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Beany and Cecil (John Kricfalusi)

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Beany, Cecil, and Uncle Captain Huffenpuff
Source: TV
Layers: 5
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Copy Unmatching Background

Added 6/15/2006
Updated 2/5/2013
From the episode DJ's Disappearing Act. A very good deal, altho it has its own issues; the colorprint background is the wrong one (and is slightly damaged from everything in the matte falling down), the cel layers are not precisely corresponding, and it's supposed to be a book cel where the foreground is important in making sense of the image. Check sketch 1 for screencaps demonstrating some of these issues. Check sketch 2 for the laughable things brick and mortar galleries put on the thing (like a price sticker, and a label sticker calling it the Bennie and Cecil show...).
See my longer comments on this piece at:
http://www.rubberslug.com/board/showthread.asp?T=108&P=7

(link no longer works, so here:
I thought I'd add to this thread with a story of a cel I just bought. (It's in my gallery, with certain illustrative pics in the sketch slots.)
It's a cel from the John Kricfalusi-made Beany and Cecil from 1988.
I won it on eBay; the final auction price was $27.50, $34.45 shipped. However, the cel was shrinkwrapped, and had a price sticker on it from FDS Art World. The price on the sticker? $975.

There were certain issues with the auction itself. The show title was listed wrongly in the auction as "Beanie and Cecil" instead of "Beany and Cecil" (it's actually a mistake I sometimes make searching for info on the show). This is an improvement over the title actually listed on the stock sticker on the plastic wrap, which was "Bennie and Cecil". The auction title uses the words "production art" instead of cel or cels. Either of these problems might keep people searching for cels from the show from finding the auction, and both of them together makes it a much bigger problem.

The item itself presents certain issues. The image in the auction and the item description show and mention that the cel has slipped within the matting, itself within shrinkwrap. The image specifically showed wrinkling. Careful inspection of the image implied it was the photo background that was wrinkling, not the cels themselves, but there was a risk that was not the case (and a wrinkled photo background isn't as nice as an undamaged one anyway).

There are some hidden listing issues: the listing says the art is pre-1970. It's not. It's implied from the style, but I knew it by tracking down the cel to its appearance in its cartoon. The background is also not matching. The setup should technically be a book cel, with a diamond in the front, and a glint effect in the foreground. The included background is from a few scenes ahead. The cel setup by itself also isn't quite right; the Cecil layer fits both other cels, but the Beany and Captain cels did not appear at the same moment. And, having fallen down in the matting, the cels had risked ripping paint off the back of the cels from the tape used in the matting process (altho this did not occur).

On the plus side, the cel was in the production art section. Anyone checking the section would have run across it. The setup is 5 cels deep, and is more complete than most of the Beany and Cecil stuff I've seen on the market (in spite of the cels being mismatched (but within the same shot), the background being wrong, the foreground element missing, and missing at least an effects layer), and is more characters from the John K. related Beany and Cecil than I've seen in a cel before. It does have the Clampett seal on it which I suppose has some value. And the seller has more than 6000 feedbacks, 100% positive.

The various problems seem to have negatively effected the price tho; setups with just Beany and Cecil from this series with no Clampett markings and not even a wrong copy background have sold for more than $100 on eBay in the last year or so. However, the market for these cels is very up and down; that setup that went for more than $100 failed to get any bids at all with the same opening bid at half the price a week or two earlier.

Gallery related issues: They had priced this at $975. That's pretty shocking in and of itself. I've found another cel from this episode for sale online (Dishonest John, also on a wrong background that is also from the same episode, with official Clampett embossing like this piece. bought by the person currently offering it for sale for more than the $325 he is offering it for, altho it was bought at an auction in 1995 where the value was listed at $1500. DJ's pose is better than the poses in my cel, but he's also alone. I wonder if my cel was once listed for more than $975. So, for $975, you got slightly mismatched cels, the captain layer of which is in an odd bent over spread eagle position that doesn't make any sense because the foreground element that makes it logical is not included and the Beany head layer of which has a weird thing going on with his tongue. Plus you get a double matte; but not a great matte, as the cut marks bite into each color layer 50% of the width in each corner, and the edges are bent because it's been shrinkwrapped for a decade (anyone have speculation to when the shrinkwrapping would have started the bending?). And the backing? Super acidic corrugated cardboard. Because when you're paying about a grand for something in the early mid-90s, you want something as safe as a refrigerator box in the rain. And of course the topper gallery issue: the setup was labeled as being from the Bennie and Cecil show. Because for a grand, the customer doesn't deserve a spelling that's even a homonym. And they don't get a frame, either.

Do I regret my purchase? No, of course not. Not including shipping, I paid 2.8% of the labeled asking price, and what I got is certainly worth that to me. Should someone who paid something equivalent to the listed price, or even the discounted price that people seemed to get when actually taking these things off the hands of galleries, regret their purchase? If they bought it for monetary profit (or even as a hedge), they sure should be regretting it. In the most efficient market available, that "investment" lost more than 97% of its value. Even if the problems in the auction caused it to go for a quarter of what a better auction would have, it still would have lost almost 90% of its cost. It's hard to tell who actually took the hit tho, or who took what hits. The seller on the item seems to sell mainly books, with a significant backup business in cels unrelated to each other (but many of which have the feeling of having gone through the gallery system). The day this setup sold there were four other cels from the seller; a 1980 Warners abominable snowman cel (kinda cool, actually), a Muppet babies cel, an All Dogs Go To Heaven cel, and a Tom and Jerry the Movie cel signed by Joe Barbera. Three of the five were shrinkwrapped, all were matted. Kinda feels like wholesale dealer stock to me, considering the shrinkwrap on my cel had an old price sticker and stock stickers; I found an 800 number online for the company named on the price sticker; the number is now for a company in an unrelated industry. This particular piece seems to have only been in speculative hands tho; the piece could not be displayed properly in the sealed plastic wrap, especially with a price sticker on the front of the matte (not in the image field tho), implying it never made it to a collector. It's even possible the seller I bought from actually made a profit. I'd like to know if it took a bankruptcy sale or property auction from an abandoned storage unit somewhere in there to get the cels into the hands of a collector. Here the only harm seems to be to cel speculators; at least one person made a bad investment. But there's no particular reason this should have been the case; this piece could easily have been sold by a collector at this huge loss who bought the piece around the listed price (maybe less without the massive and 100% positive feedback). As I said, another cel from this episode is out there, listed by the collector who bought it a decade ago for less than he bought it for. And at that reduced price (more than 10 times what I paid for my cel), the cel remains for sale for several times its high end efficient market value, hoping for someone else to absorb some of the loss. I submit that this is the heart of the monopsimistic animation art market; material languishes at high prices, but when people buy at apparently bargain prices they buy with an expectation of it retaining its artificially inflated value, and then are harmed when the efficient value is found in the open marketplace.

2.8%
3.5% shipped


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