Disney Haunted Mansion Secret Panel Chest

by Mike on June 25, 2011

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.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Debra May 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

I have the exact one pictured above with the little secret drawer. It is in great condition as I always took care of my things as a child. It was given to me by my brother-law when I was 14 or 15 in about 1969 0r 1970

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Jeremy September 3, 2012 at 2:02 am

I have one that is like the 5th one listed. it also has the parchment looking instructions in the drawer but the drawer has its own lid. there are more than 20 steps as well. it was my father’s. i still can remember how to get it open even though he only showed me a few times when i was young. little wear no cracks and picture is nice with few small scratches.

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Mike September 3, 2012 at 7:01 am

Hi Jeremy,

It does have value and really depends ALOT on condition. On auction it may go for between$60-$180 or maybe more really depending upon how much someone wants it:-) The decal condition also plays a major key as does warpage or chips etc.. Feel free to send me pictures to get a better idea.
Best Regards,
Mike

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Kees April 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I have the box is picture one, given to me by my mother in law on the day her husband died, so I treasure it. Mine is in a similar state as the one in picture one, and has a drawer with an small orange knob

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Barbara Myers March 31, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Just found one in the house my husband’s family lived in for 55 years near Disneyland. My husband finally got it open and found the original direction (parchment paper) in the inside section and there are 15 steps. There is no secret drawer in this one. Now he just has to figure out how to put it back together again. It is in excellent condition, even the graphics are good and sharp.

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M Fisher February 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I have one and it was purchased the summer of 1959 or 1960.

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