A rare and valuable piece of Disney memorabilia has been found in Brighton.

Ben Whitmore’s rare Mickey Mouse toy will be auctioned at an exhibition of Disney memorabilia.

The 24-year-old, of Chatham Place, Brighton, has collected hundreds of Disney items, but had no idea how rare his Steamboat Mickey stuffed toy, bought on a holiday to Disney World in Florida, was until he decided to clear out some of his huge collection to make room to move to a smaller flat.

He has been collecting Disney artefacts all his life and comes from a family of devoted Disney fans.

He said: “I hadn’t really realised it was a valuable piece.

“I knew I had a lot of stuff, but didn’t know it was that hard to find.

“I must have well over 100 pieces.

“There are a few select pieces I keep on display, but most of my collection is never seen by anyone.

“I would love for it to go to someone else who can really enjoy it.”

Holiday souvenir

Internet ad trafficker Ben said that many of the rarest pieces of his collection had been bought as holiday souvenirs – he cannot even remember on which of his numerous trips to Disney World he bought the toy.

Ben kept his stuffed toys in perfect condition and they have been described by an independent Disney expert as being “unique and desirable”.

They are expected to sell for several hundred pounds at The Mickey and Oswald’s Epic Tales exhibition, taking place from today Friday (November 23) to Sunday, November 25 in London.

Expert valuer Patrick Van der Vorst, a former Sotheby’s director and founder of the website Valuemystuff.com, co-ordinated the search for rare Mickey memorabilia.

He said: “There were some great items unearthed in this search.

“It proves there are so many fascinating pieces of Mickey memorabilia out there, and often people are not aware of their item’s historical context and value.”

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