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A 2013 Alpha Project Update

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I wanted your help before, but now I need your help.

In 2011, I began a project on the art of Alpha, Magic: The Gathering’s first set of its limited edition. I wanted to set a foundation to do some great things, and after some initial research on the original art, I found an underwhelming amount of information for nearly three hundred individual artworks with rather memorable depictions for players, collectors, and store owners dealing with Magic. To begin the conversation about Magic art, I wrote this article about creating a catalogue raissone or a formal documentation, often culminating in a book, of all known artworks. I wanted to know where every art was located first.

You really should read that as a refresher into this project. It’s short. I promise.

This documentation project is a work of scholarship. Those who own original Limited Edition Alpha art, the collectors, and their names aren’t shared until the project is finished, and it will only be shared if they wish to be publicly known. Most do not wish to be known. Ideally, this will eventually culminate in an art exhibition showcasing the art, but that is more likely to happen on Magic’s twenty-fifth anniversary in 2018. (Most art exhibitions take two to three years to organize, and that’s when people know where the art is located!) I’d love to have a multi-site exhibition tour.

I had a backlog of information sent to me about people who own Alpha originals or people hearing about others who did for well over a year. It then trickled and has finally exhausted itself.

Vesuvan Doppelganger by Quinton Hoover, in a private collection

So, Here We Are. The List of Where I Am Is Below.

Here are some things to look for and know:

  • Notice how not all rares have been found—or commons, for that matter. Tournament-table cards, the so-called “iconic” depictions, are the ones that generally are owned and found.
  • A lot of art is known about, but the collectors are incredibly hesitant to confirm due to some theft of early Alpha artworks.
  • No sales are implicitly being made, nor are the collector lists for sale or supposed to be openly distributed. This involves zero dollars changing hands by me doing this.
  • Nearly every collector who has an Alpha has some sort of insurance policy on the artwork.
  • All the original artists have been contacted, numerous times, and their records aren’t inclusive of these pieces. In the early 1990s, provenance for gaming art wasn’t really a thing.
  • Magic’s influx of new players since the Great Recession ended has increased interest in and raised the pricing of all Alpha art that hits the market—meaning it’s rare that it comes into the public.

Legend

A: Found, collector contacted, documented

I have a form that accompanies confirmation with medium, size, provenance, and similar information.

B: Known, but collector MIA

A lot of pieces I know exist and with a particular person, but I haven’t heard back from the collector yet.

C: Rumored known but collector unknown; trail gone cold

For some of these, I knew previous owners—or someone moved or a piece disappeared after I heard about it.

Key Code # Card Name Rarity Artist Name
47 Air Elemental Uncommon Richard Thomas
C 48 Ancestral Recall Rare Mark Poole
49 Animate Artifact Uncommon Douglas Schuler
1 Animate Dead Uncommon Anson Maddocks
B 186 Animate Wall Rare Dan Frazier
B 232 Ankh of Mishra Rare Amy Weber
A 187 Armageddon Rare Jesper Myrfors
93 Aspect of Wolf Rare Jeff A. Menges
2 Bad Moon Rare Jesper Myrfors
139 Badlands Rare Rob Alexander
B 188 Balance Rare Mark Poole
233 Basalt Monolith Uncommon Jesper Myrfors
279 Bayou Rare Jesper Myrfors
B 189 Benalish Hero Common Douglas Schuler
B 94 Berserk Uncommon Dan Frazier
A 95 Birds of Paradise Rare Mark Poole
3 Black Knight Uncommon Jeff A. Menges
A 234 Black Lotus Rare Christopher Rush
A 235 Black Vise Uncommon Richard Thomas
190 Black Ward Uncommon Dan Frazier
191 Blaze of Glory Rare Richard Thomas
A 192 Blessing Rare Julie Baroh
50 Blue Elemental Blast Common Richard Thomas
193 Blue Ward Uncommon Dan Frazier
4 Bog Wraith Uncommon Jeff A. Menges
A 51 Braingeyser Rare Mark Tedin
140 Burrowing Uncommon Mark Poole
96 Camouflage Uncommon Jesper Myrfors
194 Castle Uncommon Dameon Willich
236 Celestial Prism Uncommon Amy Weber
97 Channel Uncommon Richard Thomas
A 237 Chaos Orb Rare Mark Tedin
141 Chaoslace Rare Dameon Willich
195 Circle of Protection: Black Common Jesper Myrfors
196 Circle of Protection: Blue Common Dameon Willich
197 Circle of Protection: Green Common Sandra Everingham
A 198 Circle of Protection: Red Common Mark Tedin
B 199 Circle of Protection: White Common Douglas Schuler
A 238 Clockwork Beast Rare Drew Tucker
A 52 Clone Uncommon Julie Baroh
C 98 Cockatrice Rare Dan Frazier
200 Consecrate Land Uncommon Jeff A. Menges
239 Conservator Uncommon Amy Weber
5 Contract from Below Rare Douglas Schuler
53 Control Magic Uncommon Dameon Willich
201 Conversion Uncommon Jesper Myrfors
240 Copper Tablet Uncommon Amy Weber
54 Copy Artifact Rare Amy Weber
A 55 Counterspell Uncommon Mark Poole
99 Craw Wurm Common Daniel Gelon
C 56 Creature Bond Common Anson Maddocks
202 Crusade Rare Mark Poole
241 Crystal Rod Uncommon Amy Weber
6 Cursed Land Uncommon Jesper Myrfors
242 Cyclopean Tomb Rare Anson Maddocks
A 7 Dark Ritual Common Sandra Everingham
8 Darkpact Rare Quinton Hoover
203 Death Ward Common Mark Poole
B 9 Deathgrip Uncommon Anson Maddocks
10 Deathlace Rare Sandra Everingham
11 Demonic Attorney Rare Daniel Gelon
12 Demonic Hordes Rare Jesper Myrfors
13 Demonic Tutor Uncommon Douglas Schuler
243 Dingus Egg Rare Dan Frazier
204 Disenchant Common Amy Weber
142 Disintegrate Common Anson Maddocks
244 Disrupting Scepter Rare Dan Frazier
143 Dragon Whelp Uncommon Amy Weber
C 14 Drain Life Common Douglas Schuler
57 Drain Power Rare Douglas Schuler
15 Drudge Skeletons Common Sandra Everingham
144 Dwarven Demolition Team Uncommon Kev Brockschmidt
145 Dwarven Warriors Common Douglas Schuler
146 Earth Elemental Uncommon Dan Frazier
147 Earthbind Common Quinton Hoover
B 148 Earthquake Rare Dan Frazier
B 100 Elvish Archers Rare Anson Maddocks
C 16 Evil Presence Uncommon Sandra Everingham
149 False Orders Common Anson Maddocks
A 205 Farmstead Rare Mark Poole
101 Fastbond Rare Mark Poole
A 17 Fear Common Mark Poole
58 Feedback Uncommon Quinton Hoover
A 150 Fire Elemental Uncommon Melissa Benson
A 151 Fireball Common Mark Tedin
A 152 Firebreathing Common Dan Frazier
153 Flashfires Uncommon Dameon Willich
59 Flight Common Anson Maddocks
102 Fog Common Jesper Myrfors
103 Force of Nature Rare Douglas Schuler
245 Forcefield Rare Dan Frazier
A 280 Forest Land Christopher Rush
A Forest Land Christopher Rush
154 Fork Rare Amy Weber
18 Frozen Shade Common Douglas Schuler
104 Fungusaur Rare Daniel Gelon
105 Gaea's Liege Rare Dameon Willich
A 246 Gauntlet of Might Rare Christopher Rush
C 106 Giant Growth Common Sandra Everingham
A 107 Giant Spider Common Sandra Everingham
247 Glasses of Urza Uncommon Douglas Schuler
19 Gloom Uncommon Dan Frazier
155 Goblin Balloon Brigade Uncommon Andi Rusu
156 Goblin King Rare Jesper Myrfors
B 157 Granite Gargoyle Rare Christopher Rush
158 Gray Ogre Common Dan Frazier
A 206 Green Ward Uncommon Dan Frazier
A 108 Grizzly Bears Common Jeff A. Menges
207 Guardian Angel Common Anson Maddocks
208 Healing Salve Common Dan Frazier
248 Helm of Chatzuk Rare Mark Tedin
159 Hill Giant Common Dan Frazier
A 209 Holy Armor Common Melissa Benson
210 Holy Strength Common Anson Maddocks
20 Howl from Beyond Common Mark Poole
249 Howling Mine Rare Mark Poole
160 Hurloon Minotaur Common Anson Maddocks
109 Hurricane Uncommon Dameon Willich
21 Hypnotic Specter Uncommon Douglas Shuler
110 Ice Storm Uncommon Dan Frazier
250 Icy Manipulator Uncommon Douglas Shuler
251 Illusionary Mask Rare Amy Weber
111 Instill Energy Uncommon Dameon Willich
C 60 Invisibility Common Anson Maddocks
252 Iron Star Uncommon Dan Frazier
161 Ironclaw Orcs Common Anson Maddocks
112 Ironroot Treefolk Common Jesper Myrfors
281 Island Land Mark Poole
A 282 Island Land Mark Poole
211 Island Sanctuary Rare Mark Poole
253 Ivory Cup Uncommon Anson Maddocks
254 Jade Monolith Rare Anson Maddocks
A 255 Jade Statue Uncommon Dan Frazier
256 Jayemdae Tome Rare Mark Tedin
257 Juggernaut Uncommon Dan Frazier
61 Jump Common Mark Poole
212 Karma Uncommon Richard Thomas
B 162 Keldon Warlord Uncommon Kev Brockschmidt
A 258 Kormus Bell Rare Christopher Rush
113 Kudzu Rare Mark Poole
213 Lance Uncommon Rob Alexander
114 Ley Druid Uncommon Sandra Everingham
259 Library of Leng Uncommon Daniel Gelon
22 Lich Rare Daniel Gelon
115 Lifeforce Uncommon Dameon Willich
116 Lifelace Rare Amy Weber
C 62 Lifetap Uncommon Anson Maddocks
A 163 Lightning Bolt Common Christopher Rush
117 Living Artifact Rare Anson Maddocks
118 Living Lands Rare Jesper Myrfors
A 260 Living Wall Uncommon Anson Maddocks
119 Llanowar Elves Common Anson Maddocks
A 63 Lord of Atlantis Rare Melissa Benson
23 Lord of the Pit Rare Mark Tedin
120 Lure Uncommon Anson Maddocks
64 Magical Hack Rare Julie Baroh
65 Mahamoti Djinn Rare Dan Frazier
164 Mana Flare Rare Christopher Rush
66 Mana Short Rare Dameon Willich
C 261 Mana Vault Rare Mark Tedin
165 Manabarbs Rare Christopher Rush
262 Meekstone Rare Quinton Hoover
67 Merfolk of the Pearl Trident Common Jeff A. Menges
A 214 Mesa Pegasus Common Melissa Benson
24 Mind Twist Rare Julie Baroh
166 Mons's Goblin Raiders Common Jeff A. Menges
286 Mountain Land Douglas Schuler
A 263 Mox Emerald Rare Dan Frazier
A 264 Mox Jet Rare Dan Frazier
A 265 Mox Pearl Rare Dan Frazier
A 266 Mox Ruby Rare Dan Frazier
A 267 Mox Sapphire Rare Dan Frazier
121 Natural Selection Rare Mark Poole
C 25 Nether Shadow Rare Christopher Rush
26 Nettling Imp Uncommon Quinton Hoover
A 268 Nevinyrral's Disk Rare Mark Tedin
B 27 Nightmare Rare Melissa Benson
215 Northern Paladin Rare Douglas Schuler
269 Obsianus Golem Uncommon Jesper Myrfors
167 Orcish Artillery Uncommon Anson Maddocks
A 168 Orcish Oriflamme Uncommon Dan Frazier
A 28 Paralyze Common Anson Maddocks
B 216 Pearled Unicorn Common Cornelius Brudi
217 Personal Incarnation Rare Kev Brockschmidt
29 Pestilence Common Jesper Myrfors
B 68 Phantasmal Forces Uncommon Mark Poole
69 Phantasmal Terrain Common Dameon Willich
70 Phantom Monster Uncommon Jesper Myrfors
C 71 Pirate Ship Rare Tom Waenerstrand
30 Plague Rats Common Anson Maddocks
289 Plains Land Jesper Myrfors
292 Plateau Rare Drew Tucker
72 Power Leak Common Drew Tucker
73 Power Sink Common Richard Thomas
C 169 Power Surge Rare Douglas Schuler
74 Prodigal Sorcerer Common Douglas Schuler
75 Psionic Blast Uncommon Douglas Schuler
76 Psychic Venom Common Brian Snõddy
218 Purelace Rare Sandra Everingham
170 Raging River Rare Sandra Everingham
31 Raise Dead Common Jeff A. Menges
171 Red Elemental Blast Common Richard Thomas
B 219 Red Ward Uncommon Dan Frazier
122 Regeneration Common Quinton Hoover
B 123 Regrowth Uncommon Dameon Willich
220 Resurrection Uncommon Dan Frazier
221 Reverse Damage Rare Dameon Willich
222 Righteousness Rare Douglas Schuler
C 172 Roc of Kher Ridges Rare Andi Rusu
173 Rock Hydra Rare Jeff A. Menges
270 Rod of Ruin Uncommon Christopher Rush
32 Royal Assassin Rare Tom Waenerstrand
C 33 Sacrifice Uncommon Dan Frazier
223 Samite Healer Common Tom Waenerstrand
C 293 Savannah Rare Rob Alexander
C 224 Savannah Lions Rare Daniel Gelon
34 Scathe Zombies Common Jesper Myrfors
A 35 Scavenging Ghoul Uncommon Jeff A. Menges
294 Scrubland Rare Jesper Myrfors
124 Scryb Sprites Common Amy Weber
77 Sea Serpent Common Jeff A. Menges
174 Sedge Troll Rare Dan Frazier
36 Sengir Vampire Uncommon Anson Maddocks
Presumed destroyed 225 Serra Angel Uncommon Douglas Schuler
C 125 Shanodin Dryads Common Anson Maddocks
175 Shatter Common Amy Weber
A 176 Shivan Dragon Rare Melissa Benson
37 Simulacrum Uncommon Mark Poole
C 38 Sinkhole Common Sandra Everingham
78 Siren's Call Uncommon Anson Maddocks
C 79 Sleight of Mind Rare Mark Poole
177 Smoke Rare Jesper Myrfors
271 Sol Ring Uncommon Mark Tedin
C 272 Soul Net Uncommon Dameon Willich
80 Spell Blast Common Brian Snõddy
A 81 Stasis Rare Fay Jones
A 82 Steal Artifact Uncommon Amy Weber
178 Stone Giant Uncommon Dameon Willich
B 179 Stone Rain Common Daniel Gelon
C 126 Stream of Life Common Mark Poole
273 Sunglasses of Urza Rare Dan Frazier
295 Swamp Land Dan Frazier
B 226 Swords to Plowshares Uncommon Jeff A. Menges
298 Taiga Rare Rob Alexander
A 39 Terror Common Ron Spencer
A 274 The Hive Rare Sandra Everingham
A 127 Thicket Basilisk Uncommon Dan Frazier
83 Thoughtlace Rare Mark Poole
275 Throne of Bone Uncommon Anson Maddocks
A 128 Timber Wolves Rare Melissa Benson
276 Time Vault Rare Mark Tedin
A 84 Time Walk Rare Amy Weber
A 85 Timetwister Rare Mark Tedin
129 Tranquility Common Douglas Schuler
299 Tropical Island Rare Jesper Myrfors
130 Tsunami Uncommon Richard Thomas
300 Tundra Rare Jesper Myrfors
180 Tunnel Uncommon Dan Frazier
C 86 Twiddle Common Rob Alexander
181 Two-Headed Giant of Foriys Rare Anson Maddocks
B 301 Underground Sea Rare Rob Alexander
40 Unholy Strength Common Douglas Schuler
87 Unsummon Common Douglas Schuler
182 Uthden Troll Uncommon Douglas Schuler
C 131 Verduran Enchantress Rare Kev Brockschmidt
A 88 Vesuvan Doppelganger Rare Quinton Hoover
227 Veteran Bodyguard Rare Douglas Schuler
89 Volcanic Eruption Rare Douglas Schuler
A 302 Volcanic Island Rare Brian Snõddy
90 Wall of Air Uncommon Richard Thomas
41 Wall of Bone Uncommon Anson Maddocks
132 Wall of Brambles Uncommon Anson Maddocks
183 Wall of Fire Uncommon Richard Thomas
133 Wall of Ice Uncommon Richard Thomas
184 Wall of Stone Uncommon Dan Frazier
228 Wall of Swords Uncommon Mark Tedin
A 91 Wall of Water Uncommon Richard Thomas
134 Wall of Wood Common Mark Tedin
135 Wanderlust Uncommon Cornelius Brudi
C 136 War Mammoth Common Jeff A. Menges
42 Warp Artifact Rare Amy Weber
92 Water Elemental Uncommon Jeff A. Menges
A 43 Weakness Common Douglas Schuler
A 137 Web Rare Rob Alexander
A 185 Wheel of Fortune Rare Daniel Gelon
229 White Knight Uncommon Daniel Gelon
230 White Ward Uncommon Dan Frazier
138 Wild Growth Common Mark Poole
C 44 Will-O'-The-Wisp Rare Jesper Myrfors
277 Winter Orb Rare Mark Tedin
278 Wooden Sphere Uncommon Mark Tedin
45 Word of Command Rare Jesper Myrfors
A 231 Wrath of God Rare Quinton Hoover
A 46 Zombie Master Rare Jeff A. Menges

Summarizing

I need a ton of help. There are so many artworks, and collectors are reluctant at best in contacting me. What the project could use from you, the reader, player, and community member is this:

  • There are two major Alpha collectors still out there. Many people in the community know who they are. Show them this article please.
  • I could really use a bump from you talking about this project. Drumming up support shakes out trees of folks with one or two pieces.
  • If you know of an art gallery that would love to host part of the set with an exhibition, have them get in touch with me.
  • Collectors can be totally anonymous in the final study, but standards are in place to confirm on my end that the art is, in fact, in their possession.
  • The final “form” is unlikely to be a book, but rather a living document I could share with Wizards for the twenty-fifth anniversary in case something for art is planned.
  • If you have information on any specific piece, especially ones I have zero information on, please get in touch with me as soon as possible. I’m not hard to find online; use Google!

Thanks for reading!

- Mike


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