Near six figure MTG art sales
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Cool. Its an interesting situation with Tedin.

 

He has multiple grail type pieces on his stolen list.

 

Yet, he was willing to sell them for a couple hundred each in the 90s.

 

If the stolen property was actually recovered he'd effectively have had the theft protect him from his own mistake.

 

It may never be recovered and he may never be compensated, but wouldn't it be something if he got a bunch of money 20 years later for something he wanted to give away

I'd say he's smoked. The statute of limitations would be per Washington state law where the alleged crimes were committed. And that's a grey area, because if the art was legally sold, then Tedin is only "out" the then-cash, that's what was stolen. Not the art. And that's definitely small money, typically limitation is five years or less on that sort of small crime. So present value, or any other value is immaterial. Even though John Byrne vehemently disagrees :)

 

None of this absolves the moral crime, just talking about the letter of the law legal end. No different than when Neal Adams went bonkers a few years ago and scared the majority of his best pieces right back into darkness. Didn't help that Mitch specifically remembered selling some of them for Neal (and paying him too), so Neal's memory was far from absolute. These deals always stink up the place...and we like the guys that create the art we love, so it's lousy but I can name an easy Top Ten of Lousy that's happened to me in my life too, so it is the human condition also...

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thanks for that.

 

FWIW I don't expect that everything on his list sold; so on some he will be out "the art" and on some he will be out "the money" (peanuts as you say).

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Any of the Moxes, Juzam Djinn, and most certainly the Black Lotus would fetch six figures without question, in my mind.

 

Well considering Daniel has stated he sold Juzam Djinn for 20K in the last few years I'd find tht doubtful. Also considering I recently saw an ad for his site listing that Juzam sale as a major highlight sale along with the recent relaunch of his site I find these "reported sales" highly questionable...

 

Ehh I dunno. I know we've had this debate privately and what you are saying is certainly possible - I acknowledged the source in the OP. But if I was relaunching my website I might look at timing my announcements that way without any malicious intent, as well.

 

If new art can crack five figures, first set, (legitimately acquired - not stolen) art for big cards at 50k+ doesn't seem so unrealistic. The game is pretty popular worldwide and there are very few originals that would check all those boxes.

 

That Juzam sale was several years ago as I recall. If he's having to use that as a recent announcment if anything that says to me he's not making up the sales, but they aren't flying off the shelves at high prices either (wouldn't expect them to anyways).

 

 

It's broken record on these boards. I tried the vintage art it didn't stick. Terry is the only sticking strong. He wasn't into the game and likes the art for the art. The new art is larger and much more detailed. I see these sales similar to what newer art by Art Adams and Adam Hughes does. There was a Mox on eBay with a large price that just say a few years ago not to mention he had Legends and Arabian nights are well below 5 figures that sat and say only a few years ago. I you recall that awful MTG message board...there wasnt much money being thrown around by collectors.

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Yep, five years ago you could get decent vintage stuff for low/mid four figures. I will say that even in the short time I owned mtg art I saw a noticeable uptick in interest in value on art for big cards so I'm not as ready to throw it out completely as you are. I only owned Abyss for a couple years (?) and I still double or tripled my money on it (can't recall exactly). A mid four figure sale on the art for a 'sorta' desirable card doesn't say squat about what's happening at the 50k+ level, but still food for thought. I had a couple people after the fact hunt me down asking me if I still had it, too, so while I had all the time in the world to buy it, there was suddenly competition for it when I was ready to sell.

 

That's very much not true for every vintage piece, but for the ego pieces?

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I would call Abyss an ego piece and even with you making a good profit it is still a far far far far cry from these prices. Plateau is not an ego piece...

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I can understand your skepticism but I can't agree with calling plateau a lesser piece. Those dual lands are some of the best cards in the original set. Abyss is nice but not nearly the same level

 

An alpha plateau card is worth nearly 10x an abyss for a reason. 2c

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Ya'll are geekin' hard now on MTG. In case you weren't aware lol.

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aware. lol

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I don't see the digital artists working on MtG and the like ever going back to traditional. It seems to me, and I'll caveat that I have no art background/education so this is just my impression and I could be totally wrong, that most of the images involve the type of special effects that are hard to replicate in traditional means (and I don't even know how easily it would be for artists that only ever worked digitally to learn the requisite skills), certainly not in any efficient manner given that most MtG cards are churned out in a manner of hours or couple of days.

 

 

I take it by your last sentence that you're referring to digital artists "(churning out art) in a manner of hours or couple of days"?

 

I sometimes correspond with German artist Volkan Baga, who contributes (traditional) oil paintings to MTG. Out of curiosity, I asked Volkan earlier about the time-scales involved in producing his work. Here's the response I received (which might be of interest as an insight):

 

"Hi Terry,

 

. . . there are pieces that I’ve spent around a week, but also pieces that took me 4 weeks to finish.

 

But my average ones take me around 10-15 days."

 

 

 

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aware. lol

 

Might be preferable to geeking-out over macho men in long underwear? :grin:

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aware. lol

 

Might be preferable to geeking-out over macho men in long underwear? :grin:

 

 

Oh yeah!

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I take it by your last sentence that you're referring to digital artists "(churning out art) in a manner of hours or couple of days"?

 

 

Yes, and more specifically when you're a less accomplished artist who doesn't have more lucrative work lined up.

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Here's an interesting result. A card from the original set, but about as bad a card as you can get.

 

Interesting from the POV that it tells me you're not getting anything from the first set for less than 10k

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kevin-KEV-Brockschmidt-Dwarven-Demolition-Team-MTG-Original-Card-Art-April-1993-/221883474086

 

Four different bidders around or above 9k, as well.

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I take it by your last sentence that you're referring to digital artists "(churning out art) in a manner of hours or couple of days"?

 

I sometimes correspond with German artist Volkan Baga, who contributes (traditional) oil paintings to MTG. Out of curiosity, I asked Volkan earlier about the time-scales involved in producing his work. Here's the response I received (which might be of interest as an insight):

 

"Hi Terry,

 

. . . there are pieces that I’ve spent around a week, but also pieces that took me 4 weeks to finish.

 

But my average ones take me around 10-15 days."

 

 

I'll tell you Terry, I do not know the truth of Volkan, but a fair number of artists exaggerate the time involved as it perpetuates the myth of the starving artist (or in 2015 - at least the 'makes less than the rest of us' myth). When I write this...I'm hoping you'll take my word for it that I've been intimately involved in the studio practices of several notable artists and they all exaggerate. One fellow, a very nice guy 'n all that, intentionally dogs his sketch list at shows to help justify the higher price. He intentionally engages fans, other artists around him, puts lunch ahead of sketching, etc, all to draw out the "experience" for the fans. The same is true of a different artist that works in oils, a fellow I've sat on his side of the table at cons with. He just makes up whatever answer he thinks the fan looks like he wants to hear. And for the ladies, being a player, he tends to respond with something like..."yes, it's true...I can go all night (wink, wink), if that's what it takes to get the job done". The point is these are not (often) real answers. There's a Sergio Aragones story out there, that Mark Evanier has repeated several times over the years, too on this subject, you may be familiar with it? Artists, in my experience do not spend a lot of time working out their hourly wage, we non-artists do (to their annoyance).

 

Back to Volkan...how many pieces is he working at the same time? Is that 10-15 days of straight 'work' eight hour days, all on that piece? Or is it (more likely) he finishes two to three pieces a month, this includes dry time, so while one is drying, he's working on another one? If you asked, he probably would dodge the question, most artists do not like being judged on time but on the actual piece in question. The finished work itself.

 

And I think that's correct. We're not paying (as art directors, as editors, as collectors) by the hour but by the piece. It's piece work. So why should we care if it takes three hours or thirty? Either it's good (or good enough) for the price. Or it's not. But because we have to ask (I don't, but it seems most do) they give us the answer we 'need' to hear (to jusify the prices?) Surely some tell the truth, what do I know...except that I know specifically of at least six (off the top of my head) that lie their @sses off or change the subject to get away from it.

 

(All this is more for painters than b/w comic book guys, the panel work...that does take real time and I don't think there is much, if any, exaggeration in that.)

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I think of most comic pages as one full day's work for someone who is both the writer and artist, and most say 24" paintings as 2-3 full days work including sketching and hashing out the concept and changes to actually gettin' er done

 

Obviously it varies but that's the range I've typically heard from people that I knew well and had no incentive to lie.

 

Certainly there's no way volkan's spending 15 full 8 hour days actually painting. A crock IMO, although as vodou says - who really cares if its 1 day or 15 as long as the piece looks good.

 

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When taking a basic drawing class as an undergrad, we had drawing assignments that were '30 minute pieces'. There was one guy, very talented, who would show up 10 minutes before class, ask what the assignment was, and crank out 2-3 drawings by the start of class that always went on to be the most praised pieces during the critiques.

 

It always took me an hour to produce a 30-minute drawing lol

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Certainly there's no way volkan's spending 15 full 8 hour days actually painting. A crock IMO, although as vodou says - who really cares if its 1 day or 15 as long as the piece looks good.

 

 

I certainly wouldn't doubt that many artists do indeed exaggerate their production times. Good call, Vodou.

 

Don't really imagine that Volkan's time-scales (his words, not mine) involve full 8 hour working days. The likelihood, as has been subsequently suggested, is that other works are being juggled in the schedule (assuming other paying gigs are on hand to keep the artist busy).

 

Yeah, absolutely right, Dan. As long as the piece looks good, it's irrelevant how many man hours went into the work.

 

 

 

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Terry is the only sticking strong. He wasn't into the game and likes the art for the art.

 

 

Sure, I'm attracted to those images that strike an emotional and aesthetic chord with me.

 

I'm probably an anomaly amongst those collectors of MTG art who have strong nostalgic ties with actually having played the game. Here, rarity of the published cards (and their playing strengths within the game) is likely to manifest itself into pushing-up demand/prices for the original hard-to-find key artworks that (as images) would otherwise do absolutely nothing for me. (shrug)

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