19 May 2017
The team at Hake’s Americana had plenty to celebrate as the first auction of the company’s golden anniversary year concluded. The two-day event, held 14 and 16 March, swept past expectations and ended on a high note, reaching just over US$1m.
As predicted, the star of the show was Norman Mingo’s original cover art for the September 1968 issue of Mad magazine, which sold for an astonishing US$57,242. A spoof of the Flower Power era, the cover featured a beaming Alfred E Neuman dressed as a spiritual guru, held by the Beatles in their Sgt Pepper’s uniforms, along with actress Mia Farrow and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
“Original Mad magazine cover art by Norman Mingo is always in demand, but very seldom available,” commented Alex Winter, President of Hake’s Americana. “The selling price for the artwork in our sale didn’t surprise me. Collectors called the shots, and they knew it was an extremely rare buying opportunity. It’s an iconic piece, not only as a Mad magazine cover, but also as a classic representation of the 1960s peace-and-love era.”
An 1884 photo of the integrated baseball team, the Bellaire Globes, was a sensation in its own right, but it became all the more desirable because of the inclusion of Negro League pioneer Sol White. The photograph is the earliest known visual depiction of White, who was not only a professional baseball infielder, but also a manager and influential executive in the Negro Leagues. With multiple bidders in pursuit, the Bellaire Globes photograph reached the midpoint of its estimate at US$15,446.
Concert posters from the 1950s through 1970s were also a big hit. “Posters promoting rock, blues, pop and jazz concerts continue to climb in value as more and more collectors gravitate toward these scarce printed works of art. They’re very hard to find because they were not originally intended to last for more than a few days or weeks,” added Winter.
Topping the auction’s music charts was the only known example of a 1958 Rock ’N Roll Jamboree poster with an electrifying image of Jerry Lee Lewis standing at and playing a piano: this made US$7,204; and a 1961 poster promoting a show in Buffalo, N.Y., that paired Ahmad Jamal and Aretha Franklin, who, at the time, was only 19 years old, sold for US$6,490.