.Anyone who is familiar with our blog will know that Disney collecting has taken the world by storm. The mammoth world of Disney collectables is now comprised of millions of products, available in almost every country of the world. Every day, thousands of people shop online, at Disney Parks, and at stores all over the world who stock Disney products, buying brand new clothes, toys, DVDs and more – all of which are related to Disney films, or which depict their favorite characters in the Disney franchise. Over the past year, we have been lucky enough to interview many Disney collectors who have beautiful modern collections. However, this week, we have been lucky enough to speak with the owner of an amazing, vintage collection of Disney products which is unlike anything we have ever seen.
Luis, lives in Lisbon, Portugal where he works as a banker, but moonlights as a die-hard Disnerd. Luis shares his home with with his dog named Joca, and his astonishing collection of vintage Disney products.
“My first Disney memory was seeing ‘Sleeping Beauty’ in the cinema. I was around 4-5 years old and became completely fascinated.”
For the Love of Vintage Disney
Luis’ love for classic Disney is at the heart of his passion for vintage collecting:
“Since I was a little kid, I have Loved Disney animation. My parents took me to the cinema to see every classical Disney movie – Pinocchio, Snow White, Dumbo, Fantasia, Sleeping Beauty. Every Christmas, my Father’s workplace would throw a Christmas party where we would watch Disney ‘shorts’ with all of my favorite Disney characters.”
After Walt Disney relocated to Los Angeles to launch the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio (later renamed to Walt Disney Studios), several cinema-quality films were released before Roy Disney ultimately suggested that the company move through to television. Luis was raised on these classic Disney films:
“My school had a cinema where we would sometimes see films and cartoons, a lot of which were Disney. Those days (40 years ago), we didn’t have any way of watching Disney at home (No VHS or DVDS) so every time we went to cinema it was like a party for me. I was very influenced by Disney. It is like a part of myself. Out of this came my passion for Disney items from the 1930s and 40s.”
The launch of the Mickey Mouse Club produced millions of Disney fans worldwide, and the response was so overwhelming that Disney was soon producing lines of merchandise to be sold in stores. From the early 1930s onward, popular characters such as Clarabelle, Pete, Pluto and Goofy were made into figurines, cloth dolls, toys, lunchboxes and much more. It is these items which Luis has devoted his life to collecting:
"My real passion are Disney Memorabilia from 1920s to 1960s - the ones Walt Disney himself approved. I fill quite privileged to already have a few of these pieces in my collection."
While Luis’ true passion lies in Disney items from this era, Luis is also attracted to pieces which are styled in the same era, or which harken back to those old Hollywood roots:
“Sometimes When I go to Parks and there is an item that reminds me of the1930s era. Even though it is brand new, I buy it because it fits with my collection.”
Luis’ collection started back when he was a young teenager, purchasing Disney books to take home and read, but it wasn’t until 2009 that he made a serious commitment to collecting:
“My first piece was an Arribas brothers Mickey Mouse Statue from the 1939 short “Brave Little Tailor”. The statue represents a specific moment from the short itself.”
This piece which contains Swarovski crystals is an example of one of Luis’ modern pieces, which echoes the era in which Luis finds his passion.
Luis’ favorite piece, however, is his 1934 Mickey Mouse Hand Car, which he has in its original box.
The piece, which is made from tin and has a wind-up function, was manufactured by the Lionel Corporation which was saved from bankruptcy by these themed handcar sets. Earlier in the same year these handcars were produced, Lionel went into receivership following the gruelling effects of the Great Depression. Two months later, Disney pitched the idea of a wind-up handcar to Lionel, and within four months, the company had sold over quarter of a million units. The toy, which saved the company from insolvency, is among the pieces which Luis now owns – a small piece of Disney history from the time in which Walt was still alive.
Luis also collects DVDs and Blue Rays of his favorite Classic Disney films, including the Disney Treasures collection, the Limited Tin Case Editions of ‘Mickey’, ‘Donald’, ‘Goofy,’ and ‘Pluto,’ as well as compilation DVDs such as ‘Silly Symphonies’. In addition, Luis collects Disney Trading Pins from the Disney parks, as well as Disney books including some rare titles such as “Uncle Scrooge McDuck” by Carl Banks.
Carl Barks was a prominent American cartoonist who rose to fame for his work with the Walt Disney Company and the production of his Donald Duck comics. Barks is responsible for the creation of many prominent characters including Scrooge McDuck. Among Luis’ books by Carl Barks, are some lithographic prints, signed by Barks himself.
A Disney Life
A Disney Life
As well as collecting vintage Disney toys, Luis also makes it his mission to experience everything Disney on the planet:
“I have been to Disneyland, Euro Disney, Disneyworld, Disney on Ice and more. I have also been to Tokyo Disneyland and in a few months I will see The Lion King and Aladdin musicals. The only parks that I’m still missing are the ones in China (Hong Kong and Shangai Disneyland)...but just give me some time.”
Although Luis’ collection garnered some strange glances at first, he has now come to find that people are intrigued about it:
“In the beginning, my family thought I was a little silly and childish. They thought that I was completely mad, but all the best people in the world are mad. In time, they started looking at my collection with other eyes. Now, instead of reprehensible looks, people gaze upon my collection with wonder and curiosity.”
Luis is not only comfortable with his collection, he feels very privileged to be able to house such amazing pieces in his home, and thoroughly enjoys looking for new pieces to add to his assortment.
“I buy my pieces in auctions online, antique stores and when I travel I search for them and buy them if I am at Disney parks. Sometimes I buy from other collectors, and I also keep an eye out at flea markets. Here in Lisbon it is very hard to find these toys, so sometimes I have to jump through hoops to find them.”
Luis has no idea about the value of his collection as he has never had it appraised by an expert:
“I have bought some pieces for $100 or $200, and others for more than $1000. I would love to find out the value of the collection!”
Luis has many favorite Disney characters, and many of the Classic Disney films have stained his life for the better:
“I love Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. I get quite emotional every time I see Pinocchio, Snow white, and Sleeping Beauty. I also love Dumbo, Bambi, Fantasia, Alice in wonderland and Cinderella. They are all Great Masterpieces.”
These films which were overseen and produced by Walt himself for the basis of Luis’ passion for Disney films and products – for toys and figurines that were approved by the man himself, and were produced for fans all over the world of Walt’s work in film and television.
While Disneyland leaves the light on in the window of Walt Disney’s old apartment in honor of his memory, it is people like Luis, collectors, all over the world who are truly keeping the light of Walt alive.
If you love vintage Disney as much as Luis, then why not check out our range of vintage-inspired Disney figurines
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