20th-Century Original "Mad Magazine" Artwork
Appraised Value: $20,000
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (2:36)
GUEST: I have a few, uh, pieces of art here. This is a Norman Mingo, as well as these two right here. And then I have a scrapbook here from my father. He was the art director at "Mad" magazine from 1956 until 1980, when he died. And they had a roast for him in 1976, in which all the artists at "Mad" magazine contributed something. Most of it was art, and there was some writing, too.
APPRAISER 1: Well, this is one of the most famous of all the "Mad" magazine covers. It's a bicentennial cover and it's a takeoff, of course, on the famous Gilbert Stuart painting, and it's by Norman Mingo, who was the cover artist for almost all of the "Mad" magazine covers over the years. So how did your father acquire it? Was this part of the going-away present?
GUEST: Uh, no, this... I think he acquired this at another time. This wasn't the actual one that made it on the cover. He painted this one first, and he painted it with the green background. And then Bill Gaines, the publisher, decided that he wanted something brighter, so he had to repaint it with a red background, which is what you see on the cover.
APPRAISER 1: One of those great historic rejects.
APPRAISER 2: Yes.
APPRAISER 1: It's fantastic. And you have here a Jack Davis. That's from his roast. And here's a Don Martin.
APPRAISER 2: And here we have a... I think, a wonderful double portrait here-- Uncle Sam and Mrs. Sam.
APPRAISER 1: Are these... are these pastels?
APPRAISER 2: Yes, they're pastels.
GUEST: Right, those are preliminary sketches.
APPRAISER 2: And they're all signed?
APPRAISER 1: "Mad" magazine unloaded its archives. It must be about six or eight years ago, they had two major auctions in New York, where the prices of all the original artwork, similar to this material. The prices have just gone crazy. And over the last few years, other pieces have been creeping out onto the market-- pieces from the artists' own collection, pieces that had been given away over the time-- and the prices keep on escalating.
APPRAISER 2: Oh, yes, by far. They just had a sale not too long ago where some of these "Mad" magazine covers went for quite a bit of money. Have you ever had this appraised?
GUEST: Uh, no, I haven't.
APPRAISER 1: Jerry and I have been going back and forth, and were talking to an appraiser here who does illustration art, and we've come up with a very preliminary opening figure. Like, if this was to go to an auction, your reserve-- that is, the price below which you would not sell it-- would be in the $20,000 range.
GUEST: Okay. Wow.
APPRAISER 1: Because it's a fabulous collection of artwork.
APPRAISER 2: And I really think and I need to stress that that is sort of a conservative estimate of value. I think that it certainly could go up from that point. Do you not agree?
APPRAISER 1: Oh yeah, that's why I said it was a reserve, it would be your opening bid, sure.
APPRAISER 2: A magazine that I wasted a lot of my youth on.
APPRAISER 1: Didn't we all?
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