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The Art of Adam Rex

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I reached out to a collector I know who has the remainder of Adam Rex’s Magic original artworks. I know he’s trying to move a few, so being the friendly community member I am, I offered to help. He might not agree with me on all the prices, and that’s fine, but free advertising is kind of a big deal. These are mainly all minor works, with a few exceptions. Notice that you don’t see Woodfall Primus.

If you’re interested in any, find me on Twitter at @VorthosMike or by e-mailing me.

It will be a first-come, first-served, so move quickly if you want one!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Magic art is generally the size of a piece of paper—8.5" × 11"—or slightly smaller. Anything larger is worth more.
  • Creatures tend to be worth more than spells.
  • Prices are determined by the rough market. I suck at playing Standard, but I can price art. That’s a given.
  • Bidding wars on art throw pricing lists out the window. If someone wants something more than you do, that’s how we bring Chris Rahn’s Magic Online Black Lotus art up to $16,000 on eBay. It is then called “prize realized” at auction.
  • Passing the sofa test is a big deal. Read more about the test here. It’s basically being able to hang it in your house so your significant other or visitors will approve.
  • Original art is often cheaper than you think. People generally just think of high-profile, iconic cards as the norm. Card art isn’t normally above $1,000. In fact, it’s quite rare to see art fetch four-figure amounts. You just only hear about those because people are aghast at them. Most art is under $500, considering there are over ten thousand cards.
  • I’m always willing to explain why something is in the pricing range it is. Just ask.

Agonizing Memories

Seventh Edition, Tenth Edition

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $250–$350

This image could be reprinted with ease in another core set. That said, I don’t think people realize this card is around. Tenth Edition was the last core set before the population explosion with Zendikar. Is this a Commander bomb? Is it a weird Plow Under variant that no one knows about?

Cognivore

Odyssey

12-1/2" × 9-1/2"

Oil on paper

Range: $200–$300

This is a weird card. It’s a rare, but it’s an 8-drop from a set over a decade ago with no reprints. If you have a dog that looks like the ’Goyf here, it’s an utter win. The other person who would want this is a Lhurgoyf art collector, which I’m not sure even exists.

Consume Strength

Apocalypse, Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $200–$350

Oh yeah, I remember this card. It was a blowout card in Limited and a serious beast in the Duels of the Planeswalker Golgari deck. Combat-trick original art doesn’t normally fetch giant prices due to people not playing it much in Eternal formats. Basically, if it can make it into a Legacy deck, it will fetch a high value. There are only a few pump spells that cross the threshold into expensive art, and they’re all snapped up: Berserk, Giant Growth, and the like.

Famished Ghoul

Apocalypse, Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $150–$300

This is a small image from a set over a decade ago, with no Standard Constructed (called Type II then) playability. It hasn’t been reprinted, and its ability was needed for Odyssey’s graveyard theme. Yes, this could be put on eBay, but it’ll sit there a long, long time if it’s at $400. I mean . . . probably forever. I would try to find a similar piece and make a little Spirit–Zombie situation if that’s your jam. I’d look at a piece that feels similar, such as Graveborn Muse by Kev Walker, Andrew Robinson’s Howling Banshee, Loch Korrigan by Daarken, or Plagued Rusalka by Alex Horley-Orlandelli. Some pieces “gain” value and prominence by association. So if you could get a deal on this, you get a twofer in the near future for the total cost of one Magic piece: $150 or $200 + $200 = Bingo bango.

Mass Hysteria

Mirrodin

14" × 11"

Oil on paper

Range: $400–$600

This is one of those speculation artworks. This is a powerful, cheap ability that could be an utter house in a future Commander preconstructed deck. Add that point to a larger-than-average artwork, and it’s actually worth more! It’s not worth a ton now, but it’s a niche card and ability. If you’re a Goblin collector, this is bread-and-butter art for you.

Mind Extraction

Apocalypse

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $200–$400

So, you can sacrifice a Transguild Courier and have any Commander player discard his or her nonland cards in hand? Seems good.

Crovax was a Weatherlight crewmember, but those characters were on nearly every card during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Their legendary creature cards are what’re worth a ton of cash, not necessarily the spells they’re all on, which is unfortunate. People want the original: the card that represents the character the closest.

Also, this doesn’t pass the sofa test.

Mind Rot

Seventh Edition

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $250–$450

It has an angel! Those angel art collectors really need to start looking at black cards. There are angels more than the bald Fallen Angels!

Bonus points if you know what angel that is referencing. Double-bonus if you know the mage . . .

It’s not the Mind Rot we all know from core sets, so the ceiling is a bit of glass for the art.

Nim Mural (Devourer, Lasher, Shrieker, and Shambler)

Mirrodin

23" × 17" image; painting is 21" × 16"

Oil on paper

Range: $1,200–$1,600

I love panoramas. I own three of them and plan on obtaining more soon. Wizards called this set a mural.

It’s the only piece that has four separate cards on one painting. Normally, panoramas—those having four or more depictions—are four lands, and they’re often the same thing, such as four Forests or the like. There are a few exceptions, such as the Plains panorama with the Snow-Covered Plains, but it’s crazy-rare.

This piece is just two commons, one uncommon, and a rare that aren’t played really at all. That said, if you want an incredible piece of Magic history, this one is a cool one. I feel it could turn over a few times after people realize, well, these are Nim Zombies. Do I love them? Maybe? Get them if you love it, not because it’s unique or worth a lot.

Organ Grinder

Torment

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $200–$350

Yes, this card was utterly nerfed by the creative team at the time. I love the more conceptual cards, and this piece loses a lot of its life by removing them. I wish more artworks had the whimsy. That’s what the game is missing. Flavor texts are serious, as are the artworks. That’s what people are angry about when they say, “Everything is digital these days.” They want the deviations.

I like this piece. It’s not for me, but I can understand someone wanting it. It’s strange but very cool.

Orzhov Pontiff

Guildpact

12" × 9"

Oil on paper

Range: $500–$750

In all the Return to Ravnica–block situation, Gruul was the guild I heard the least from. So many Izzet people were proud of being U/R, as were the Boros folk proud of their colors. I didn’t hear much from Orzhov, though I know those people are out there. This is an iconic Orzhov image. A big Orzhov human with church windows as a larger-than-average size should fetch a better-than-average price. Considering so much of the Gatecrash art was digital, finding a good Orzhov image is actually quite difficult. Culling Sun by Daren Bader might be cheaper, but it feels like Orzhov to me. Getting that art and this one would be an incredible one-two punch for under $1,000. Rock a payment plan, and by end of the summer, you could have a good little theme going.

Pay No Heed

Torment, Magic 2014 Core Set, Duel Decks: Heroes vs. Monsters

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $200–$400

WHAT’S GOING ON BACK THERE?

WHY DOES SHE HAVE A BONE SWORD?

There’s so much strangeness in this piece, but it’s been reprinted a few times and depicts a pretty awesome soldier woman. I think a friend of mine would be interested in this. She digs badass women in Magic art.

Persuasion

Odyssey with this art, Tenth Edition with new art

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $400–$600

I forgot about this art.

I miss Cephalids. They were just a cool take on octopuses. I could see this sitting in someone’s Cube or Commander deck, bumping its value slightly.

The original is much lighter, which was not uncommon during this time. The printer would print everything so dark back then. I’m not sure why. Maybe that’s the topic for a future Arcana article by Trick Jarrett.

Shield Wall

Seventh Edition

10-1/2" × 8-1/2"

Oil on paper

Range: $300–$500

This is a rather strong artwork on an unfortunately-bad combat trick.

I really hate when that happens. So often, people assume the best rares receive the best artists and therefore the best art. It’s a common misconception.

This is a case for which the art demands a higher price point, but the card is so bad that collectors will lowball this art. The problem is that those lowball offers are probably going to be the only offers on the art.

If I wanted anything off this list, it’d be this one.

Skulltap

Scourge

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $250–$400

There are probably one to two collectors who will really, really want this. To time it right, the collector selling this should find those people and start a bidding war. I know the person who owns the Braids, Cabal Minion, and maybe he would want this. Maybe.

Remember when I mentioned the Weatherlight crew being on everything? Well, the Planeswalkers of today aren’t on that many cards anymore. Putting heroes on everything was quite common back in the day with the old art director Jeremy Cranford. I’m not sure why though.

One can see why Chandra has goggles, you know?

Somber Hoverguard

Mirrodin

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $100–$300

Yes, this piece should sell. But don’t kid yourself—with no background to speak of at all and a super-weird character, this isn’t a sleeper hit. This is one that sits on eBay a long, long time. It might sell at the $300-or-best-offer price point, but it’ll take many answers of “no” because a $150 bid is accepted. Add that to the eBay fees, and you’re better off charging $100 and making the buyer pay for shipping. Sorry, but it is what it is.

Soul Feast

Seventh Edition, Eighth Edition, Ninth Edition, Tenth Edition

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $300–$500

Soul Feast has multiple reprints and it will probably have a future reprint as well. It shows a pretty uncommitted location in the art, so it could be used and reused again and again.

Sparring Golem

Invasion

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $150–$300

I could repeat myself with Somber Hoverguard here, but with one difference: If someone were into Ian Miller’s work, such as Horrible Hordes, this could fit in that collection. It’s still a super-niche card, but it could fit in that weird, steam-punky, Ian Miller–type artwork collection.

Sparkcaster

Planeshift

12" × 10"

Oil on paper

Range: $300–$600

This card could so easily be reprinted in a Commander preconstructed deck in a bounce or return-to-hand strategy. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised. This could fill a role in your hundred cards if needed, and it’s also a bloodthirst-activating card.

It’s a weird monster and an old-school favorite—and a Kavu to boot. Add that it’s slightly larger than average in size, and it could be a sleeper worth more than a cheap minor artwork should be.

Urborg Uprising

Apocalypse

10" × 8"

Oil on paper

Range: $100–$250

Do you like weird? Do you want weird? This is weird.

Everyone often argues how “the art back in the day was awesome” and often refer to Foglio-type humor in the work. People forget about just the weirdness that sometimes came from a more open style guide with just suggestions. Here is one example. It’s not good or bad; it’s just rather different. Some people dig that.

The problem is when the weird art is on unplayable cards. Then, the artist is hosed. No one is asking to have those cards signed. No one is asking for those artist proofs or prints. So perhaps, with a stronger style guide and more art direction, fewer outliers are happening, but the soul—the standalone images—are becoming duller. It’s a tradeoff indeed, and I’m still not sure if one is correct over the other.

Centaur Token

Odyssey for Magic Online

10" × 9"

Oil on paper

Range: $300–$500

Thanks to the guys at MagicLibrarities.net for the token image.

Considering we’re right in the middle of a Greek-themed set, this Centaur is so spot-on.

It’s a beautiful image, and without the card context, it would look amazing in a Teddy Roosevelt room. I love the library room in the house where the Magic cards are located. Maybe there’s a map on the wall with a globe in it. I’d like to think there is an area of more refined taste that this would fit in perfectly.

Box Art Set of Shadowmoor

Shadowmoor

18" × 17"

Oil on paper

Range: $1250–$1750

I love the Fat Pack images. Ones with really popular legendary creatures or angels fetch in the thousands of dollars. I really think the Lorwyn/Morningtide/Shadowmoor/Eventide time of Magic receives so little love. The art is utterly incredible, not unlike The Dark, but the cards don’t have an overall power level above the norm. If The Dark was Jesper Myrfors’s set, these four mini-sets are Jeremy Jarvis’s.

I love this art, but a lot of people find it childish or unfitting for Magic.

It’s a shocker to no one that brand imaging and more market research popped up right after these blocks. One can’t have too much art fun, after all.

This is a big piece, and I hope someone will eventually acquire it. These things are beautiful.

Bonus List

Mark’s Comics and Collectibles just dropped Richard Kane Ferguson’s remaining art. The store is acting as the artist’s broker for the art. The list is below, but keep in mind that the list will be shorter every minute, and I’m fairly certain these prices aren’t hard, but you can find out if you’d like! The website is here.

Vodalian Soldiers

    • Elvish Farmer – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Fallen Empires, $2,800.00
    • Mindstab Thrull – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Fallen Empires, $2,200.00
    • Basal Thrull – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Fallen Empires, $2,400.00
    • Vodalian Soldiers – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Fallen Empires, $2,400.00
    • Kjeldoran Phalanx – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Ice Age, $2,500.00
    • Farrel's Zealot – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Fallen Empires $2,200.00
    • Essence Flare – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Ice Age, $4,000.00
    • Goblin War Drums – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Fallen Empires, $4,000.00
    • Rootbreaker Wurm – 9" × 7-3/4". Watercolor on bristol. Tempest and Ninth Edition, $2,500.00
    • Tropical Storm – 9" × 7-3/4". Watercolor on bristol. Mirage, $2,200.00
    • Dingus Staff – 9" × 7-3/4". Watercolor on bristol. Weatherlight, $2,200.00
    • Watchdog – 7" × 5-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Tempest, $2,500.00
    • Dream Prowler – 11" × 9-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Stronghold, $2,500.00
    • Pyrrhic Revival – 13-1/2" × 9". Watercolor on bristol. Eventide, $2,600.00

Glass Asp

  • Glass Asp – 9" × 7-1/2". Watercolor and acrylic on bristol. Time Spiral, $2,200.00
  • Batwing Brume – 13-1/2" × 9". Watercolor and acrylic on bristol. Eventide, $2,300.00
  • Recall – 9" × 7-1/2". Watercolor on bristol paper. Fifth Edition, $7,000.00
  • Flux – 11" × 9-1/2". Watercolor on bristol. Weatherlight, $6,500.00
  • Jade Monolith – 9" × 7-3/4". Watercolor on bristol. Fifth Edition and Sixth Edition, $2,500.00
  • Wild Swing – 13" × 9". Watercolor, India ink, and acrylic on Strathmore watercolor paper. Shadowmoor, $2,300.00
  • Everlasting Torment – 13" × 9". Watercolor and light acrylic glazes on Strathmore paper. Shadowmoor, $2,500.00
  • Arcane Denial #1 (#2 was sold) – 8" × 6". Watercolor on bristol paper. Alliances, $4,000.00
  • Consign to Dream – 13" × 9". Watercolor, pen and ink, and acrylic on Strathmore paper. Shadowmoor, $2,300.00
  • EarthlinkIce Age, $2,400.00

 

Wrapping Up

I need a column name. I polled from folks on Twitter and come up with this short list.

[poll id="325"]

Coming up soon, I’ll be discussing must-know misprint information and some info from test prints, and I’ll have a larger charity template article!

- Mike

P.S. Alpha Original Art Project: Find an Alpha, help the project. “Get Magic art into a museum exhibition,” you say? This is how.


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