Shortly after beginning to collect Japanese Puzzle Boxes, I took an interest in Vintage pieces.Scouring the internet and finding some really unique and decorative pieces, I stumbled upon the Haunted Mansion Secret Panel Chest. The decal on the lid was pretty novel and because I have always liked Disney memorabilia, I was very excited to add one to my collection. Quickly though, I was shocked at the price they were selling for. It seemed completely unbelievable to me that a fairly common secret drawer Japanese Puzzle Box was so very expensive. Despite the expense, I think I fell in love with these Puzzle Boxes. The decal on the lid associated with the Disneyland’ Haunted Mansion Theme Park ride and the idea that they had a nostalgic value from a time I was a youngster was a huge plus!
I did some searching for information on these boxes and found that most were released in 1969 in what I believe were at least three different versions. All have a decal on the lid (two different decals were available depending upon the box selected) displaying the Haunted Mansion Disneyland Secret Panel Chest. All had Ichimatsu sides and most but not all had a secret hidden drawer. When sold, they also had a round Disney sticker on the bottom of each box.
Many of the examples I could find for sale had heavier wear as they were GENERALLY purchased for children to play with. Some had pry marks on side and lid by frustrated owners, color crayon markings, chips or dents. I have owned some that are in pristine condition but they are few and far between.
The opening sequences on the smaller 4 Sun boxes generally range between 7 and 9 steps but the larger 5 Sun box without the secret drawer requires over 20 steps to open.
I quickly came to the realization that not only were Puzzle Box collectors seeking them out, but Disney fanatics were paying unbelievably high prices for any vintage Disney memorabilia making them difficult to afford. At the time of this post, I do have one damaged Disney Haunted Mansion Secret Panel Chest for sale on our Vintage Puzzle Box page. I find them sporadically but seem to be increasingly difficult to find.