1962 Topps Mars Attacks Original Artwork for Card #1 "The Invasion Begins"
Starting Bid - $15,000, Sold For - $82,250
Presented is the most extraordinary nonsport artwork we could ever hope to present, the best and the most historically significant Topps nonsport artwork in existence, and an artwork that arguably represents the heart and soul of all Topps nonsport artworks: The original painting for the iconic card #1 "The Invasion Begins" of the Mars Attacks set! This is the card that started it all. This is the artwork that launched the entire Mars Attacks phenomenon. This is the original painting to the most famous image of the entire Mars Attacks set. The iconic image on this painting represents the set in both the card-collecting world and in the larger world of American pop culture.
The Mars Attacks set issued by Topps needs no introduction. The artwork from the set in card form has been ingrained into the consciousness of popular culture, and has had a lasting impact not only on the youth of the early 1960s, but on all generations since. Collectors have long appreciated the cards as the most significant and classic nonsport issue of the era. The extraordinary artwork, created by Norm Saunders, distinguishes this set as the most highly regarded of all nonsport Topps card issues. We have long known the whereabouts of the artwork to the famous card #1 "The Invasion Begins." For years we have made countless calls to request the honor of presenting it at auction. We finally got a "yes." It is a special honor to offer this painting, which is one of the true Holy Grails of all nonsport original artwork. It is unlikely that we will ever have a more important nonsport artwork. Any original Mars Attacks artwork is an incredible find, but the card #1 "The Invasion Begins" painting is the best, most historically significant, and the most iconic image of all.
The image on the artwork speaks for itself. Only thirteen of the fifty-five artworks that comprise the set even feature a Martian. But the significance of this artwork is far greater, both literally and figuratively illustrating the launch of the story of "Mars Attacks!" It is the most famous card in the set, and at a glance provides the introduction to the Mars Attacks card set and the story the set tells.
Original Mars Attacks artworks are, of course, extremely rare. Theoretically all Mars Attacks original paintings exist, but only a few examples have ever come to the marketplace. Auction records for original Mars Attacks paintings exceed $30,000. Robert Edward Auctions has been fortunate to offer a total of four Mars Attacks original artworks over the years. In 2004, we sold the painting for card #25 for $37,375. In 2006, we had the privilege of offering three Mars Attacks artworks (for cards numbers 5, 23, and 42), which sold for $29,000, $19,720, and $20,880 respectively. We have not had one since.
"The Invasion Begins" original painting has never before been offered for sale privately or at auction. It has been locked away unseen and unknown to the formal collecting world for decades. The owner is not a nonsport card or art collector. The painting was inherited by our consignor over thirty years ago from his father, who had a very significant personal connection to both Norm Saunders and the Mars Attacks set. It had been given to him as a special keepsake and has remained in the family ever since. The painting has always been saved and carefully preserved these many years precisely because the family has always appreciated its enormous significance. Eventually the time comes when an owner decides to sell items simply to make sure they are appreciated and fall into the right hands. Such is the case here. The value of Mars Attacks paintings, like all original artwork, is very subjective. This is a priceless painting, in our opinion, a true treasure that has a far greater significance both to card collecting and to popular culture than perhaps any other original nonsport card artwork. All Mars Attacks artworks are masterpieces, but this one is the most extraordinary and important of all. We will always look back and remember the presentation of this painting at auction as one of the single most extraordinary nonsport items that we could ever have hoped to offer. It is a true privilege to document the existence of the original Mars Attacks painting to card #1 "The Invasion Begins" and to present it to the collecting world in this auction. The artwork (5.5 x 3.75 inches) has normal production-related remnants on the reverse and is otherwise in Near Mint to Mint condition. Reserve $15,000. Estimate $30,000+. SOLD FOR $82,250