On Sunday, January 5th, 2020 the original painting for Milivoj Ćeran’s Cauldron Familiar was sold on the MTG Art Market for a meowzing $5,800! Two other related piece were also sold, with the original sketch selling for $1,000, and the thumbnail sheet for $750, respectively.

Cauldron Familiar by Milivoj Ćeran, acrylic and airbursh on paper, 14.5” x 19.7”

Cauldron Familiar by Milivoj Ćeran is a work of acrylic and airbrush on paper measuring 14.5 inches by 19.7 inches. It was commissioned for Magic’s Throne of Eldraine, and has created quite the splash in the milk bowl as a card played in the Standard format. It is a core piece of a two card combo known as Cat-Oven and finds itself a staple within a deck making its rounds in high-level Magic tournaments.

The auction was run by the artist on the MTG Art Market and lasted for three days. All three auctions ran concurrently. The artist set the opening bid at $1,600, but a collector bidding publically in the comments bid $5,000 immediately, within the same minute time stamp. Two and a half hours later, the same bidder raised his own bid to $5,500. The bid was raised by a second bidder to $5,550, only to be topped within the hour by the original bidder at $5,600.

The night before the last day of the auction, a bid of $5,800 was placed by a third contender, seen by others participating in the auction, but then at some point shortly thereafter deleted. It was reentered and rebid with an apology, and by Sunday morning the auction had resumed as normal. That $5,800 would be the final raise, and win the piece.

The other two simultaneous sales had considerably less drama but no less bidding action. The sketch auction had ten unique bidders, and it was a $240 increase from $760 to $1,000 that captured the cat for a public bidder.

The thumbnail sheet had almost as many bidders and a similar bidding fervor, eventually selling for an impressive $750 to a different public bidder. All three artworks were won by different collectors.

Ćeran waited until 2020 to sell all of his Throne of Eldraine work, and in this case, it really paid off. The combination of a fantastically painted artwork, a (now) highly played card, and a beloved animal in the black cat allowed for an excellent set of auctions. The artist said this was the highest price ever paid for one of his paintings, and this sale and painting will stand out as a highlight from this set.

About the Artist

Milivoj Ćeran has painted 33 cards for Magic as of the writing of this article, including two for Magic’s newest set, Theros Beyond Death. The Croatian illustrator always creates at least three traditional components for each of his MTG pieces, and his attention to and rendering of detail is one of the sharpest in the game. He is now a regular artistic inclusion on most every Magic product.

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