Antiques experts were stunned to discover a vintage Mickey Mouse toy that is nearly as old as the Disney character himself.
Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in Steamboat Willie on November 18, 1928, and the recently discovered toy, which has been languishing in a loft for decades, dates back to the 1930s.
Karl Martin, a valuer for Hansons Auctioneers, came across the toy, a Mickey Mouse wind-up handcar complete with key and original box, at a free valuation event at Uttoxeter Town Hall in Staffordshire – and couldn’t believe his eyes.
He said “This toy is nearly as old as Mickey himself. It must have been one of the first Mickey Mouse toys ever made to mark the Disney character’s popularity.
“A lady brought it along with a random collection of items to be valued and I knew straight away it was extra special. The vendor thought it was worthless.
“To find a toy like this in such good condition with its original Disney box is amazing – especially as global celebrations are under way to mark Mickey’s 90th birthday.”
The toy is due to be sold at Hansons Auctioneers, Heage Lane, Etwall, near Derby, on Friday, November 23, with an estimate of £200-£300.
“There are many people who would love to own this – including me,” said Mr Martin, a keen vintage toy collector who attended Mickey Mouse’s 75th birthday celebrations in Orlando, America. “This toy really does deserve to make its estimate and I would love to see it make more.”
The vendor, from Uttoxeter, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I was left the toy by my late uncle who was born in 1928 – the year Mickey Mouse was created.
“Apparently he was given the handcar when he was about seven years old but he was quite put out because he wanted a racing car set. Apparently, his friend got a racing car set and he used to go round to his house to play with it.
“That might be why the Mickey Mouse toy is still intact with its box and key – my uncle probably never played with it much. We did get it going once and the engine worked.
“I was surprised by the high valuation. We had other things we thought might be worth something but they weren’t. It just goes to show, you never know.”
The Mickey Mouse toy (Lot 6117) made by ‘Wells London by Permission of Walt Disney’, will be sold in Hansons Auctioneers Toy Auction on Friday, November 23 at their saleroom in Heage Lane, Etwall, near Derby.
Sitting on treasures? Hansons experts will be back at The Town Hall, High Street, Uttoxeter, on Wednesday, November 28, 11am-1pm, to do free valuations.