Original Disneyland map could fetch US$900,000 at LA auction

Walt Disney's first map of his planned Disneyland theme park in Southern California is going up for sale, and could fetch US$900,000 (S$2.4 million).

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Walt Disney's first map of his planned Disneyland theme park in Southern California is going up for sale in June and could fetch up to US$900,000 (S$1.25 million), auctioneers said on Friday (June 2).

The 1953 map, hand-inked and hand-coloured, was created by Disney and artist Herb Ryman and used to present to investors in order to secure funding to build the first Disney theme park in Anaheim.

It clearly shows the layout of the park with the now iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle and railroad, and sections for Fantasy Land, Land of Tomorrow, and Frontier Land.

Disney's map has since passed down through employees and friends, and the current seller wishes to remain anonymous, auctioneers Van Eaton Galleries in Los Angeles said.

The map carries an estimate of US$700,000 to US$900,000 and will be the centerpiece of the June 25 auction.

Auctioneer co-owner Mike Van Eaton said the map was created over a single weekend. "It's a very important piece in Disneyland history," he said. "It's very similar to what it looks like now. Main Street is the same, Fantasy Land is very similar, the Rivers of America looks very much the same. Some things have been moved around, but the whole concept of the park was right there in 1953, two years before the park opened," he said.

The sale will include some 1,000 other Disneyland items, including an original ride car from the Autopia attraction (US$18,000 to US$20,000) and a rare 1955 opening day Disneyland guidebook signed by Walt Disney that is expected to sell for US$7,000 to US$9,000.

The map and many of the artifacts will be on public exhibition at Van Eaton Galleries from Friday until June 24.