Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, animation trove up for auction

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LOS ANGELES, May 23 (Reuters) - From Walt Disney's hand-signed Mickey Mouse doll to his animator's desk and chairs, a trove of the late animation entrepreneur's memorabilia will go up for auction next month and offers a glimpse into the origins of the "mouse house."

The "Collecting Disney" auction, held by Van Eaton Galleries on June 18 in Los Angeles, will offer more than 700 lots from the Disney archives, expected to fetch between $2 million and $3 million.

Among the items on sale, which are coming from the collections of private owners, is one of the first dolls ever made of the anthropomorphic Mickey Mouse, one foot signed by Disney and given as a gift to a woman, estimated to fetch between $50,000 and $70,000, said gallery owner Mike Van Eaton.

"This particular doll was given to woman that he drove an ambulance with in 1917 in World War One. A lifelong friend of his, he gave her one of his most cherished possessions and he signed it on the bottom in French dedicated to her," Van Eaton said.

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Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, animation trove up for auction
The Cinderella Castle. (Photo by Alexandros Voutsas, Alamy)
Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida, USA. (Photo via Getty Images)
Monorail and Geosphere at Epcot Center in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA. (Photo by Bill Brooks, Alamy)
Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Ilene MacDonald, Alamy)
Guests wait along Main Street USA for Mickey's 'Boo-To-You' Halloween Parade at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom on Friday, Sept. 18, 2015. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - SEPTEMBER 18: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, actress Melissa Joan Hart poses with Buzz Lightyear at Magic Kingdom park on September 18, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Hart vacationed with her family at Walt Disney World Resort. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - JULY 25: In this handout image provided by Disney Parks, Brian Willett (L) and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic rock and roll down Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom on July 25, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The 'I Lived' artists took a break from their tour to visit Walt Disney World Resort. (Photo by Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 12: General views of the Star Wars Weekend at Walt Disney World on June 12, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - APRIL 13: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming poses with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse at Magic Kingdom Park April 13, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Cumming, who turned 50 years old earlier this year, is celebrating his birthday with friends and family at Walt Disney World Resort. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, country music artist Luke Bryan poses with cowboy Goofy in front of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom on February 20, 2015 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Bryan visited the theme park with his family and friends during a break between the Orlando concerts on his 'That's My Kind of Night Tour 2015.' Magic Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. (Photo by Chloe Rice/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - DECEMBER 09: In this handout photo provided by Disney Parks, a view of the parade during the taping of the Disney Parks 'Frozen Christmas Celebration' TV Special in the Magic Kingdom Park at the Walt Disney World Resort on December 9, 2014 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The special will air on December 25, 2014. (Photo by Mark Ashman/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
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A set of furniture from Disney's office, designed by Kem Weber, is estimated to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000, while an original score of the first ever song written about Mickey Mouse is expected to fetch between $15,000 and $20,000.

Disney co-founded an animation studio in 1923, which eventually grew into a feature film production studio with films such as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Bambi" and "Cinderella." He died in 1966 aged 65.

The Walt Disney Company is now one of Hollywood's top players, producing live action and animated feature fare.

The auction is centered on the history of the Disney studio, Van Eaton said. The items will be exhibited ahead of the sale from May 25 through June 17 at the Van Eaton Galleries.

"It wasn't the films the made the studio so much, it was the merchandise, the marketing of the characters that really made Disney what it is today and that's what we're trying to show in this auction," Van Eaton said.

Other highlights from the sale include early original drawings of the first two Mickey Mouse cartoons, 1928's "Steamboat Willie" and 1929's "Plane Crazy," expected to fetch upwards of $4,000.

A program for the studio's first animated feature, 1937's "Snow White," signed by Disney and more than 50 staff members, is expected to fetch upwards of $5,000.

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