A hand-drawn rare sketch of Donald Duck by Walt Disney was sold at auction for almost $12,000.

The unique item - which also features the signature of the American pioneer - was sold to an unnamed buyer for $11,949 at a Nate D. Sanders Auctions on Thursday (30.08.18), sending the product $4,000 over the start bidding price, which was set at $7,900.

Earlier this week, it was revealed the item was set to go under the hammer at an auction in Los Angeles, and auction manager Michael Kirk said the drawing was special because Walt Disney didn't actually draw many of the character designs himself.

Explaining why the item is so special, Nate D. Sanders auction manager Michael Kirk said in a statement: ''It's rare to find a Donald Duck illustration hand drawn and signed by Walt Disney himself.

''Disney famously delegated almost all animation work to his team of talented animators, making this piece very unique and collectable.''

Disney - who created Donald Duck in 1934 to be the companion of the iconic character Mickey Mouse - signed his name at the bottom of his pencil drawing, which is 5.5 by 8.5 inches in size.

News of the auction comes shortly after Disney announced plans to create a Mickey Mouse exhibition to celebrate his 90th Anniversary.

It was revealed that a new pop-up interactive art exhibit - which will include work from British artist Michael Bosanko and celebrity photographer Rankin - named 'Mickey: The True Original Exhibition' will be opening in New York in honour of the cartoon icon's birthday.

Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products, said: ''As Walt said, 'I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse'.

''From 'The True Original Exhibition' to a year-long celebration in our parks around the world, we are honouring the deep connection that families and fans have made with Mickey and Minnie Mouse for nearly a century.''

Meanwhile, Darren Romanelli, who curated the project, said: ''To me, Mickey is reminiscent of everything good from my childhood. As I've come into my own as a designer, I feel a true sense of passion for this project.

''Every inch of the experience - from the artists participating to the different mediums featured to the building layout, was thought through with a level of detail and creativity we could only achieve with Mickey Mouse as our muse.''