Disney entertainment has been part of the American lifestyle since 1923. During this time it has captured the hearts of millions of fans across the world. This love affair with Disney has spawned a large group of Disney memorabilia collectors. As the hobby has blossomed into a number of different channels, the term Disneyana has evolved to describe all types of Disney collectibles. This massive world of memorabilia has led to collectors specializing in targeted niches of Disneyana in order to succeed at building their collections. After all, with so many items to choose from, it is hard enough to make a dent in even one of the categories. Even with specialization, the Disney collectible market still seems to center around a few popular categories. The largest three are vintage Disneyana, Disney pins, and Disney figurines.
Vintage Disneyana comprises collectible pieces that were produced and distributed prior to the 1966 death of Walt Disney. Vintage Disneyana collectors are often known as “hardcore” purists who shun Disney works created after 1966. While this may or may not be accurate, these collectors are typically very knowledgeable in their trade. This knowledge is important since collectibles in this time period are much rarer and can command significant prices. Because the market for these pieces is so competitive, it is harder to find deals and uncovered treasures. Nonetheless, the vintage Disney collector is always active in his pursuit of the next great piece. This is a task that has become more accessible with the development of internet auction sites.
Collecting Disney pins is one of the fastest-growing hobbies anywhere. While pins have been available at Disney theme parks for years, the hobby ultimately took off in 1999 when pin trading stations were introduced at the theme parks. The interactive element of pin trading has propelled Disney pins to one of the most recognized collectibles in the world. Websites and clubs have sprung up all over the internet, and special pin trading events can be found in nearly every major city. Special edition pins and limited edition collections have turned into hot sellers in the aftermarket. The escalation of aftermarket prices, combined with the accessibility of entry-level pins, insures that Disney pin trading will be around for a long time.
Disney figurine collecting is another category of Disney memorabilia that has reached extraordinary levels of membership. Usually made of porcelain, Disney figurines have an average height of only six inches, but their appeal can be measured in the millions. Each figurine is released in a special lot with limited production for each piece. Knowledgeable collectors examine the issue date, production markings, and market availability when determining the value of a piece. Similar to Disney pins, limited-edition models and anniversary collections hold the most value on the aftermarket. Though some collectors profit handsomely from reselling pieces, there is a large contingent of the Disney figurine community that collect for their own enjoyment.
In short, collecting Disneyana is a hobby that offers something for all age groups and budgets. While there is always a segment of each niche that is expensive, most Disney product lines do offer affordability with their new releases. This is important as it allows new collectors to join the hobby and solidify its growth in the future. As with any hobby, it is the fun of building your collection that fuels the passion. The Disney name and sheer popularity of their characters only add to the allure of Disneyana, and it is safe to say that the market for Disney memorabilia will continue to grow.