Monday, December 31, 2012

The Value of a Card/Poster Merbabies Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies.

TERRY MAURER, WHAT'S IT WORTH?  Damage always devalues a collectible object and sometimes damage can be so severe as to make an otherwise valuable thing worthless. On the other hand, there are occasions when less-than-stellar condition still leaves an item with good market value.
Such is the case in today's What's It Worth?, as we end the year by answering a reader's question about her unusual Walt Disney movie card.

                 Q. I purchased this Merbabies movie poster or lobby card at an antiques show recently. It is made of heavy cardboard and comes in two pieces. The total dimensions are about 46 by 24 inches. It is in pretty bad condition, with extensive rips and tears along the edges of each piece, a few big creases, plus damage to each of the four color photographs. Will it have any value to a collector? -- Ann in Pasco

                 A. Merbabies was a Walt Disney production and part of the studio's famous Silly Symphonies. These were a series of 75 animated short films made between 1929 and 1939. Merbabies, the 72nd film in the series, was released near the end of the run, in 1938.

Unlike the companion series of Mickey Mouse short films, Silly Symphonies generally did not feature continuing characters. But some famous Disney "stars" got their start in Silly Symphonies, including Donald Duck.

The Merbabies, as shown in the photo, were adorable little redheaded sea sprites who on film first came out of the crashing ocean surf and then proceeded to present a circus of sea creatures. It was released three years after the similar Water Babies short film.

Condition is pretty poor for this piece, and that certainly detracts from market value and potential collector interest.

That said, there is not a lot of Merbabies material out there in the market and these two pieces will still find willing buyers in the $50 to $100 range.

Some Merbabies items bring big money. At auction in 2011, a movie poster sold for $2,000 and in July of this year a piece of original background art -- a "cell" -- was sold for $5,000.

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