In 2020, I wrote an article that it was time to consider buying video game box art. I thought about it again when I noticed a painting offered at HA with a vague resemblance to Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Initially, I thought it was movie poster art such as the Drew Struzan paintings I blogged about. Upon further review, I found that HA features several original paintings for box art in their upcoming Video Games Signature Auction.
Video Game Box Art for Sale
Mick McGinty, Frank Cirocco, Robert Florczak, Greg Winters: to be honest, I had never heard of any of these guys before noticing the game art for sale a couple days ago. If you are familiar with their work, that could give you a leg up on getting a good deal. About twenty paintings originating from video game boxes will sell in January. Some are for game systems like Nintendo and Sega, while others were created for ancient computers like the Commodore 64 or the “PC”. The Prince of Persia piece was for a Broderbund computer game.
Die Hard and Others by McGinty
It’s nice to see the original art next to the art integrated on the box. McGinty’s Die Hard art looks more dramatic integrated on the box. That game sold at HA for $720 in 2020. I would expect the art to garner fifteen to twenty thousand dollars. Perhaps more if bid on by fans of Bruce Willis or Christmas movies’;)’. The caveat is that I think game art will sell higher than other previous McGinty sales.
Several pieces from McGinty, who died in 2021, sold this year in the range from $600 to $2,600. Those works were used in movie posters/ads and book covers.
Several McGinty video game pieces are offered including art from Streets of Rage 2 and Mass Destruction. Of course, the underlying popularity of the game affects bidder enthusiasm. A recent sale of Mass Destruction for PS1 only fetched $84 at HA.
The painting that jumps out at me is a preliminary work featuring the primary characters of Star Trek the Next Generation. That’s an awesome piece similar to the works of Keith Birdsong, who also passed somewhat recently.
A Game I Remember: Bionic Commando
My brother owned the game Bionic Commando for his NES. I’m not a gamer, but this is one I remember. High-grade sales of the Nintendo game in 2021 ranged from $5,000 to nearly $8,000. I expect the one-of-a-kind original cover painting by Frank Cirocco to go much higher. Fans of Cirocco may have also seen his work on Alien Legion.
Past Video Game Box Art Sales
Here are two names familiar to me: Boris Vallejo and Simon Bisley. Boris is well known for his fantasy paintings, often appearing on book covers. Bisley excels in his Lobo art as well as other comic book works.
This Boris painting for Golden Axe II sold way back in 2007 for $3,585. Considering someone bought a copy of the Sega Genesis game last April for $7,800, that art is worth a LOT more today.
Maybe you can see Lobo in Simon Bisley’s Fur Fighter. Either way this art sold in 2017 for just over $2,000. I think that is a good indication of how the market for video game box art has changed. Check out the actual Fur Fighter video game to see the interesting image cropping done by the box designer.
For all collectibles, it’s good to make a cautionary note. In January 2022, HA offered the first Madden game from Sega (in cardboard box) they had ever offered. It sold for just a hair under half a million dollars. It was first and it was from “the offices of John Madden”. However, a HIGHER grade copy sold in September. Speaking of ‘hair’, it had a 75% haircut selling for only $120,000. A third, lower-grade copy is coming to Auction this January. Interestingly, an Apple II very first Madden from a year prior is also for sale in this auction.
I’d be curious to know the relative demand for “computer” games vs. those created for game systems like Nintendo and Sega. The Cautionary note: are market conditions impacting market prices? Alternatively, do people recognize there is an unknown supply in closets, storage units, etc.
Video Game Box Art Boss Level
Like encountering “the boss” for the first time, I’m not sure what to expect in the video game box art market. After all, (1) there’s not that many past art sales to reference, and (2) the impact of the economy provides a huge unknown. Nonetheless, with all original art, uniqueness creates a big advantage over mass-produced collectibles. And consider that a Tom & Jerry painting for the Ultimate Game of Cat and Mouse (NES) sold for $18,600 in 2021. So, someone is paying up for this stuff.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.
Prince of Persia: Unbelievable $63,000 for the Robert Florczak art
Die Hard: Less than I expected final price of $6,000 for the McGinty art
Star Trek Next Generation: $2,880 for the unused art, very nice price for the buyer IMO
Bionic Commando: $45,600 which I feel is deserving for a big name game
John Madden Apple II game: Only $4,800, while this is NOT a high grade copy, it seems to me that the first version of John Madden football should command a huge premium. Perhaps a higher grade copy is coming to auction that will blow away the $480,000 spent on the cardboard box edition.
For anyone interested in learning more about original video game art, here are two resources:
Video game art Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/502536466816380
Gallery and resource site OVGA: http://www.originalvideogameart.com