WHAT: When it comes to pop culture, not much tops Mad magazine. That explains why original art for the satirical publication so loved by pre-adolescents (and irreverent adults) is a hard find. When examples come to market, the art is a great seller.
Recently, when cover art by Norman Mingo, done for the September 1968 issue, sold in a pop culture auction at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles, the almost 24-inch-by-32-inch piece soared to $57,241.80.
MORE: It helped that the cover theme was a reader’s pop fantasy, with Mad icon Alfred E. Neuman as a guru hovering over the four Beatles, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru who invented the Transcendental Meditation technique, and Mia Farrow.
SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: Considered to be the ultimate Mad cover artist, Norman Mingo’s original cover art is highly coveted by Mad fans. To add to the clamor, his original covers rarely come to market; and when they do, they sell high.
HOT TIP: In the collecting biz, it is axiomatic that the generation with disposable income drives the market. We bet that the buyer was someone who remembers Mad from his or her childhood.
BOTTOM LINE: Mingo may not be a Rembrandt, but as long as people remember the peace/love ‘60s with flower power, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the Beatles, this cover will maintain value and evoke memories.