Original production cels are one-of-a-kind pieces of art that were used in the creation of an animated film or television show. Each has been hand-painted by studio artists on a piece of celluloid acetate, and has been photographed over a background painting to create a frame of the finished production.
Production cels are highly sought after by animation fans and collectors, with very rare pieces from the early days of animation fetching prices in the tens, and even the hundreds of thousands of dollars. See Why So Few Vintage Cels Have Survived for more information on the rarity of early production cels.
Production cels from the 1980’s and 90’s are available at considerably lower expense, but the move to computerized animation has severely curtailed the supply of new production artwork in the market, and has put upward pressure on prices of what is still available.
Production cels from the same film, or even the same scene, can have significantly different values depending on their desirability. Factors influencing value include which character(s) are visible, their size, facial expressions and much more.
Animation art fans and collectors approach the purchase of original production cels in many different ways. Some focus on a particular character, television show, or film while other seek a wide variety of cherished memories. Some prefer cels with multiple characters while others prefer larger, single character portrait-style cels. One regular client of ours simply says he buys whatever makes him laugh.
Whatever your taste, and whatever your budget, an original production cel is a wonderful way to own and display a “moment in time” from a film, a show, or a character that you love.