Time: Thursday the 1st of March, 2001. - Place: The offices of Bruce Hamilton in Prescott, Arizona. - Participants: Hamilton, 5 family members, and 4 special observers. - Event: An official session devoted to the destruction of a large number of unique Carl Barks original porcelain figurines. - Reason: Hamilton and the Disney Company had had a 5-year battle debating how many (or few!) figurines were to be made and to which prices both existing and new should be sold, but an acceptable agreement was never reached. - Consequence: The collectors lost ...

During the 1990s Barks had been working along completely new lines, one of them being the creation of 8 series of very costly and detailed porcelain figurines. They featured many of the primary characters from his multiple comic book stories as well as occasional scenes from same. On the fatal day all the priceless figurines that had not been sold were unceremoniously destroyed! Here is what happened...




The following is a firsthand eyewitness report from the destruction event.
It was written by the President of The Carl Barks Fan Club, Ed Bergen, who functioned as one of the official observers.
The account has been written especially for this website.

Here are some of my recollections re: the destruction event of the Barks Another Rainbow (AR) figurines:

It was the first day of March, 2001, when a small group* gathered at the offices of Another Rainbow/Gladstone in Prescott, Arizona, for a watershed event in the history of Carl Barks/Disney duck collectibles.
Bruce Hamilton, producer of The Carl Barks Library, The Fine Art of Walt Disney's Donald Duck (which depicts 122 images of the Barks oil paintings), and the two series of the Carl Barks lithographs, had gathered a small group of Another Rainbow employees and some Barks collectors, and friends to witness an event Bruce felt should never have happened: the destruction of the remnants of the Carl Barks fine art porcelain figurines that were first produced, by Connoisseur of Malvern (Ledbury, England) and released by Bruce to the world market beginning in 1992.

The Carl Barks images which were produced as 3-dimensional figures were: Always Another Rainbow (100), Dude For A Day (100), Pick & Shovel Laborer (100), Sixty Years Quacking (100), Lavender & Old Lace (17), The Expert (25), The Quintessential Scrooge (100), and Scrooge McDuck Midnight Egg (100)**.
There were other images which were produced as very limited 3-dimensional prototypes (A Christmas Trimming, Luck Of The North, Flubbity Dubbity Duffer, Far Out & No Safari), but these were never offered as limited editions to the collecting community***.

We gathered on that morning in Prescott, accompanied by a Disney auditor to destroy all the remnants of the Barks/Disney duck figurines which Bruce had not sold through Another Rainbow.
After lengthy discussions with Disney, it had been decided that Bruce would return his license to produce Carl Barks items back to Disney who would be receiving the remnants of the Carl Barks lithographs as well as remnants of other published items****.
Disney had decided, however, that since the Barks porcelain figurines were so 'high end' that their destruction was preferable to any attempt by Disney to sell them on the open market! After that agreement had been made, Bruce had had an offer from a collector to buy ALL of the remaining figurines; he had gone back to Disney with the offer which was for some reason refused. So the destruction event would occur!

On that fateful morning in Prescott, Bruce had prepared to video the event so that future collectors would know that this destruction event had been Disney's decision, NOT a decision by Another Rainbow or Bruce Hamilton! And so, under the watchful eye of the Disney auditor (who marked on a ledger the number of each porcelain as it was Dinged or Destroyed) the event proceeded.
Each adult who was present was asked to ding one figurine, using a small hammer. Each figurine was placed on a table, still in its box surrounded by protective foam padding. Each box was then opened and the hammer 'applied' to the top of the figurine. If, in the opinion of the Disney auditor, the piece had not been dinged sufficiently, the hammer was used a second time.
As mentioned, each adult present dinged one of the figurines. Bruce's grandsons dinged the remainder! Each figurine, of course, had differing numbers of sales through Another Rainbow.

The first figurine that had been released (Always Another Rainbow) had, apparently, sold out as none of these porcelains were destroyed during this destruction event. I THINK I remember seeing, at some point, however, the number of the AAR porcelains existing listed as 74. I do know from talking to collectors over the years, that some of these AAR porcelains were damaged or destroyed in shipping mishaps.

The quantities listed as destroyed are Dude For A Day (25), Pick & Shovel Laborer (38), Sixty Years Quacking (56), The Quintessential Scrooge (46), and Scrooge McDuck Midnight Egg (27).
I believe that one can assume that at least a few of those listed as Existing do NOT really exist because of damage or destruction in shipping accidents.  

Bruce began the event by speaking to the camera, informing any potential viewers that the destruction of the Barks figurines which was to ensue was because of Disney's decision not to market the remaining figurines, not a decision by either Bruce or Another Rainbow.
I remember, at the start of the event, my dinging one of the Pick & Shovel Laborer porcelains. My heart was in my throat as I realized that this exquisite (and expensive) porcelain sculpture was to become the victim of my hammer blows!
Bruce's grandsons seemed to have an easier time of it as they, being so young at the time, were not really aware of the full impact of what was happening! 

I don't know what happened to the shards or remains of the figurines.  They were destroyed and, I imagine, just thrown out ... or the Disney auditor took them back? Of course, some of the remnants on the pieces did have some value (gold and jewels).
I DO remember that the Scrooge McDuck Midnight Egg shells were kept. They were generic (had no Disney images on them) while the metallic Scrooges in the tub of coins had their heads removed with a pliers (those, that is, that Bruce was not allowed to keep). Bruce did give me one of the Scrooge heads from one of The Quintessential Scrooge's as a kind of souvenir of being at the event (at my request). I still have that piece, of course!

With each ding of the hammer, the Disney auditor would faithfully record the destruction. Bruce was, however, allowed to keep a few of the Artist or Publisher's Proofs of the figurines (I think about 10 each). These are offered from time to time by Diamond International Galleries which now owns all of the Bruce Hamilton collection following Bruce's death a few years ago.

I was pleased to be able to be a part of such a watershed event in Barks collecting but, as mentioned above, my 'angst' certainly far outweighed any feeling of exhilaration! What GREAT Barks art pieces would no longer be available to collectors!


* The group consisted of Bruce Hamilton, his wife Helen, their daughter, three grandsons, and a close friend of the family, Margaret Lambert. Furthermore a Disney representative, Guido Marx, and two collectors, Homer Kellogg and Ed Bergen (the writer of this account).
** See them
*** Time Out For Fun was also included. All motifs were taken from Barks paintings with the same titles (the first-mentioned, though, was never officially titled but simply known as Christmas Composition). Common for them all was that they were supposed to end up as very large figurines, thus to be made in small quantities of perhaps 15 each. Because the sales prices would probably wind up around 20,000 dollars each the project was scrapped.
**** All other 'surplus' articles were returned to Disney by Kellogg shortly after the dreadful destruction day.


Courtesy of Jerry O'Hara




http://www.cbarks.dk/THEDESTRUCTIONEVENT.htm   Date 2010-04-25