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Kim's Corner
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by Kim Petersen (archives)
September 25, 2001
Kim takes a detailed look back at the auction at the 2001 Official Disneyana Convention.

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Full-Contact-Merchandising - With a Disney Flair
Official Disneyana Convention Auction 2001

I’m always amazed by what people will choose to buy - what motivates their choice to buy it - and more importantly what they will eventually spend to acquire whatever that item is. There is no better place to watch the human drama that is the International Disneyana Collectables Marketplace than at the Official Disneyana Convention - held at the DLR the 3rd through the 11th of this month. Nowhere else in the entire world will you find so much "disposable" Disneyana income gathered in one place. And nowhere else will you find a diverse array of items designed to assimilate it - if anyone attending leaves with even $1, then someone in marketing didn’t do their job.

As the ODC began the exhilaration of the shoppers - ConventionEars - was matched only by the exhaustion of the DLR Special Events Merchandising staff whose job it was to keep them happy. This was not an easy task as the clientele that pays - between $1,000 and $3,000 - for the privilege of attending an orchestrated shopping spree is fairly high-end and very discriminating. The range of merchandise designed to tempt collectors and significantly lower bank balances was staggering - virtually every price point from the .51¢ elongated penny press to the million-dollar golden Mickey - was met - and exceeded.

In each of the other Official Disneyana Conventions I’ve attended - this was my 9th - the Auction has been the hallmark of expensive expenditure management - the most conspicuous of ConventionEars spend here - those with the most dispensable of incomes dispose of it here - it’s equal parts an extravagantly ostentatious overview of the Disneyana Marketplace and the heartfelt re-acquiring of select pieces of one’s childhood. For some, the items purchased will fill a space on the wall in the den above the couch as long as they "don’t clash with the wallpaper" - but for others - those items purchased will fill a place in their hearts. For some the pin set is already in pieces on e-Bay and for others the Autopia car is sitting in the garage with the family sedan.

As in years past those attending were free to cheer for each other (and against those "evil" phone bidders who buy but do not "belong") - cheerfully and craftily bid against each other - enjoy every nuance of the evening and celebrating all things Disney. The auction on September 6th was no different than any that come before - with the notable exception of the auction’s mascot Miss Disney Anna and the show that seems to follow her. The ODC team put together 65 lots that ranged from sculpture to paintings, from Disney Store props to theme park ride vehicles - from the theme parks - Disneyland Resort®, Walt Disney World Resort®, Tokyo Disneyland Resort®, Disneyland Paris Resort® to the Walt Disney Studios - WDCC to the Disney Catalog - items that could be purchased nowhere else in the marketplace.

It’s all about show - sadly lacking from this year’s auction - and it’s all about emotion - plenty of which could be found in this year’s auction. Were there some bargains? Yes. Did some off the prices surprise me? Always. Will some of this stuff end-up being auctioned yet again on the cyber market? I hope not, but probably. After a decade has the ODC Auction lost its audience? No, I don’t think so. Does the auction team need to take another look? Yes, if the item selection and the prices garnered were any indication, the auction needs a new eye and a new direction.

Sure the event reaped a bit more than $260,000 - not bad for an evening’s entertainment - but did it "pay"? Auctions are all about money - and Disney auctions are no different. The problems for any auction of any item arise when more money stays in the room than leaves it and there was a real buzz through the audience - about 15 lots in - that those who would shop weren’t. Sure some of the big spenders didn’t come to California preferring to spend the time and money at the WDW Resorts - but it was more. It was a tough crowd and the selection didn’t make it any easier.