RENO, Nevada — An original, autographed drawing by Walt Disney, believed to have been made about 1920 before he hit it big in the entertainment world, will go up for auction in Reno this week.
The whimsical drawing of a cigar-chomping man wearing a derby hat will be among 1,400 items up for sale at the two-day auction set to begin Tuesday at the Atlantis Casino Resort.
Titled “Fill Up My Can,” the illustration has an estimated value of $35,000 to $50,000. It’s believed to predate Disney’s Mickey Mouse, which made its cartoon debut in 1928.
“Real pieces signed by him (Disney) are really rare,” said Fred Holabird of Reno-based Holabird-Kagin Americana, which is staging the auction. “This is one of the earliest known signed Disney pieces, if not the earliest.”
The drawing was once owned by Disney’s sister, Ruth Disney.
Also up for auction is what’s billed as the “first and possibly only known copy” in private hands of the original Nevada Black Book, which features names, information and photos of about a dozen people barred from entering Nevada casinos.
The 11-page book includes mobster Sam Giancana, whose presence at Frank Sinatra’s Cal-Neva hotel-casino at Lake Tahoe prompted revocation of the singer’s gambling license in the early 1960s.
The book was made by the Nevada Gaming Commission about 1960, and was owned by the state’s first gambling officer.
“It represents the first effort to keep illegal people out of Nevada casinos. It’s a big step in the way we did business in Nevada,” Holabird said, adding the book is expected to fetch up to $5,000.
Also drawing interest is a unique $50 gold coin struck during the California Gold Rush. It’s estimated to be worth from $135,000 to $175,000.
“It’s the best piece in the auction,” Holabird said. “It’s one of the first $50 gold coins Augustus Humbert struck when he was appointed U.S. assayer in San Francisco in 1851.”
Also up for auction are collections of Old West photos and Mustang Ranch brothel memorabilia.