When Alternators and Binaltech were huge, I bought as much original box artwork for the Alternators toy line as I could get my hands on. Why? For investment purposes? Hell no, have you seen the artwork for Alternators? Created by Transformers comic and toy industry legends Marcelo Matere, Alex Milne and Guido Guidi amongst others, they were the lovechild of the best official TF artists around and the best looking Transformers toys we'd had in years. If I had not bought them at the time when they were offered by the artists themselves at conventions, I might have lost the chance to get them forever. Having these pieces of unobscured, full-size history was the mightiest honour and pleasure an Alternators/Binaltech fan could experience. And I loved them, and displayed them fully.
|Alex Milne original box art for Alternators Meister (first release)|
|Marcelo Matere original box art for Alternators Wheeljack|
My full collection of Alternators box artwork can be found HERE and HERE. As with much of my higher priced collection items, I have had to sacrifice them and cash in on their value in order to make progress in the race of life and to give my family a better future, faster. I came to the decision that as much as I loved my artwork, I couldn't display all of it in the small apartments we were forced to rent, so we would have to get bigger digs for me to be able to display the art properly. But we couldn't move to bigger accommodation and buy our own home unless I sold high-end collection items like the artwork!
|Matere original box art for Alternators Tracks (second release)|
|Matere original box art for Alternators Sunstreaker|
Priorities were discussed, and of course the speedier realisation of our dream for our future was more important than the possession of this artwork, and therefore the decision was made to sacrifice it for the greater good. While Alternators toys and prototypes - and even most Binaltechs - had not appreciated noticeably in value, it didn't mean that the artwork would not be desirable. One of the reasons those toys haven't appreciated is because most collectors bought and kept them and they were widely available, and therefore widely loved and appreciated. Even more reason for some collectors to want a bigger piece of their history.
|Guido Guidi original box art for Alternators Swerve|
|Matere box art for Alternators Camshaft|
Nearly 10 years after the fact, I can understand how artwork for some of the more obscure and low-tier characters like Swerve and Camshaft may not sell immediately at hundreds of dollars per piece, but my original aim was to sell the collection as one lot to someone who appreciated box artwork from all lines of Transformers. Add to that the fact that opportunities like this arise once every decade or so, and I expected to have my hands bitten off. Boy was I mistaken.
|Matere box art for Alternators Mirage - keeping this one!|
|Matere art for Classics Mirage TFCC profiles|
One thing absolutely everybody agrees on is just how breathtaking, spellbinding, smashing, spectacular etc the artwork is, and those who have seen it in person have been left gaping in open-mouthed awe - collector and non-collector alike. It's really that good, no exaggeration whatsoever. When it was first advertised for sale publicly after an agreed private sale for all the art fell through due to the buyer's employment status changing drastically, the Alternators Wheeljack sold virtually immediately for my asking price. I still have every other piece that I offered for sale in my possession.
|Matere box art for Alternators Meister (second release)|
|Matere box art for Alternators Skids|
Having continually dropped the asking price on these pieces, I'm at the point where I'd actually question whether it was worth selling them at all when weighing up what I'd be getting in return financially for the sacrifice of such unique treasures that have brought me pleasure and definitely would in the future again when displayed. Once I reach the decision to hang on to them indefinitely and remove them from sales lists etc, I'll feel quite stupid about letting Marcelo's Wheeljack go so quickly. In an ideal world I would have insisted on selling them in one lot, thereby inflicting the most pain in the shortest amount of time instead of dragging it out and risking exactly what's happened, or I would have just bought out my friend's collection and filled the gaping holes in my own Alternators artwork line-up.
|IDW MTMTE original inked artwork from issue 18 two page spread|
This hasn't stopped me from chasing more original artwork, I can't help it, art is one of the main reasons I have such a love for Transformers. It's also a massive element of my enjoyment of the IDW Transformers comics, so I have since August purchased a 2-page spread of original inks for MTMTE issue 18 where the panels are all in the wrong order, and more recently an actual piece of original MTMTE cover artwork from one of the esteemed artists that work on the title...I won't say which yet until it's here! Needless to say, it was tremendously and ENORMOUSLY expensive, I was only able to pay for it by directing some of my considerable income from Diaclone sales to it.
And that's really the crux of the matter here, this artwork is expensive at this juncture because MTMTE is hot right now, smoking hot. If, heaven forbid, the title were to end and Roberts/Milne/Roche/Burcham etc disappear into other projects, would the artwork still be worth the hundreds it is right now 10 years later? Is MTMTE more popular now than Alternators were in their pomp? I'm not sure, but I would absolutely not be surprised if I had massive difficulty getting back anywhere near what I've paid out for my MTMTE cover artwork in a decade. Those who actually dedicate money to the collection of modern Transformers artwork are extremely few and far between, and it often depends on them coming from a high-end toy collecting background or comic collecting - not necessarily reading - background.
|TFCC profiles Classics Mirage art by Matere|
So, if you're going to collect original modern artwork, be it for toys or comics, make sure you truly will love it and appreciate it for what it is - unique, significant, historic and precious - and do not expect to make back even what you paid for it, or to make a quick sale if you should ever need or want to sell it (and believe me, I don't want to). The right buyer could take years to surface, so in the meantime, get that stuff framed and on a wall, putting a smile on your face every time you walk past it.
|Alternators Prowl (1st release) original box art inks - Guido Guidi|
All the best