The Most Expensive Animations That Sold At Sotheby's 2020 Manga Auction

13 May 2020
Entertainment, Film, Anime, Cartoon, Osamu Tezuka Phoenix, My Neighbor Totoro, Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, Manga, SOTHEBY'S, Auction
Celebrating the history and impact of Japan's iconic cartoons

Despite the nostalgia-drenched cult fandom that both Anime and Manga enjoying, it probably doesn't get the credit it deserves down under for changing modern entertainment as we know it today. Many people's extent of knowledge on the art form probably extends to the works of Studio Ghibli or the re-runs of Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z that they used to watch on morning TV as a kid.

But this doesn't really do the industry justice. In fact, both Manga and Anime have been almost as influential on the wider realms of popular culture today as their western counterparts in comic books and the cartoons of the '80s and '90s. When films like My Neighbour Totoro and Akira, alongside TV shows like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon arrived on western shores towards the end of last millennium, they entirely changed the west's conceptions of what we could do with animation, not only making more adult-oriented, universally appealing storylines commonplace, but building some of the biggest narrative franchises in the history of modern media.

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And the impact has been massive. With their enduring, sprawling stories, franchises like Naruto and One Piece have accrued more modern readers than superheroes like Spider-Man and Captain America.

As such, Sotheby's chose to honour the Japan's esteemed animation industry with its Hong Kong-based Manga auction, "a selling exhibition with an exciting collection of unique drawings and original Animation Celluloid Pictures (cel-ga), presenting some of the most beloved characters from popular animation series" throughout anime's esteemed history. Consisting of coveted animation cells and drawings from the animators behind the works of Studio Ghibli, Pokemon, DBZ and Astro Boy, the auction's lots formed a treasure trove of frame-able collectibles for just about anyone who's ever had their heart stirred by a Japanese cartoon over the last 30 years.

These are the most valuable that were sold.

Astro Boy and Flying Horse, Signed by Osamu Tezuka and Original 1978 Calendar Cover

Estimate: $65,000 - $45,000 USD

Sale price: unknown

Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac opening scene animation cell by Toei Animation

Sale price: $48,000 USD

Dragon Ball Z Goku animation cell by Toei Animation

Sale price: $35,000 USD

One Piece Monkey D. Luffy animation cell by Toei Animation

Sale price: $35,000 USD

My Neighbor Totoro animation cell by Studio Ghibli

Sale price: $35,000 USD

My Neighbor Totoro animation cell by Studio Ghibli

Sale price: $35,000 USD

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Osamu Tezuka Phoenix Original Drawing

Sale price: $32,000 USD


Via GQ Australia