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The value of a particular Cel differs from collector to collector. For example, a Cel may have special meaning to a collector because it is from a scene particularly memorable or meaningful to the collector. Having said so, there are a few (relatively objective) factors that affect the price of a Cel: 

  • Popularity of the Anime: Cels from popular animes are likely to be more expensive because there is generally a higher demand. However, popularity may not be consistent around the world. There are animes that are universally popular (e.g. Dragon Ball) but also some titles that are extremely popular in a particular region but completely unheard of in others. 

  • Popularity of the character: same as the above, characters with a bigger fan base tend to be more expensive. 

  • Rarity: Cels of certain animes / characters are extremely difficult to find. This may be because a particular character has very little screen time or it may also be because not many of an anime's Cels has been released beyond its studio in the first place (e.g. Pokemon). Cels from animation that have only been released as movies (for example, Ghibli movies) are less available because they are generally shorter (three hours max) compared to an animation series that spans across multiple episodes.

  • OP / ED / Bank Cels: Cels used to produce the opening, ending and bank cels (see description in Production Cel page) are in general more expensive because they are more iconic but less available:

  • Oversized Cels / Harmony Cels: oversized / pan Cels and harmony cels (see description in Production Cel page) are generally more expensive. Oversized cels generally capture a wider shot which itself can be used for a complete sequence. Harmony cels often represent a significant moment of the animation (right before the commercial is played or a cliffhanger at the end of an episode). Again, these Cels are less readily available.

  • Frame:

  • size - a close shot of a character is likely to be more expensive than a Cel of the same character very small in size in the background

  • expression - the price of a Cel with a character half blinking is likely to be lower than with the same character in the same shot with eyes opened

  • action - a character performing a signature act (e.g. a Slam Dunk cel with Hanamichi dunking) are generally more expensive

  • Key Cel: as mentioned in the Production Cel page, key Cels are usually produced by a more senior animator of the animation team. They are therefore believed to be of a better quality and are often times more expensive. Also, a shot may be made up of several layers. If a Cel is marked A1End, that means the bottom layer is used throughout the entire sequence which may contain multiple B layer / C layer / D layer etc. Cels. There will only be one "set" of Cel that will create a complete image, because there are no additional A Cels to accompany other B / C / D Cels. A set containing an A1End Cel, for example, will have a higher asking price.

  • Animation Director: Cels of particular episodes may be more expensive because they were directed by a more popular animation director. For example, Cels of Saint Seiya from episodes directed by 荒木伸吾 Shingo Araki and 姬野美智 Michi Himeno are generally more expensive (information at the courtesy of @hobbydreamer). Fans of Sailor Moon also have preference for particular animation directors: 

  • Background: Cels with original matching background are more expensive. This is because only one Cel from what may be a long sequence will come with the accompanying original matching background. Backgrounds can sometimes be sold alone and Ghibli backgrounds are known to fetch extremely high prices (on their own):


  • Other deliverables: some Cels are accompanied by their Douga / Genga / Timesheet / Envelopes, all of which will add to the price.

  • Forum / Provenance: Reputable auction houses usually instil greater confidence in buyers and achieve higher prices. There are also some established sellers (see Access page) that buyers are willing to pay more to buy from. 

  • Hanken Cels: Hanken Cels (see description in Production Cel page) are generally more expensive due to its lower supply and because they usually have a better composition - regular Cels are used to tell a story whereas Hanken Cels are specifically designed to make the product being sold attractive. 

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