1962 Topps Mars Attacks Original Artwork for Card #9 - The Human Torch

Sold For: $11,750

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1645

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Presented is the original painting to card #9 from the 1962 Topps "Mars Attacks" set, entitled The Human Torch. In this gruesome scene, the Martians' saucers are flying above the city, scouting for signs of life, and releasing a deadly ray to burn the armed soldiers on the streets, while the soldiers desperately try to fight back with their primitive bazookas. A soldier in the foreground is engulfed in flames and is screaming in pain while the bodies of fellow soldiers, also in flames, lay strewn about the landscape in the background, burning, and the high rise buildings of the city the soldiers are hopelessly attempting to protect are in flames, smoking and smoldering in the distant background. It is easy to see that this is exactly the type of card in the "Mars Attacks" set that created so much outrage among parents at the time. Looking closely, one has to wonder exactly how this card, and this entire set, ever got marketed and sold to kids. This painting is the work of the legendary Norm Saunders. The artwork includes additional image area which was cropped out by Topps on the issued card. Original "Mars Attacks" artworks are, of course, extremely rare. Auction records for original "Mars Attacks" paintings exceed $20,000. Robert Edward Auctions has been fortunate to offer a total of five "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 card numbers 5, 23, and 42), which sold for $29,000, $19,720, and $20,880 respectively. In 2009, we sold the original artwork to the iconic card #1 The "Invasion Begins" for $82,250. Theoretically all exist, but only a few examples have ever come to the marketplace over the years. The images from the "Mars Attacks" set have been ingrained into the consciousness of our popular culture, and have had a lasting impact not only on the youth of the early 1960s, but on all generations since. Every painting in the set is a classic. The excessively graphic, violent image on this card makes it one of the set's most horrifying cards (and we mean that as a good thing). The offered example has been locked away in a major collection for decades. It has never before been offered at auction. It is a special privilege for us to be able to offer any original "Mars Attacks" artwork. The artwork (5.5 x 3.75 inches) has normal production-related remnants on the reverse and is otherwise is in Near Mint to Mint condition. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000. SOLD FOR $11,750

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