December 2022 has been host to several landmark sales on the MTG Art Market of early and important Magic: the Gathering original paintings, each finishing in in a fashion more fabulous than that preceding.

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On Saturday December 4th, the original painting for Ebony Charm by Gerry Grace sold for $15,000 on the MTG Art Market. The acrylic on board painting measures 17.5 inches by 13.5 inches, and was auctioned by Pat Robinson on behalf of the artist. The auction also included the preliminary drawing and unconstructed box featuring the artwork, and the suite is only the second Grace painting to be publicly offered in the forum. It received steady bidding action, both public and private, over the five day auction, and was eventually sold to a private bidder.

The next day on Sunday December 5, 2021, Asmira, Holy Avenger by Rebecca Guay sold for $13,000. It was auctioned by Guy Coulson on behalf of the current owner, a previous Wizards of the Coast employee who had owned the work continually since the 1990s. The work of watercolor, gouache, and pencil on hardboard measures 9 inches by 7.5 inches, and was framed to a size of 13.25 inches by 11.75 inches. It opened at $2,500, but considerable public and private interest chased the price realized to the teenage peak, selling to a private bidder on the final day.

The following weekend began with the sale of Divine Offering by Jeff Menges, which sold for just under $10,000 on Saturday, December 11th, 2021. Also from the Legends expansion, it was being sold for the first time since it was acquired from the artist in 1997. The painting is acrylic on 2mm thick cold press illustration board, and resides in the same frame that was made by the artist himself. The auction was conducted by Mitchel Kwiatkoski of TokyoMTG and run in JPY. The unusual currency didn’t hinder bidders in the slightest, and the final bid stood at 1,099,000 JPY, or approximately $9,726.

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The next day brought the auction hammer for Wheel of Fortune by John Matson, which achieved the highest of the December auctions at $70,000 on Sunday, December 12, 2021. The 8 inch by 11 inch painting (framed to 17 inches by 20 inches) was sold by Vorthos Mike on behalf of an anonymous collector who purchased the work directly from Matson in 2013. This is only the second artwork ever for the card, which is played across formats and perhaps one of the most widely played cards in the game. After an incredible battle, the painting finished at $70,000, one of the highest prices realized this entire year.

The last work sold (as of the writing of this article) was that for Isochron Scepter by Mark Harrison, which sold by way of private offer to an anonymous collector for $29,000 on December 14, 2021. This 9.5 inch by 7.5 inch acrylic artwork was actually commissioned in 1997 for Null Rod, and was slushed until more than five years later when it found a new home of the ever-popular card from Mirrodin. It had been in the collection of Will Larson for some time, and Larson made note that 5% of the sale price would be going back to the original artist once the transaction was finalized.

Wrapping Up

Five notable paintings in less than two weeks time, selling for more than $125,000 combined, is not something we see regularly in the MTG Art Market. It’s uncertain as to the cause of this short run of vintage paintings coming to market. This could be a matter of timing, in between sets with no new works to compete with, or could signal the beginning of another floodgate in the continually rising tide of original paintings for the game. Only time will tell, so stay tuned to Hipsters of the Coast for all your Art Market Minute news.

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