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Rare Mickey Mouse masks sold at auction

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Keys Auctioneers and Valuers undated handout photo of a pair of Mickey Mouse masks, made in Germany in the 1930s, Photo credit: Keys Auctioneers and Valuers /PA Wire

A pair of Mickey Mouse masks that were made in Germany at a time when Hitler's Nazi regime was disparaging the Disney character have sold at auction.

The rare 1930s papier mache masks were made under licence from the Walt Disney company and each carries a stamp inside the mask stating this.

They were sold for 210 pounds sterling at Keys Auctioneers and Valuers in Aylsham in Norfolk on Wednesday, within their pre-auction estimate of PS200 to PS300.

"These are extremely rare, given the combination of being very early on in the history of Mickey Mouse and Disney, and the fact that they were manufactured in Germany under licence," David Broom, director at Keys, said ahead of the auction.

"The rarity is increased by the fact that the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler propagandised against Mickey Mouse, with one mid-1930s newspaper article stating, 'Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed'.

The character's public debut was in Steamboat Willie, which appeared in 1928 and was one of the first cartoons with synchronised sound.

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