First Draft of Steamboat Willie Offered for Sale at Auction

f16001dThe most historically important document in the long and extraordinary history of Disney animation will be offered for sale at auction by S/R Laboratories on October 24, 2016.

“The creation of Mickey Mouse and the release of “Steamboat Willie,” the first animated sound cartoon, not only saved the Disney Studio after the loss of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but singlehandedly gave animation itself, which had been showing serious signs of having outlived its novelty, a shot in the arm so powerful it saved the entire industry and propelled both it and Walt’s new star into one of the great forces of modern times,” said Ron Stark, director of S/R Laboratories Animation Art Conservation Center. The 40th Anniversary Commemorative auction catalog is available at

The draft that changed everything was created by Walt Disney himself, along with his friend and partner Ub Iwerks, in a single burst on Saturday, May 19, 1928, eighty-eight years ago. The trademark “Mickey Mouse” was recorded the next business day, Monday, May 21.

f16001aThe document they created that day, which includes sketches of Mickey and the eponymous steamboat, will be offered along with a notarized Statement of Authenticity by David Iwerks, Ub Iwerks’s son and the world’s principal authority on his father’s work; a letter from the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners authenticating the typewriter used for the document; a copy of the “Mickey Mouse” trademark search; and a bound dossier regarding the draft.

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“David Iwerks spent a considerable amount of time examining all the pages of the draft from every aspect, applying his first-hand knowledge of his father’s artistic style and thinking, as well as what he knows of the history of that time,” Stark said. “His conclusion was definitive: the draft and its drawings are unquestionably authentic.”

S/R Labs is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Lab Listings©, their twice-yearly animation art auction, is an eagerly awaited event for collectors worldwide. This fall will mark their 58th animation art auction.

For further information contact:
Juliann Stark


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