LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The iconic home of Mickey Mouse said on Wednesday it would no longer print and sell its beloved currency, the Disney dollar, sparking a buying frenzy among collectors.
The distinctive bills, each featuring iconic characters and signed by treasurer Scrooge McDuck, have been a legitimate form of money within the Disney universe since they were put into circulation in the 1980s.
Mickey was featured on the dollar bill while Goofy was on the US$5 (S$6.90) and Minnie Mouse was on the US$10. The cash also featured many other cartoon favourites, including Cinderella, Dumbo and Sleeping Beauty.
Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said the decision had been made in light of the increasing popularity of the company's gift card scheme, adding that Disney dollars still in circulation would be honoured indefinitely.
"It's a testimony to the enthusiasm and heart of Disney guests and collectors that Disney dollars remain collectible today," she told AFP, revealing that the company had stopped minting the bills on May 14.
"We continue to offer many ways to collect cherished Disney memories in tangible ways." Already a sought-after collectible, the Disney dollar's value is set to rocket, with shrewd entrepreneurs rushing to online auction site eBay to offer their stashes at hugely inflated prices.
There were hundreds of bids for various versions of the one dollar bill, ranging from around US$10 to more than US$50.
Special edition 50 dollar bills celebrating the 50th anniversary of Disneyland in 2005 were being offered for US$3,798 while one seller was asking US$15,000 for 54 mint condition one dollar bills still in uncut sheets.
The notes were introduced in 1987, each with anti-counterfeiting security features similar to those used on real currency, and a unique serial number.
"The Disney dollar failed because it was pegged to the US dollar. Floating on the forex market could have saved it," wrote one Twitter user.
"What a shame. This Disney dollar still holds more value than some real currencies like Iraq's dinar," quipped another.