Animated cartoons have formed a large part of many childhoods. From Saturday morning cartoons to today's computer-animated blockbusters, the art form has been entertaining and inspiring people for generations. While modern day cartoons run the gamut and even appeal largely to adults, the big names, such as Walt Disney and Warner Bros., tend to dominate most people's view of what animation means, but in fact the history of the form stretches far into the past, centuries before even film was invented.
Animation before film
Early forms of animation came from mechanical devices. The first known example of animation was the magic lantern, a device that could project images onto the wall of a dark room using a candle. When innovators added moving slides to the translucent images being projected, they turned the contraption into the world's first animation projector. Even more astonishing than the clever way that its inventors coaxed animation from such simple concepts is when the magic lantern was used. The earliest known examples of the strange device date back to the 17th century.
The first cartoons
Modern animation was born in 1908, when "Fantasmagorie," which is widely considered to be the first animated film, was released. The bizarre animation comprised scenes of a simple drawn figure interacting with transforming shapes and objects. Many other cartoons followed in this vein, each little more than an experiment in a new medium. In 1914, Winsor McCay produced an animation called "Gertie the Dinosaur," which set a new standard for the craft.
Gertie, the film's titular heroine, was invested with a personality, rather than just moving through a series of unrelated scenes. McCay was a showman first and foremost, and he set up screenings of his work so that he could interact with the onscreen Gertie, starting the show with a whip crack and speaking to the dinosaur at various points in the story. Though Gertie secured McCay's place in the history of film, in popular culture he is best remembered for his newspaper comic, "Little Nemo," which itself was a genre-defining work.
Major studio debuts
Though "Gertie the Dinosaur" still holds up from a technical standpoint, with its smooth animation and attention to detail, the art form would not reach its full potential for about another decade. When Walt Disney opened his studio in 1923, he was likely unaware that he would change the course of an entire medium. Disney's films were like nothing seen before, with well-developed characters, lush illustrations and moving storylines. As early as 1928, Disney's "Steamboat Willie" short brought him success, but it was in 1937, with the release of the first animated feature film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," that Disney became a household name.
While Disney and the animators at his studio turned their attention to features, the artists at Warner Bros. Cartoons focused on mastering the short. The iconic characters that they created, most famously Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, were quick-witted and often violent, while Disney's characters tended to be more innocent and kind-hearted. This divide between children's cartoons and those with a more adult, satirical bent, still informs the animation being created today.
This August, a vast collection of animation art is available for bid. From the birth of the animated film to the modern cartoon, the nearly 500-piece lot charts the evolution of a fascinating medium.
Taking place in 1945, near the end of the Pacific War, the Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most important conflicts between the U.S. and Japan during World War II. It has also become one of the most famous battles of the war, due in part to the well-known photograph, "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima."
The Battle of Iwo Jima
Just 700 miles from Tokyo, Iwo Jima represented an important step in the U.S. military's progress toward Japan. Due to the island's proximity to the mainland, Japanese defenders fought especially fiercely during the battle for the territory. In fact, the fight to secure the island was the only battle fought by the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II that saw more casualties on the American side than the Japanese side. Nearly 7,000 American troops were killed and almost 20,000 more were wounded, for a total of around 26,000 casualties to Japan's nearly 22,000.
Despite the resistance put up by the island's defenders, the U.S. was able to capture it after a long battle. On February 23, more than a month before Iwo Jima was officially captured, two flag raisings occurred that are said to have galvanized American troops and would later serve as a symbol for the battle, the war and the U.S. Marine Corps. The first took place at 10:20 that morning. Troops were dispatched to climb the 546-foot Mount Suribachi and plant a flag on top. They were successful and Sargeant Lou Lowery captured an image of the flag being raised before Japanese fighters drove him off. The raising of the flag was said to have inspired the troops weary from battle below.
Two flags raised on the island
That same afternoon, a second patrol was sent to claim the mountain with a larger flag. Again succeeding in their mission, the six men who hoisted the flag were photographed by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press in what has become one of the most iconic images of all time. Unfortunately, not all of the men in the photo would make it off the island. Cpl. Harlon Block, Pfc. Franklin Sousley and Sgt. Michael Strank were killed before the Battle of Iwo Jima ended.
The three living servicemen, Navy Pharmacist's Mate John Bradley, Cpl. Rene Gagnon and Cpl. Ira Hayes, returned home as heroes. An illustration based on Rosenthal's photo of the men would be used to advertise the 7th War Loan campaign, which raised more money for the war effort – $7 billion – than any other loan drive.
After seeing the photograph, Felix de Weldon was inspired to create a sculpture of it. The three surviving men who helped raise the flag posed for the sculpture and photographs of the men who had been killed in action were used to ensure that they were modeled properly. Once Weldon's work was done, it took nearly three years to create a cast of the sculpture. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower dedicated the statue as the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.
Part of military history
A rare color print of the Iwo Jima flag-raising photograph is now up for auction. Signed by the three men who helped to raise the flag and survived the Battle of Iwo Jima, the photo is a one-of-a-kind item. This unique piece of signed memorabilia is in good condition, with some fading to its color. Small creases and tears also appear on the top edge of the photograph, which could be matted out.
Bidding on this historical item is open now through July 16 at RR Auction.
Paul Revere is best known for the famed midnight ride that he took to alert the American colonies of the arrival of the British Army. However, the alarm-raising journey was far from his first contribution to colonial life. Revere had many talents and many vocations during his life, including dentistry and copper plate engraving, and he even founded the nation's first intelligence agency.
But Revere's primary trade was silversmithing, and to this day his work remains some of the most sough-after silver in the world. Some of Revere's pieces can be found in museum collections, including the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
Revere was able to infuse his revolutionary spirit even into some of his silverwork. His Sons of Liberty Bowl, currently held by the Boston MFA, was created in honor of the 92 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who supported a protest of the Townshend Act by colonists. The act put a new tax on many commodities, most famously tea. Its enactment and the outrage that it sparked are seen today as major contributors to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.
While the Sons of Liberty Bowl was both a political statement and a decorative piece, much of Revere's work was more practical. As he made his living crafting silverware, most of his income came from custom work commissioned by other colonists. Now, a spoon crafted by Paul Revere is up for auction. Originally created for Daniel and Mary Turner Sargent, a successful merchant couple, the handcrafted tablespoon bears the monogram DMS, standing for the couple, and Revere's own name stamped on the reverse side. The spoon was originally commissioned in August of 1783, just one week before the Revolutionary War ended with the singing of the Treaty of Paris.
After the war, Revere found success in business, opening a hardware store and a foundry, among other enterprises. Throughout his post-war career, Revere crafted over 900 church bells, one of which is still contained in the tower of King's Chapel in Boston. Also in the city is the USS Constitution, for which Revere contributed materials.
Before the auction, this piece belonged to George Gebelstein's collection of historical artifacts. Gebelein was an admirer of Revere's work and an accomplished silversmith himself. Some of Gebelein's own work is also housed by the Boston MFA.
Bids on Revere's spoon are being accepted now through July 16 at RR Auction.
There is one series of eight portraits that connect three illustrious names: Arnold Friberg, one of the most acclaimed artists in the 20th century; Charlton Heston, one of Hollywood's most legendary stars; and Cecil B. DeMille, a forward-thinking filmmaker. Those paintings had never been published or disclosed to the public – until now.
After being discovered Jan. 23, it was determined that these were indeed the work of Friberg for the epic movie "The Ten Commandments", causing the worth of this art to surge. Now, interest in these unsigned paintings is rising – and it's no surprise. This series played a key role in the development of the Oscar-winning film, which mainly covers the life of Moses.
A distinctive artist
From the calligraphy in the captions to the choice of colors and stylistic brush strokes, it's immediately apparent that these portraits are the work of Friberg. And because of the significance they played in "The Ten Commandments," as well as their link to such a renowned artist, they are no doubt one of the most important artistic discoveries as of late. Friberg's illustrations can be found in the Book of Mormon, and his patriotic panting "Prayer at Valley Forge" is immediately recognizable by many Americans.
He had quite a career in the film realm, as well. DeMille selected Friberg to be the costume designer for his highly anticipated Technicolor remake of "The Ten Commandments." The director was so impressed by his artistic attention to detail as well as his character, that he employed Friberg to stay involved on set throughout the four years that it took to produce the film. Soon, he became a key consultant for DeMille, with the director asking for his opinions and artistic visions for certain scenes.
Another one of Friberg's core duties was to draw up portraits of all the lead and supporting actors, in costume. While DeMille was remaking this motion picture, he depended on these portraits in filming many crucial scenes. Most importantly, he was tasked with imagining and developing portraits of Moses, played by Charlton Heston, as he aged throughout the film. From the skin on his face to his hair and beard, it was imperative that this character show how both time and experience altered his appearance.
As a result, Friberg painted eight portraits that portrayed this gradual transformation in this "The Ten Commandments" memorabilia up for bid. Included were Moses working as a slave in the brick pits, Moses at Jethro's Well in Midian, Moses with Sephora in the land of Midian, Moses before seeing the burning bush, Moses after Seeing the Burning Bush, Moses at the crossing of the Red Sea, Moses seeing the orgy of the golden calf and Moses ascending to immortality on Mount Nebo. These portraits helped to guide all of the makeup artists decisions for Heston.
Now, fans of the iconic artist, actor or director have an uncommon opportunity to own this set of original Friberg paintings, which has ties to some of the biggest talents in entertainment. Interested bidders are welcome to see the series for themselves by setting up an appointment at the RR Auction Boston gallery. Otherwise, the live auction for this movie memorabilia starts July 19 at 1 p.m.
Manny's Music near Times Square is now nothing but a distant memory for music fans, but it remains in the minds of many as the heart and soul of the New York City music scene. Throughout the '60s, '70s and '80s, a number of top artists frequented this musical instrument store, including Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In fact, over the course of the shop's 70 years of business, many famous rock stars flocked to Manny's for their guitars, some before they even became famous.
Another singer who happened to stop there was none other than Janis Joplin.
The Queen of Psychedelic Soul
Joplin is one artist that has truly stood the test of time. Her uniquely husky yet high-range voice is instantly recognizable, as is her ability to infuse explosive feeling into every word of her songs. From country and blues to rock and gospel, Joplin seamlessly mastered a multitude of genres, showing that she was as versatile as she was talented. It's no surprise, then, that she made Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time as well as the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and awarded a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005, further solidifying her status as a music icon. More recently, it was announced that she would join legends like Jimi Hendrix in the U.S. Postal Service's Music Icons series of honorary stamps.
A scarce and striking photo
Considering the cultural significance that both Joplin and Manny's Music hold, it goes without saying that an autographed photo for bid of her dedicated to the establishment is a valuable find. This glossy 8 inch by 10 inch publicity image features Joplin sitting on a stool, smiling, in her signature eccentric attire. She inscribed the photo with a blue felt tip marker, "To Manny's Musik, Love, Janis Joplin," along with a small heart. Despite minor binder dings on the edge, spots on the background, moderate toning and light surface marks, this signed Janis Joplin photo for bid is in very good condition. This music memorabilia isn't just scarce because of its subject and autograph, either – signed images in this large size are difficult to come by.
Joplin fans who are interested in owning this piece of pop history can place their bids now through July 16 at RR Auction.
The love story between Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler is without a doubt one of the most well-known, well-loved American romances of our time – and we have Margaret Mitchell to thank for the epic tale. As the author behind the Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel "Gone with the Wind," she wove a story that perfectly represents an era – and yet has managed to stay relevant throughout the years. The novel was adapted into a critically acclaimed film in 1939, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. Since then, viewers continue to be enchanted by the epic narrative, engrossing plot and distinctly passionate but relatable characters.
As Mitchell died at just 49 years old, there are limited interviews and minimal information about her process in penning this novel. However, in the time span directly after "Gone with the Wind" was published, the writer did keep up a correspondence for several years with a fan in Montgomery County named Mrs. Harold Jennings. In this exchange, she offered a deeper look into her development of the story. Very little is known about the recipient. Regardless, this signed memorabilia for bid is certainly a sought-after addition to any fan or literary enthusiast's collection.
So what does Mitchell explain in these exchanges?
For one, she admits that Ashley Wilkes was one of the most challenging characters to capture on paper, due to his complex nature. She also said she "had every detail" of the narrative planned out before she even composed "a single word on paper." Beyond the ending, though, she didn't have a clue what would happen to the characters.
"Whether or not Rhett came back to his wife, well, you have me out on a limb," Mitchell wrote in November 1936. "You see, I do not know myself. I honestly never thought about what happened to the characters after the book ended."
Mitchell also revealed to her pen pal that she not only had no plans for a sequel to the novel, but was also planning on putting her writing to rest altogether – saying "I do not like to write."
A special collection
This array of six one-page letters, which mainly discuss the book and the status of the impending film, were part of an online auction that ran June 19 – 26. The scrapbook came with supplementary materials, including an informational booklet about the author and award-winning book, an unsigned 1938 Christmas card featuring an envelope in Mitchell's hand, and a five-page typed transcript of a 1936 radio interview, the envelope of which Mitchell wrote her return address on.
Remarkably, "Gone with the Wind" was indeed the first and last novel Mitchell ever penned. Still, it made for an illustrious career. Mitchell was instantly launched to international fame. She even went on to win the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel in 1936.
Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of the firm,commented on the rarity of the Mitchell material.
"This is the first time this has been on the market," he told Philly.com. "The correspondence builds."
Unsurprisingly, the auction item sold for an impressive $14,087.
When it comes to consigning, RR Auction has a major advantage. With over 30 years experience selling noteworthy items ranging from music memorabilia to historical documents, the company has gained a worldwide reputation for setting record prices in over 425 sales. From a set of Bonnie and Clyde's guns, which sold for over $500,000, to President JFK's 1963 convertible for $318,000, each of the items that passes through RR Auction fetches a jaw-dropping amount, and not just because items are hand-selected for their historical significance and authenticity – but also because the experts are dedicated to guaranteeing sellers get what they deserve.
The partnership created with RR Auction clients is unique. Owner Bob Eaton noted that the company mission is to "make history selling history" in all online auctions and it's a goal that the staff here is dedicated to achieving via professional presentation of the material in an award-winning color catalog, consultations with expert authenticators and a high level of personal attention. So it's no surprise that many clients will attest to the positive experiences they've had in the selling process.
In fact, Earl Davis insisted that he trusted RR Auction employees right off the bat, and Larry Rafferty called the firm both the best and easiest auction house to consign with. Why? Because RR Auction offers an up-front analysis about the authenticity and condition of the item, as well as a reasonable estimate of what it will achieve. Not to mention, Rafferty emphasized that clients receive timely, scheduled payments.
What truly sets RR Auction apart, though, is the intensive but complimentary authentication process, which gives clients the peace of mind of having a 100 percent lifetime guarantee on the authenticity of their items.
Moreover, RR Auction has garnered a number of credentials for their commitment to excellence, including membership in the National Auctioneers Association, Universal Autograph Collectors Club and The Manuscript Society.
RR Auction is bent on making every single sale a success. If you have a rare and remarkable item you'd like to consign, contact our experts toll free at (800) 937-3880, or Internationally at +1 (603) 732-4280.
Do you have a rare and remarkable item? You may be surprised by how much it's worth.
The process of consigning your piece through RR Auction is surprisingly simple. In fact, it's been designed to take the effort and pressure off the seller: while we do the work to get the highest price possible for your product, you reap the reward of timely and prompt scheduled payments.
Here's what you need to know.
Will RR Auction offer my collectables?
We accept pieces from a wide variety of collector categories.
Autographed memorabilia could contain signatures of presidents, legendary Hollywood actors, important military, aviation or space figures, iconic musicians or athletes. We also welcome a variety of formats. Photos, letters, and historical documents are all acceptable, as are album pages and books. Even signed sports uniforms and equipment are sellable, as well as posters, lithographs and any matted or framed pieces.
In terms of artifacts, we accept everything from flown Apollo items to historically significant artwork or letters, photographs or sheet music. The bottom line is, your piece should be noteworthy. RR Auction has sold a wide range of items, including a pair of guns from "Bonnie and Clyde" and President JFK's '63 convertible.
Unfortunately, we cannot accept autographs of contemporary Hollywood actors and actresses. If you have unsolicited material, it's best to run it by us with more information before sending the item in.
How do I get started?
Start by sending us images of your items. The more important details you can reveal, including the condition, size and provenance history, the more accurately we can appraise them for you.
Once our experts review the details, they will provide an initial appraisal with an estimated value of the items. The RR Auction team will work closely with you to confirm the authenticity.
If your items are selected, you can mail them to us. Then, our team will conduct thorough research of those pieces. Professional writers and photographers will work to create content that generates excitement for our online catalog as well as our monthly award-winning print color catalog, all the while gaining your input in the process. Within roughly 45 days of receiving the items, they will be up for auction.
Meanwhile, the PR team spreads worldwide media attention on those auction items to attract ideal bidders. You'll be able to log in to the My Consignment System and track the progress of the sale. When the bidding is complete, RR Auction collects the payment on your behalf and ships the item to the winning bidder. Finally, you'll get paid promptly.
Sounds interesting, what now?
The first step is to get in touch with our Consignment Department. You can call toll-free at (800) 937-3880 or Internationally at +1 (603) 732-4280.
If you'd prefer to email our consignment experts, be sure to include your name, mailing address, a phone number you can be reached at and a partial list of the items you wish to sell, along with any accompanying images.
You could say that Raleigh DeGeer Amyx is a professional American collector – and a legendary one at that. Over the years, he has acquired a number of remarkable presidential, military, Americana, NASA and Olympic artifacts. He began collecting these pieces at a young age – and in fact, had his first museum of World War II battlefield relics, stamps, fossils and coins, at just 7 years old. He continued to acquire these relics in hopes of preserving them through the generations for future studies. Now, his own authentication and appraising of historically important items has allowed him to work closely with the White House as a consultant, and in 1957, he was even employed by the FBI as messenger to director J. Edgar Hoover.
So it goes without saying that a presidential relic for bid from Amyx’s internationally renowned collection will generate substantial interest.
A critical moment
Luxe details and strong significance
For further authenticity, the hat also comes with a letter of provenance on White House stationary from Mildred Prettyman, whose late husband Arthur S. Prettyman served as the president’s personal valet from 1939 until his death in 1945. In the full-page letter, she details the close bond that her husband had with FDR, explaining that Roosevelt once told his valets “You are my lifeline, the keeper of my keys,” referring to the secrets that he had divulged to them. Prettyman also noted that the president didn’t just wear this hat at his inauguration, he also donned it at special dinners, receptions and other formal occasions.
Interested collectors can find this historical artifact for bid through RR Auction Sept. 17 at the Omni Parker House in Boston.
Franklin D. Roosevelt holds a special place in political history. As the 32nd president of the United States, he served a record-setting four terms in office. Moreover, he was the first president with a major physical disability. While his crippling disease certainly posed challenges to his career and life in general, dealing with those difficulties also played a major role in molding his character.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” he once stated, as quoted by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. “You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’”
Roosevelt was fitted with steel leg braces upon leaving Presbyterian Hospital. Despite some improvements after physical therapy and exercise, the president would never walk again without assistance, though he was determined to.
Few images exist of Roosevelt in his wheelchair or braces, as much effort was taken to prevent him from being photographed in a disabled state to protect his reputation. That’s why new footage from 1937 showing the paralyzed president attempting to walk, which was recently donated to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, generated substantial buzz. In the video, which was shot by the Washington Senators pitcher James “Jimmie” DeShong, Roosevelt’s legs are fitted with braces and he holds onto a handrail for support while ascending a ramp at Washington, D.C.’s Griffith Stadium during a Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Footage like this is so hard to come by that acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns is going to include it in his yet-to-be-released documentary, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” which will air on PBS September 14, 2014.
“Any film of him struggling to get from one place to another is extremely rare, as the Secret Service either prohibited or confiscated cameras whenever FDR was making an attempt to propel himself from his car to anywhere else,” said Burns. “The President wanted to minimize the public’s knowledge of the devastating effects polio had had on him – he was completely paralyzed from the waist down and he could not walk without the aid of a cane and braces on both legs. The press in those days complied with his request not to be filmed.”
Dedication to an ancient craft
This rare picture captures both elements of Roosevelt’s life. The matte-finish 10 x 8 photograph shows the president seated in a chair, his leg braces visible, surrounded by three men of the the MOVPAR organization, an appendant body of Freemasonry, all wearing the iconic Tri Po Bed-embroidered fezzes. What truly makes the photograph unique, however, is that it has been signed in fountain pen by Roosevelt himself in the lower border. Professionally inlaid with retouched borders, the presidential autograph is still clearly visible inside the frame, while all other signatures in the lower border have been concealed. Aside from a few corner creases and surface marks, the photograph, which has been professionally cleaned, is in remarkably good condition.
Bidding for this historically significant letter, as well as other remarkable autographed memorabilia, begins May 23, and ends June 18, 2014 at RR Auction.
FDR’s fight: A signed photo of polio-stricken President Roosevelt