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Vast Disneyland collection scoops up US$8.3m at auction

An original Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride car sold for US$483,000, more than four times the pre-sale estimate, according to auctioneers Van Eaton Galleries.

Los Angeles

AN AUCTION of Disneyland theme park vehicles, props and artefacts that turned into a Los Angeles attraction in its own right raised more than US$8.3 million, organisers said on Monday.

An original Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride car sold for US$483,000 - more than four times the pre-sale estimate - while magician David Copperfield nabbed a neon letter "D" from the Disneyland hotel for US$86,250, auctioneers Van Eaton Galleries said.

The 900-item collection was so vast that organisers and collector Richard Kraft staged a "That's From Disneyland" public exhibit for the month of August in a former sporting goods store in suburban Los Angeles that was visited by tens of thousands of people. One couple even got married there.

Mr Kraft, a Hollywood agent, began collecting 25 years ago spurred by nostalgia for his visits with his late brother to Disneyland in southern California. He kept many of the items, including the Dumbo car, in his own home.

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"When I finally decided to let it go it became much more about throwing a grand Bon Voyage party to those magical artifacts than about making projections about their worth," Mr Kraft said in a statement after the two-day sale at the weekend. "I'm still in a state of shock that Dumbo, Jose the talking parrot and trash cans from Disneyland could make me feel as if I won the lottery."

Jose, an animatronic bird from the Tiki Room, sold for US$425,000 and the auction shattered several records for Disneyland posters and theme park signs. A Skyway gondola original vehicle from the 1950s, which sold for US$621,000, set a new auction record for a Disneyland ride, Van Eaton Galleries said.

Mr Kraft said he will donate a portion of the proceeds to two organisations benefiting children who, like his four-year-old daughter Daisy, suffer from the rare genetic disorder Coffin-Siris Syndrome, and other special needs. REUTERS

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