I love my pieces signed...

Original Animation Art
Some are signed, but not in abundance. It is sometimes possible to get a piece signed by some of the animators who are still alive.

Limited Editions
A good number of these are signed. If the signature is ALL that is important to you, then we suggest you first see if perhaps you can purchase a signed book, poster, etc which should be significantly cheaper. If that fails, then certainly explore purchasing an original or Limited Edition signed piece of art.

6) Are they a good investment?

We never recommend you buy a piece for investment. Just buy a piece you like and feel good about the price you pay. If someone tries to sell you a piece as an "investment" beware! If it's such a great investment, why aren't the salespeople keeping it for themselves???

Original Animation Art
It is important to realize that while no piece of art is ever guaranteed to increase in value- original art by virtue of its uniqueness is quite likely to either hold or increase its value over time. However, we strongly recommend you only buy art that appeals to you, and if it increases in value, all the better. Remember, this piece is going to be hanging in your home, so we think that you're best off buying something that you enjoy.

Limited Editions
We have not seen a strong secondary market for the Limiteds. Now, this does not mean that some of them will not increase in value, but it seems logical to assume that something that is one-of-a-kind, old and original will fare better than something that is 1 of 2500, new and reproduced.

*Cases where I do suggest you purchase a limited (can you believe it?!)*

a) You have educated yourself as to what it is, and its relative value and still wish to purchase it.

b) You absolutely love the piece.

c) The original art is virtually non-existant, or extremely comparitively expensive. For example: Rocky & Bullwinkle, Queen from Snow White, Blue Fairy from Pinocchio.

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