Carl Barks’ bronze figurines and sculptures are among the most coveted of all Disney collectibles and it is easy to see why. Their high levels of detail, depth and beautiful patina has fascinated fans and collectors ever since the first figurine was released at a Disney convention in the mid-1990s. At Disneyana+ we will do our best to offer a selection of these extremely rare and sought-after bronze works.
McDuck of Duckburg Prototype Bronze
This ultra rare limited edition bronze bust of Uncle Scrooge was released at the 1997 Disneyana Convention in Orlando, Florida, where it sold out immediately – and tripled in resale price during the convention weekend.
McDuck’s face features a metallic silver finish, as well as a lighter silver hue for his eyes. His collar has a highly polished gold finish, and dollar signs are frozen in the pupils of his eyes. This gag was inspired by the Carl Barks comic books. Carl Barks directed that the figure be fashioned after his early 1950s version of Scrooge McDuck, characterised by het long beak and plenty of feathered side-chops. The coins on the marble base were designed by Carl Barks. The bronze was sculpted by American master sculptor Steve Parks (as a bonus we will include some original photos showing Mr. Parks’ creation process behind this bronze). The sculpture stands approx. 45 cm tall and weighs in at approx. 22 kg. It is in perfect condition. The bust is accompanied by the relevant certificates from the Carl Barks Studio where it has been kept in storage ever since it was produced in 1996. To top it all off it comes in the original box in which it was shipped from the Parks Bronze Foundry to the Carl Barks Studio.
This bronze bust ranks as the rarest and most sought after of all the Barks bronzes ever put into production with just 60 busts ever being made. The regular edition consisted of only 50 bronzes, in addition to which 5 Artist’s Proofs were created. These 55 bronzes were preceded by 5 prototypes; all of which contained details that differed from each other. One prototype e.g. featured a gray collar on Scrooge instead of the gold collar that was used in the final production run. The bust offered here is the ultra-rare Prototype #4/5. This bronze bust does not vary from the officially released version. It must thus be assumed that the prototype bust offered here is the one that was put into production (making this the very first ‘proper’ version of McDuck of Duckburg).
The Barks bronzes are extremely popular and highly collectible investment items. Most of them have increased dramatically in value in recent years and just last year a regular edition version of this bronze broke all records by reaching sales prices exceeding USD 15,000.
This comparably much rarer and even higher investment-grade prototype is offered here at a considerably lower price, although it is still not cheap. The highest-end Carl Barks collectibles never are!
Self Control Bronze Tree
This bronze tree may at first glance appear like a serious oddity but it is in fact an official – and extremely rare – Carl Barks collectible. The figurine on the tree is the ‘Self Control’ figurine which was produced by the Carl Barks Studio and offered for sale at a Disneyana Convention in the mid-1990s. These conventions were also the venue for a specialty auction featuring unique collectibles. This bronze tree was produced for such an auction.
An excerpt from the accompanying letter of authenticity reads:
“The bronze figurine manufacturing process is fascinating. The wax cast is produced from the sculpt, individually. The pieces are then attached to a sprew – which holds them all together for the casting they are covered in a cement like material – then heated to the 2000 degrees Fahrenheit required to melt the wax and then melt the bronze into the mold. When the bronze comes out of the heat it looks like the attached figurine i.e. in parts. The Carl Barks Studio had two of them finished and patina-ed.”
One of these two figurines was sold for a very high amount at the Disneyana auction, while the other tree (this one) was kept in the Carl Barks Studio collection.
The figurine measures approx. 50 x 20 cm on its detachable black marble base. It weighs approx. 20 kg and is – as stated above – accompanied by an official letter of authenticty from the Carl Barks Studio. Only two such bronze trees were ever created making this one a borderline unique item for the picky collector.
In 1996, the Carl Barks Studio planned to produce a bronze relief (a 3D bronze image) as a successor to the bronze figurine, Tantrum On The Way, which had been a huge success the previous year. Approx. 6 prototypes of the bronze relief were made. These prototypes were submitted for approval by the Walt Disney Studios, which, however, refused to licence production of more reliefs. With the rejection from the Walt Disney Studios, these prototypes became some of the rarest collectibles ever produced by the Carl Barks Studio. This relief is numbered AP 1/8, and comes with a COA. It is framed in a beautiful double gold and black coloured wooden frame that fully complements the relief’s impressive visual expression. This unique high-end work will without a shred of a doubt form the centerpiece of any Disney collection.
Thru the Mirror
Thru the Mirror is a great Mickey Mouse short that was a parody of sorts of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. David Hand directed this short, which was released on 5/30/36. There is some very innovative animation in this film. Carl Barks, who began at the studio as an in-betweener, was an uncredited storyboard/gag writer on this short. In honor of his work on this cartoon, The “Mickey Thru the Mirror” Bronze statue was unveiled at the Orlando-based Disneyana convention in September, 1995. This is the wonderful and innovative Bronze that has Mickey dancing on a piece of film-strip, in honor of him dancing on the globe in the short. The delicate detail is striking. The Bronze is 42 cm tall on a marble base with a large 25 cm diameter. The edition on this bronze is only 200, and this is #58. The base is signed in gold pen by Carl Barks (1901-2000) and artist Paul Vought.
Two Gun Mickey
Although this rare bronze is not by or affiliated with Carl Barks, it is not completely out of place here as it is made by master sculptor Paul Vought, who also created several bronze pieces for Carl Barks back in the 1990s.
This lavishly detailed Mickey bronze is titled ‘Two Gun Mickey’ and based on the identically titled cartoon from 1934. The bronze is believed to be created sometime in the early 1980s. It was limited to a single edition of 250 bronzes + 10 artist’s proofs of which this is AP #4/10. It is worth noting that the artist proof bronzes vary significantly from the released regular edition bronzes in several ways. A few examples of these variations include different title plaque and bronze base and the white patina of Mickey’s face (which was not included on the regular edition bronzes). These details help to make this already extremely rare bronze a borderline unique collectible. This amazing bronze measures a whopping 70 x 50 cm and weighs in at approx 20 kg and it is in extremely good condition considering its age.