BETA - October 1993
302 Different Artist Proofs.
15 Basic Lands.
25 Different Artists.
WHITE: 5: 46 Artist Proofs.
BLUE: 8: 46 Artist Proofs.
BLACK: 5: 46 Artist Proofs.
RED: 8: 46 Artist Proofs.
GREEN: 11: 46 Artist Proofs.
ARTIFACT: 1: 47 Artist Proofs.
LAND: 8: 10 Artist Proofs.
BASIC LAND: 9: 15 Artist Proofs.
ARTISTS LIST (25)
Rob Alexander - 7 Artist Proofs
Julie Baroh - 4 Artist Proofs
Melissa Benson - 7 Artist Proofs
Kev Brockschmidt - 4 Artist Proofs
Cornelius Brudi - 2 Artist Proofs
Sandra Everingham - 12 Artist Proofs
Dan Frazier - 39 Artist Proofs
Daniel Gelon - 9 Artist Proofs
Quinton Hoover - 8 Artist Proofs
Fay Jones - 1 Artist Proof
Anson Maddocks - 30 Artist Proofs
Jeff A. Menges - 15 Artist Proofs
Jesper Myrfors - 26 Artist Proofs
Mark Poole - 25 Artist Proofs
Christopher Rush - 12 Artist Proofs
Andi Rusu - 2 Artist Proofs
Douglas Shuler - 29 Artist Proofs
Brian Snõddy - 3 Artist Proofs
Ron Spencer - 1 Artist Proof
Mark Tedin - 16 Artist Proofs
Richard Thomas - 13 Artist Proofs
Drew Tucker - 3 Artist Proofs
Tom Wänerstrand - 3 Artist Proofs
Amy Weber - 16 Artist Proofs
Dameon Willich - 15 Artist Proofs
All WotC distributed Beta APs to artists have glossy backs.
Each artist was given normally 50 copies of each Beta artist proof, but this isn't a fixed number as some artists received less while others received more for some specific cards (like Basic Lands for example). Artists gave away, kept, threw away or sold their artist proofs over the years. Some Artist Proofs were also destroyed or lost.
These are the only authentic Beta artist proofs.
Jesper Myrfors on June 15, 2016 wrote:
There has been some discussion and or arguments concerning artists proofs, mostly on the part of people who were either not even alive when they came into being or were little children. So I am going to set the record straight once and for all.
Remember that the artist proofs were my idea, so there is no closer to the source information.
From the beginning I wanted the artists to be able to get example of their work. Getting color samples was a pretty big deal back in the early 90s when color printing was not cheap. The problem was we had a randomized game so sending artists product would not work. I came up with the idea that printing extra cards with no back that we could then send to the artists to do with what they wanted.
Originally we were going to do this for Alpha, but demand was so high and cash in so short a supply that we agreed to push it off to the next printing, which was Beta.
By the time we were ready to print the beta artist proofs we as a company came up with the idea of doing a non playable collectors edition for people who just wanted a sample of every card. It was decided that they would be printed along with the beta artist proofs, but that to further distinguish those cards, that they would get square corners. I was asked if it would be a problem if the beta proofs has square corners and I saw no problem with it, so the beta proofs and CE cards were printed at the same time, at the end of the Beta run.
Call them what you want, but the square corner artist proofs are the first edition of any artist proofs. They were not run as CE proofs, the two were bot run off of Beta with a different die cut.
This should end the discussion among all but the most obtuse or argumentative (or those trying to scam the original artists).
From now on I suggest just calling them first edition artist proofs.
First magic Art Director, Graphic Designer, Magic Artist and Former Vice President of Production for Wizards of the Coast.
Mystical_tutor AKA Gary Adkison on 11 December 2008 wrote:
APs were not a part of the artists "payment". They were gratis (I have no idea how it is handled now days). Thus there was no real emphasis on "exactly 50" by CM or WotC. And despite what some artists will say today (when they can get some decent money for one of their APs) several artists thought little or nothing of the APs. They threw them in a corner of the garage and forgot them.
So, it was not unusual for artists to get a number other than 50 (or whatever the target number was for a given set). Some received 41 or 56 or some other odd number and not always did they all get the same number. There were a lot of reasons for this. Bad sheets, bad cuts, lost cards--human error before they even left CM. Did anyone care? In those days VERY FEW!!!!
cataclysm80 AKA Tavis King on 26 July, 2023 wrote:
In 1992 WotC was a small startup roleplaying company on a shoestring budget.
They needed a bunch of artwork for a collectible card game they were creating called Magic: The Gathering.
They couldn't afford to outright buy the rights for all that art.
A young local fan who had been helping them out for free with the Talislanta roleplaying game, happened to be a student at Cornish College of the Arts.
WotC showed him prototypes for the upcoming card game, and hired him to recruit fellow students (and anybody he could find) to create artwork for the new card game.
For each artwork, WotC would pay $50 upfront, and 50 shares of company stock. This way the artists were invested in the success of the product, and would benefit if it did well. The artists would retain the rights to their artwork, and WotC would be allowed to print it as long as WotC paid a royalty fee to the artist according to the quantity. (I think it's the quantity sold, not the quantity printed?)
WotC investors received a sample of each product after it was printed, and since the artists were given shares of the company, they also received this sealed product.
The young Talislanta fan was named Jesper, and he talked the WotC CEO/Janitor into also giving the artists 50 color samples of their artwork. The quantity of 50 is the same amount as the dollars paid and shares given. This way if the new game totally failed, the art students would have color samples of their professional work to show future prospective employers. Back then everyone didn't have color printers at home yet, so having color samples in your art portfolio could be impressive and give you an advantage over your competition. These color samples would be called "Artist Proofs" even though they're not actually used for proofreading. They would have blank unprinted card backs to make them different from the regular cards, so that they wouldn't be playable and ruin the game.
The only catch was that WotC couldn't yet afford to be giving cards away for free. They needed every dollar going towards product they could sell, and even then they could barely afford to print half as much product as they wanted. The WotC CEO/Janitor agreed to providing Artist Proofs as long as they could be scheduled for a separate print run later when the company could afford it.
The game turned out to be wildly successful.
With winter holiday sales approaching, WotC wanted to have a product that non-players might purchase as a gift for MTG enthusiasts. Even better if it could be something that enthusiasts might also purchase for themselves. Holiday Capitalism
They didn't have enough time to create a picture book.
After rigorous debate, and against Richard Garfield's wishes (begrudged consent?), WotC decided they would create a factory sealed complete set of MTG because they could add it to the already scheduled Artist Proof print run.
They didn't have time for anything else, it was either this or not have a holiday product. Even then, the factory sealed complete sets barely made it to stores before Christmas. The boxes for the complete sets accidentally weren't tall enough to hold the cards, but they didn't have time to fix it.
Richard Garfield INSISTED that the complete sets needed to be marked cards and have square corners, or they would RUIN the game. Allowing people to buy complete sets of all the cards in the game, is the antithesis of a collectible card game. The game cards are supposed to have different rarities and be randomized.
The WotC CEO/Janitor checked with Jesper to make sure it was ok for the Artist Proofs to have square corners. Jesper was pretty sure that the square corners wouldn't matter to the artists.
In December 1993, the Artist Proofs from Belgium arrived at WotC headquarters, along with a bunch of white backed uncut sheets for the larger investors, and the factory sealed complete sets.
The complete sets were shipped right away, but it may have taken a little while to distribute the Artist Proofs. Someone at WotC had to sort all 18,150 Artist Proofs by the name on the artist credit before they could be given to the artists.
Most of WotC enjoyed a lovely winter getaway at a mountain cabin owned by Boeing, except for the production manager, who had to stay behind and finish last minute revisions on Antiquities so that it could be sent out for printing.
One of Jesper's best friends growing up was Tom Wanerstrand.
Their families had both originated from Sweden, so they had some things in common.
When Jesper was recruiting artists for MTG, Tom was working as a sign painter. Of course Jesper talked Tom into creating some art for the game.
Jesper later convinced Tom's mother to make some MTG artwork for Antiquities.
As the game became more successful and WotC needed more help, Tom stepped up to do some of the work.
After The Dark was sent to be printed, the original MTG production manager started working on creating all the non-English cards.
Tom became the Production Manager for English MTG. His first assignment in this role was a project called Edgar, also known as Summer Magic.
In 1995 & 1996, to help promote the company, WotC employees and artists started traveling around to LGS for in store demonstrations. They called these trips "Caravan Tours". WotC would give out some free things at these events to help endear the public to WotC.
The first oversized 6x9 MTG cards were Hurloon Minotaur & Serra Angel, which were handed out at these Caravan Tours.
The signed Samite Healer Artist Proof that you see above, was gifted to the current owner by Tom at one of these Caravan Tours in 1995. It happened at a Florida LGS named The Wizard's Wall.
Tom continued working for WotC until after the Hasbro purchase, at which point he went to work for Carta Mundi who is the main company printing MTG for WotC.
Then Tom came back to WotC, and he still works there today. Last I heard, Tom was in charge of overseeing all the print facilities in the world that print any WotC products, and also handles which materials get used for printing. He makes sure everything goes smoothly for producing the cards.
He spends a lot of time traveling for work, and highly values his family time when he's home.
On top of that, as a current WotC employee, he's not really supposed to speak with the public unless he gets permission. WotC doesn't want any accidental leaks about upcoming products. Mark Rosewater & Gavin Verhey are approved to be public figures for WotC, but most employees are supposed to keep quiet.
Employees also aren't supposed to privately sell anything made by the company, including their Artist Proofs or personal MTG collections.
As such, we fans don't ever see Tom at conventions, or have much access to him at all. His signature even on regular cards has a reputation of being difficult to acquire, and his artist proofs are practically non-existent in the collector community.
I've seen a few Royal Assassin Artist Proofs over the years, mostly Japanese 4th black border. Royal Assassin was an incredibly popular card back in the day, and there would have been a lot of requests for that Artist Proof. I've also seen a Revised Pirate Ship Artist Proof.
The owner of this Beta Samite Healer Artist Proof, also has a Beta Royal Assassin Artist Proof & Beta Pirate Ship Artist Proof.
I've heard rumors that 3 people have complete sets of Beta Artist Proofs, but they're in permanent homes with private collectors and never see the light of day.
The closest thing to the card above that I've ever actually seen, would be an unsigned one that was hand cut from one of the sheets given to investors.The one pictured above is incredibly rare, and from the very first set of artist proofs.
MATTE-BACK BETA ARTIST PROOFS AND OTHERS MATTE WHITE-BACKS
When it comes for Matte A.P. there are 5 known reasons:
- It is known that some artists on very few occasions received Matte Beta A.P. amongst other Glossy ones from WotC.
At least one artist said they received a matte-back artist proof from WotC as part of the 50 they received.
- Coating was removed by the artist in order to be able to sign, do a sketch, or do a painting, even if back in the years, sketching or painting weren't popular at all, and A.P. wasn't a thing either. An eraser or sand paper was used.
As a reminder most of the Artist Proofs were sold from 5 to 25$.
- A Collector"s or International Collector's Edition was signed as a first step by the artist or a real good fake signature was done, then the card was sanded in order to look like an Artist Proof. A lot of those are known as "Singapore Specials", hundreds of those were sold to well known collectors that find out years after for most of them. Experiment was made to some artist to paint them but the Singapore sanded backs absorb too much and bleed. I had X color sketch two Singapore Special X as an experiment and turned out pretty sloppy as a result.
- Some have noted NFC from Beta Proof sheet have a slightly matte back... others full glossy.[/quote]Quotes:
All mine are with signatures that are either real or really damn good fakes!
Rumored were that the outfit sponsored artists to visit, had them sign the CE/IE cards and sanded the backs after.
They all have a textured back instead of glossy, many have glue marks on the front and uneven whiteness on the backs.
X is the outfit that sanded back CE/IE cards to make them look like AP. I bought maybe 100-120 from them before helping to get them shut down.
- It hasn't been verified if the very rare "white back" complete sets known as VIP white-back set (I'm the one who gave them that name) were with Matte backs or Glossy ones. At least one set is known to exist. Those Complete Sets were distributed to extremely few people.cataclysm80 AKA Tavis King on 17 February, 2023 wrote: There are uncut white backed sheets, and some people call those artist proof sheets, some people call them proof sheets, some people call them white backed Beta, some people call them Beta, and some people call them CE.
Artist Proofs, CE, & IE were all created in the same print run, and these sheets are from that print run.
They arrived at WotC in the same shipment as those products.
Artist Proofs are an extremely limited supply of cards that WotC provided to the artists for promotional use.
If you cut a proof sheet, are the resulting cards actually artist proofs?
People who think the white card back is most significant say yes.
People who think the artist is most significant, or that the limited original supply is most significant will say no.
Cutting a sheet to create additional supply, is often seen as shady, because it's creating something that wasn't supposed to exist.
If there were originally 50 cards that could only come directly from the artist, and somebody creates more cards, would you prefer to have one of the original 50 or one of the additional copies?
Everybody has different preferences for their collection, and that results in NFC cards being valued differently than original artist proofs.
Some people are ok with NFC, and some people aren't.
The best thing to do is be honest about what the item is, so that you don't have any unhappy buyers.
All those products were not intended to be played.
It does seem to have a slightly smoother surface than regular Magic card stock that was intended for playing, which affects the gloss level of finished product.
You may have heard that CE is more glossy than Beta. It's one of the red flags for a reback.
If you measure enough cards with a gloss meter, you can establish a gloss range for each print run.
The gloss range of Beta & CE/IE/AP overlap by about 25%.
The 25% most glossy Beta = the 25% least glossy CE/IE/AP.
The remaining 75% of CE/IE/AP are more glossy than any Beta cards.
Not many people use a gloss meter though, and it's not as reliable on worn cards.
However, I suspect that you're not actually asking about the cardstock.
Magic cards get a clear wear coat for durability.
The reason Beta Artist Proofs have a glossy back and later proofs don't, is that Beta proofs received the clear wear coat on the back, while later proofs didn't.
The white backed sheets are available in both styles, with or without the wear coat.
- This post from Jesper Myrfors while related to MTG 30 A.P. also applies to Beta A.P. it was mentioned to me by some artists 15 to 25 years ago.
https://www.facebook.com/jesper.myrfors ... HMofCcGtGl
NON FACTORY CUT (NFC) BETA WHITE BACKS
- At least 2 complete sets of 3 uncut sheets were cut (Common, Uncommon, Rare). So that's 6 sheets in total.
- Some NFC Beta Artist Proofs were graded and some NFC Beta Artist Proofs were sketched or painted by some artists.
Black Lotus AP and fake APs; Post on the forum
In 2023 from 3 sheets that were sold by Heritage and then cut by the new owner:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/8877914 ... 658809044/
You can read about those from this post from Joel Mick:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/8877914 ... 655804011/
NON-SIGNED BETA GLOSSY ARTIST PROOFS
There are different reasons why some Beta Artist Proofs aren't signed:
- When I was collecting them, in many occasions, I simply as that didn't wanted a Beta Artist Proof to be signed by the artist.
- Some artists, at some points in their life refused to signed Artist Proofs.
- It is estimated that 10 or so completed sets of the nine Beta Artist Proofs from Quinton Hoover are signed. A huge amount of them were placed in a a storage locker. At the death of Quinton as the storage locker wasn't paid for over 3 monthes, the unsigned Artist proofs were sold on Ebay by the guy who bought that storage locker.
- Anson Maddock had a live-in girlfriend let a thief into Anson's locked (and believe nailed shut) studio and 100+ original paintings, sketches and APs were stolen. He was on an extended WOTC trip, couple months long. A collector had him sign a misprint Serendib Efreet and mentioned 'I just bought this art' all happy and Anson was like 'no you didn't, it's at my house'. He filed a police report and didn't do much else until 20 years later. He refused to sign any of those, and didn't wanted to hear about MTG for a real long time, most of the collectors weren't aware of that story. The majority of the Artist Proofs ended up in a well known MTG store: ABU Games in Idaho. Since 2022, Anson Maddocks refused to sign those except if 75$ are spent for a commissioned artwork orders using those unsigned artist proofs after in-person inspection, which in effect, legitimizes them upon completion.
- A lot of Christopher Rush weren't signed, some were sold during his divorce by his second wife on Ebay. Chris was supposed to sign them but that never happened as he refuses to sign them, except if in exchange, some were gifted to him. A lot of collectors were trapped in that situation, some never received the Artist Proofs that they paid for. I have bought over 100 Vintage A.P. from Beta to the last Set available in 2005, at the time of the sale. I have finally decided to keep them unsigned to keep the historical memory that goes with that specific situation.
I have read a lot of times that unsigned Beta Artist Proof of Rob Alexander were stolen, that is is totally false. Rob, got his binder of Artist Proofs stolen at GP Paris in Disneyland that took place on 7–8 November 2009. At that time, all the Beta Artist Proofs were sold from years ago.
TRIVIA ABOUT BETA ARTIST PROOFS
- All the Glossy Badlands from Rob Alexander have a printer hickey on the bottom right front.
- All the Glossy Sedge Troll from Dan Frazier are misprinted in the text box (registration issue).
- All the Glossy Elvish Archers from Anson Maddocks have a printer hickey on the top right front.
- All the glossy Bayou from Jesper Myrfors have a printer hickey on the top front right.
- Goblin King glossy A.P.. from Jesper Myrfors: The wording gave all Goblins +1/+1 and mountainwalk, but the original intent was that this would not apply to the Goblin King itself. Beginning with Revised Edition this problem was solved by listing the Goblin King's type as “Lord”; beginning with Ninth Edition the word “Goblin” returned to the type and the wording for the ability was changed to “Other Goblins get +1/+1 and have mountainwalk.”
- Goblin Balloon Brigade glossy A.P.. from Andi Rusu: The wording for the activated ability could be interpreted to give all Goblins Flying instead of only itself, which was the original intent. The wording was changed to reflect the original intent beginning with Revised Edition.
- All the glossy A.P.. from the artist Douglas Shuler's name were misspelled as “Schuler”except 2:
Icy Manipulator and version 3 of Mountain. It was fixed with Revised Edition.
- All the glossy A.P..from the artist Brian Snõddy, the diacritic mark tilde was omitted on the "o". It was fixed with Revised Edition.
- All the glossy A.P.. from the artist Tom Wänerstrand, the diaeresis was omitted on the "a". It was fixed with Revised Edition.
More to come.
BadMagic Artist Proof FAQ by Tony Manion.
Artist Proofs by Joel Mick.
Authenticating Beta Artist Proofs by Joel Mick.
Collectors' & International Edition Box Set Cards
Beta Antiquities and more Uncut Sheets; Post on the forum from October 2004.
Collecting a CE Artist Proof Set ?; Post on the forum from July 2005 .
Beta Artist Proof question; Post on the forum from July 2006.
Beta Serra Angel Artist Proof w/ Sketch by Doug Shuler!; Post on the forum from December 2008.
Uncut Beta/CE Proof Sheet Set; Post on the forum from May 2010.
Artist Proofs value; Post on the forum from January 2011.
Beta Serra proof; Post on the forum from November 2012.
Looking for Beta APs; Post on the forum from January 2013.
Black Lotus AP and fake APs.; Post on the forum from December 2014.