Vintage Animation Art Auction Features Lost Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny and More

Bugs Bunny and Other Classic Cartoon Characters Star in a Treasure Trove of “Lost” Vintage Animation Art for Sale at Heritage Auctions

Once-in-a-lifetime auction is December 14, 2019, with artwork displayed at Heritage Auctions in Beverly Hills, CA. Bidding opens November 25th. Follow this auction.

What is my Comic Book, Comic Art or Animation Art Worth? Find the value of animation art and comics. Generous cash advances are available when you consign your art to Heritage Auctions.

Collecting Animation Art

Bugs Bunny’s classic come-on line in countless cartoons was “What’s Up, Doc?’ Well, what’s up is perhaps the most important find of early 1940s animation art of all time. As most seasoned animation art collectors know, the vast majority of cartoon artwork from the archives of Warner Brothers Studios had been callously trashed around 1970, due to an accountant’s decision to free up warehouse space. At the time, few had any idea as far as what this material might be worth, or even who would want it. After all, production of Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon shorts had stopped by that time, and not many people had the foresight to realize these animation drawings, hand-painted cels, model sheets and other items used to create those wonderfully funny cartoons might actually be worth something someday.

Boy, were they ever wrong!

A resurgence in interest in collecting animation art has been steadily growing in recent years, in large part due to the success of Heritage Auctions in bringing long-held, never-before offered original artwork of this nature to the market. However, even with our stellar team of animation experts searching the world over for prize pieces, only a very few items from this important era of Warner Brothers art could be uncovered.

Norman Chaney Collection of Animation Art at Auction

Was there even anything left out there that had not already been offered for sale or locked away in private collections? Turns out the answer to that question was a resounding yes, all due to a former “gag man” and animator, Rev Chaney. Mr. Chaney worked for Warner’s cartoon division from 1937 until 1951, when he moved over to UPA Studios, home of Mr. Magoo. Mr. Chaney could see the historic value in items thrown away at the studio, and he routinely took home hand-painted cels, original penciled drawings, background paintings, and other production materials, which he carefully stored away. Now his son Norman has entrusted Heritage to bring these previously unseen items to the public.

“This Norman Chaney collection is one of the biggest finds in the hobby,” says animation historian Jerry Beck, author of many books on the subject, including The 50 Greatest Cartoons. “This is similar to finding the Maltese Falcon or Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers!” With the announcement of a series of all-new Looney Tunes cartoon shorts featuring Bugs and his comic cohorts, the popularity of these iconic characters is now reaching a fever pitch among fans.

bugs bunny animation art cel

Warner Brother Animation Art for Sale at Auction

  • Some of the cartoons represented by this stellar collection include the classic Bugs Bunny shorts Baseball Bugs (1946), Buckaroo Bugs (1944, featuring “Red Hot Ryder”), and Hare Ribbin’ (1944).
  • In addition, art featuring cartoon superstars Sylvester, Daffy Duck, Sniffles, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, and Mr. Magoo are included.
  • The directors of these beloved cartoons are almost as famous as the characters themselves, and include Robert Clampett, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones.

Buy Original Vintage Animation Artwork

This truly epic collection is to be offered by Heritage Auctions on December 13-15, 2019, with artwork to be displayed at the company’s Beverly Hills, California location. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own original vintage animation artwork that brought smiles to many generations of children and adults the world over! Browse animation art auctions.

Posted by David Tosh

David Tosh is a cataloger for the Animation Art department. He is also the author of Rise of the Superheroes: Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters and editor of the Eisner Award-nominated Walt Kelly’s Fables and Funnies. His most recent book is Jumbo Mumbo.

  1. I have a film canister from an old movie theater that contains “Rabbit Romeo” (1957,Tex Avery). Could you help me find a value for it or at least a direction to go in? Thank you!


    1. Altah,

      Thank you for your message. If you are interested in consignment or learning more about your items and would like to receive a free auction evaluation, please:
      – Submit a free auction evaluation:

      Or email us directly at .

      Thank you,
      Heritage Auctions


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