November 28, 2011 - 2:00 am
RENO — An original, autographed drawing by Walt Disney, thought to have been made about 1920 before he hit it big in the entertainment world, will go up for auction in Reno this week.
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.
Titled “Fill Up My Can,” the illustration has an estimated value of $35,000 to $50,000. It’s thought to predate Disney’s Mickey Mouse, which debuted in 1928.
“Real pieces signed by him (Disney) are really rare,” said Fred Holabird of Reno-based Holabird-Kagin Americana, which is staging the auction. “This is one of the earliest known signed Disney pieces, if not the earliest.”
The drawing was once owned by Disney’s sister, Ruth Disney.
Also 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.
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.
Also drawing interest is a unique $50 gold coin struck during the California Gold Rush. It’s estimated to be worth from $135,000 to $175,000.