A production cel is one of the many thousands of pictures that make up the old cartoon animations (before computer animation came along).
Each one is unique, hand drawn by an artist and then photographed as a single frame of an animated movie. They are a physical piece of artwork from the creation of the cartoon. Cels range in value, from a few dollars and up, depending on the popularity of the program and the scene the cel comes from. A cel of Daffy Duck from the Warner Bros. classic "Duck Amuck" could probably be auctioned on ebay.com for thousands of dollars, and I expect that a production cel from Disney's "Snow White" would go for far more than that.... Animation cels make for a wonderful collectable gift and there are plenty of collectors out there looking to get their hands on the more popular ones.
Years back, I spent a while collecting animation cels... I'd often wanted one, but it wasn't until I visited Harmony Gold in 1996 that I ended up with my own first cel, from the cartoon series "Robotech." I was there to talk with them about a video game I was working on based on the series, and the amazing Carl Macek showed us around (and noticed me drooling over a stack of cels from "Robotech: The Sentinels.")
He impulsively handed me the one on top (as well as few other toys from their "basement of Robotech goodies"). It's the "Alpha Fighter" cel from Robotech: The Sentinels shown below....
Most of the cels I own currently are from Japanese cartoons (known in America as "anime")... even the two "Robotech: Sentinels" cels were drawn in Japan, even though the series was funded by an American company. Japan has always had a different attitude about animation than America. In Japan, every genre under the sun is covered by cartoons, from children's shows such as "Pˇkemon", to pornography involving naughty alien tentacles. They are watched as prime-time programming and the Japanese equivalent of Hollywood.
After that first cel, I ended up with another Sentinels cel that was the only one left of fifteen or so that Harmony Gold gave Gametek for promotions. I picked a number of others over the years, some from on-line websites or auctions on ebay.com, some from anime convensions, and even one bought off the wall of a sushi restaurant in San Francisco.
Super Dimensional Fortress Macross
Super Dimensional Calvary Southern Cross (Robotech Masters)
Genesis Climber Mospeada (Robotech New Generation)
The following link is actually to a sequence of 29 cels:
Robotech II: The Sentinels
Macross The Movie: Do You Remember Love