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Original How the Grinch Stole Christmas animation art to sell at Heritage Auctions

A collection of original artwork from How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be offered for sale at Heritage next month, direct from the personal archive of legendary animator Chuck Jones.

The selection includes highly rare production cels and key master set-ups, along with production drawings and concept artwork from Dr Seuss’ holiday classic.

In total, 27 lots from the archive will cross the block, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Chuck Jones Center of Creativity in Orange County, California.

“Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been on TV every holiday season since it was first released in 1966 and TV Guide ranked it #1 in its Top 10 list of holiday favorites,” said Jim Lentz, Director of Animation Art Auctions at Heritage Auctions.

“This is an unprecedented offering and, more importantly than anything else, it comes directly from the Chuck Jones Personal Archives, chosen specifically by Jones’ daughter, Linda, and his grandson Craig Kausen.”

Leading the collection is a hand-painted production cel of the Grinch trying on his Santa outfit, reflected in a mirror held by his faithful dog Max. The cel is presented complete with a completely unique key master hand-painted production background, and is expected to sell for more than $25,000.

“This is one of the very few Key Master set-ups from the cartoon that I’ve ever seen in more than 30 years in the business,” said Lentz. “It can be seen right at the nine-minute mark in the special and I can tell you, it’s just a spectacular offering.”

Another major highlight from the collection is an early concept drawing of the Grinch, perhaps the first ever produced by Jones’ hand. Described as “a pure piece of Grinch History”, the illustration is estimated at $10,000+.

Further notable lots include a rare early storyboard of Cindy Lou Who, production cels of the Grinch with his whip on top of the sled, and a rare 12 field director’s layout drawing by Jones depicting the Grinch trying to save his sleigh as it heads for disaster.

“The magic of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas television special, created 50 years ago, continues to enchant and entertain generation after generation,” said Jones’ grandson Craig Kausen.

“The amalgamation of Seuss and Jones, mixed with Karloff and the rest of the incredible talent on the special to produce an elixir so unique and satisfying it may never be matched again. We of the Chuck Jones family are delighted to share a few treasures from this film to help spread and foster creativity into the future.”

The Heritage Animation Art Signature Auction takes place in Dallas on June 11-12.

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