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  • February 13, 2024 7 min read 0 Comments

    Murders at Karlov Manor may have just released last week, but artwork from the murder mystery / detective themed set has been hitting the market for weeks now! As soon as a card is spoiled, the artist has the green light to post their physical artwork associated with that card for sale. This is how I ended up with the sketch of Demand Answers so early in spoiler season—I purchased the sketch back on December 11th. With the set just now hitting store shelves, this must have been one of the first cards or pieces of art spoiled from the set!

    Since December, there are more pieces of art from the set than I can easily count! Spoiler season is when you’ll see the most pieces hit the Facebook marketplace, but even after set release you’ll see new pieces trickle in here and there. This leads to a steady flow of new art to bid on, purchase, and appreciate—it’s truly nonstop.

    In fact, this is what led me to one of my most valuable understandings of the original art market: no matter what happens with a given auction, there’s always another piece of art. I have seen a number of highly desirable pieces slip away as their auction prices exceed my modest budget. Rather than get discouraged, I hold solace in the fact that I know there will be another amazing piece right around the corner.

    A Survey of Recent Original Magic Art sales from Murders at Karlov Manor

    If you’re new to the Magic art market (like I was, not even a year ago), or if you’re unfamiliar with the MTG Original Art Facebook group, you may be curious to learn what types of pieces from Murders at Karlov Manor have sold and for how much. This week I want to do a survey of these data. Keep in mind there were dozens of pieces that sold, between sketches and final art, so I won’t be able to report on every single one. My goal will be to hit the highlights—those pieces that caught my eye for one reason or another.

    Red Herring: $2250

    red herring original art

    This card art may receive the award for “most amusing” pun. In detective world, a red herring is a clue or piece of information that is intended to be misleading or distracting. Iris Compiet’s art for the Red Herring Murders at Karlov Manor magic card shows a picture of a literal [mechanized?] red herring fish! That’s pretty clever if you ask me! While technically, this piece is impressive with the features on the robotic fish and movement of the waterfall, I don’t know if this fits the theme above many living room couches. Still, the painting was listed at $2250 and received the opening bid needed to sell!

    Macabre Reconstruction: $2500

    macabre reconstruction original art

    This card has already contributed to multiple losses of mine in Limited play. Being able to rebuy two creatures can be key in a grindy game. I love the purple coloring in this dark piece of art. The swirls look like a skull or person’s face—I assume this is on purpose, and it’s extremely clever! This one received one bid to open, and that ended up being the final price. If it was a little more couch friendly, I would have considered making a bid, but I knew this one would get vetoed by my spouse so I will have to appreciate the piece on my computer screen instead.

    Prisoners’ Dilemma: $2800

    prisoner's dilemma original art

    While in college, I took an entire course on Game Theory—it was one of the most fascinating classes I enrolled in in my educational career. We studied decision trees and concepts that predicted outcomes of both sequential and simultaneous “games.” The Prisoners’ Dilemma is a classic example that comes up over and over again in the course. This card, inspired by the classic problem, is perfect in how it’s written, and Serena Malyon’s artwork really brings the concept to life! I love how the two figures are trying to keep each other silent while also holding weapons behind their back, ready to strike! The coloring is fantastic—my favorite part is the shadow from the bars they must be behind in their cell. It’s very well done, and the auction received multiple bids before ending at $2800.

    Ezrim, Agency Chief: $3500

    ezrim original magic art

    The colors and detail in this painting by Jason Engle are so vibrant and impressive! From the background structure, to the detail and shading on every feather, this piece really brings the figure to life in a way that only the most talented artists can do. I also have a small connection to this card, in that I trophied a draft with it in my deck—what a powerful bomb! This painting also received just an opening bid, and sold for $3500. I can’t pretend to be able to predict the trajectory of these prices, but if I had to bet, I would guess that this one will be worth more in the future. It’s a legendary creature on a powerful, rare Magic card and the piece is stunning!

    Kylox, Visionary Inventor: $3700

    kylox original art mtg

    Tyler Walpole created an impressive, dynamic painting for this Murders at Karlov Manor card. Is it weird that I find the expression on this dinosaur’s face rather amusing? They appear to be in shock as they work the controls on some gadget that is generating / using electricity. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I can still appreciate the coloring and details on this high-quality piece. The auction started with a relatively low opening bid, $1500, before receiving many more bids and ending at $3700!

    Private Eye: $4000

    private eye original art

    I’m glad that the card name puns didn’t end after Wilds of Eldraine. Private Eye depicting a cyclops with a giant eyeball has to be one of the more amusing jokes in Murders at Karlov Manor. Silly names aside, this artwork by Vincent Christiaens contains impressive detail both on the central figure as well as the surrounding environment. The flask they’re holding looks like a gorgeously crafted, valuable piece. The clothes they’re wearing contain so many painstaking details, and even the color/texture of their skin is impressive. The homunculus detective received multiple well-deserved bids before arriving at the final $4000 price.

    Merchant of Truth: $6000

    Merchant of truth original art

    The wound is still a little fresh with this stunning piece by Carissa Susilo. This art is my favorite in the entire Murders at Karlov Manor set. I’ve always had a soft spot for angels, but the fact that this one has black wings and the black head piece makes her dark and intriguing in a way that some angel artwork doesn’t capture. The stained glass style background is also beautiful. It’s no surprise that this piece received numerous bids (likely a bit of a bidding war took place) and the auction ended as highly as it did!

    Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact: $7900

    nivmizzet original art

    Here’s an example of a special printing of a card selling at auction: this Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact art shows up on the showcase printing specifically. It may be a little less recognizable as a result, but it certainly is no less incredible! Everyone familiar with Magic’s story is familiar with Niv-Mizzet, and it’s exciting to see him make another appearance in the newest set. It’s no surprise this auction also saw many bids before arriving at the final sale price, just shy of $8000!

    Aurelia’s Vindicator: $8000

    aurelia's original magic art

    Speaking of angels, Aurelia’s Vindicator, by Victor Adame Minguez, is one of the more expensive pieces to sell from this set to-date. Angels are extremely popular in the Magic art world (much to my dismay), and when they are shown midflight, mid sword-swing, with such dynamics and lighting, you know the art will fetch a steep price. This auction also received multiple bids before resting at its final $8000 price point. Congrats to the artist on a successful auction and painting this desirable piece!

    Incinerator of the Guilty: $8000

    incinerator dragon original art

    Dragons!!! If there’s one thing that sells as well as or even better than angels in the Magic art world, it’s dragons! This new dragon from Murders at Karlov Manor sure is powerful. This artwork is stunning in how it depicts the menacing dragon mid-chase of the poor human running across the bridge. That person doesn’t stand a chance! The birds painted mid-flight do a nice job contributing to the motion in the piece—this art, by Lucas Graciano, deserved every penny of the $8000 it sold for via buy it now posting.

    Solving Murders' Mysteries

    This is only a subset of the paintings that have gone up for auction / sale coming out of Murders at Karlov Manor. I also didn’t have space to delve into pieces other than traditional paintings—there were plenty of sketches and color studies that sold at affordable prices over the past couple months.

    As I continue to monitor these sales, I am starting to learn what fetches a higher price on the market. Clearly, angels and dragons are hot commodities in the Magic art world. Any detailed, well-crafted painting of a legendary creature also tends to perform well at auction. Sometimes it’s a unique color pallet or style that fetches a higher price point. Other times, the notoriety of the artist themselves can bolster demand.

    No matter the factors involved, one thing is certain: each new Magic set will bring with it an exciting array of artwork for purchase, ranging in price from a couple hundred dollars for sketches up to $8000 and beyond for the most highly desirable pieces. No matter your budget, there’s something for everyone in this market, and every piece sold in the Original MTG Art Facebook group is one-of-a-kind. That’s my favorite part of all—owning an original Magic piece of art is like owning a piece of the game’s history!