Early Walt Disney Drawing to Be Auctioned Off This Week

10:30 PM PST 11/27/2011 by THR Staff
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Walt Disney in 1950

The autographed illustration, believed to have been made around 1920, before he hit it big, is valued at $35,000 to $50,000 and thought to predate Mickey Mouse.

An original, autographed drawing by Walt Disney, believed to have been made around 1920, will go up for auction this week in Reno, Nev.

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.

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Titled "Fill Up My Can," the illustration has an estimated value of $35,000 to $50,000. It was made before Disney hit it big in the entertainment world and is believed to predate his Mickey Mouse, which made its cartoon debut in 1928.

"Real pieces signed by him (Disney) are really rare," Fred Holabird of Reno-based Holabird-Kagin Americana, which is staging the auction, told the Associated Press. "This is one of the earliest known signed Disney pieces, if not the earliest."

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The drawing was once owned by Disney's sister, Ruth Disney.

Among the other items 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.

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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 Associated Press contributed to this report.

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