Sketch cards on Christie’s auction site

ACEO on eBay

Artist sketch cards are so much fun to collect. Tiny little sketches done on 3.5-inch by 2.5-inch cards. Search “ACEO” on eBay. ACEO stands for Artists Cards Editions and Originals. You’ll find thousands of such cards.

Usually these forms of art are quite affordable, compared to larger art. The prices will run anywhere from $1 for a common card to $300 for a Bridget Voth (the top-selling ACEO artist on eBay). Of the 3,800 recently sold auctions on eBay, the median sold price is $6.50.

ACEO ebay
A sample of ACEO cards you’ll find on eBay

Sketch cards from Topps

Top trading card brands like Topps have gotten into the ACEO market. Instead of using a confusing acronym, Topps calls them “sketch cards“. Since each card is unique, this gives collectors a rare collector’s item.

The prices are a bit higher, but these are official cards. Of the 4,000 sold auctions for Topps sketch cards, the median sold price is $30

Sketch cards from Topps, Star Wars, and Marvel
A sample of “official” sketch cards from Topps

ACEO or sketch cards from the Art World?

How about the art market? Does the Art World sell sketch cards or ACEO? Not quite, but looking through Christie’s past auctions, a few items came up that are sketches on a smaller scale. But the price is much, much higher.

The Who on Christies

A set of six design boards showing unused ideas for the cover artwork for the album The Who The Kids Are Alright The Double Album From Their Film Autobiography, Polydor Records, 1979; four with marker pen sketches on white paper mounted on card, two with photo images mounted on card, all depicting scenes warning of the dangers of electricity in an industrial location

christies-The Beatles pencil sketches and other ephemera

A group of four pencil on paper portraits of each Beatle signed by an artist named Liz Smith from Arlington, Texas. Most likely created when the talented Ms. Smith was a teenager circa 1964, these wonderfully and realistically rendered sketches truly capture the charm of the early Beatles and of a bygone era. Also included is a program about the Beatles, three collector’s cards from their movie, “A Hard Day’s Night” and a vintage lapel button which reads I’m a Beatle Fan In Case of Emergency Call Paul or Ringo.

christies-Louis Bourgeois-Borgex

christies-The Pink Panther Strikes Again

  • Two pen and watercolour story boards titled “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” – Quasimodo – “Hump” Sequence, 1977, the scenes numbered 57 to 69.
  • The detailed sketches showing Inspector Clouseau in his new ‘Quasimodo’ disguise, floating outside his apartment and across Paris until the inflatable hump bursts and he lands in the Seine
  • A corresponding hand-tinted dyeline mounted on card
  • Seven pencil set drawings on tracing paper of the exterior and interior of Clouseau’s apartment, majority with the distinctive art department’s Pink Panther ink-stamp
  • Eight corresponding black and white stills, majority featuring Sellers on and off set

Christies: Alfred Hitchcock

A piece of card, signed in black felt pen by subject, additionally annotated with a self-portrait caricature sketch — 3x5in.

christies-Helen Beatrix Potter

This fine watercolour was executed in the 1890s when the artist worked for the greeting card firm Hildesheimer.
signed with initials ‘H.P.P. (lower right)
grey ink and watercolour, vignette
4¼ x 3 in.

What inspired me look up sketch cards on Christie’s auction site

My brother asked me, “Christie’s selling ACEO? What in the world made you think of that? Those are two completely different worlds. I mean completely different.”

I was looking at the @sketchcards twitter account (he had replied to one of my tweets)… and… I found this tweet:

#WaltDisney sketch (not mine). Still not in my budget. #OriginalArt #ArtLife  #DisneyArt #DonaldDuck

That’s interesting! A $10,000 sketch of Donald Duck, made by Walt Disney. So it made me search Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Sotheby’s has a couple other neat results. I’ll blog about those later. Initially, I was going to put Christie’s and Soetheby’s in the same blog post, but I wanted to be able to focus the title on just one of them.

The full-resolution images

The Who

The Beatles pencil sketches


A folio of seventeen oil sketches of landscape studiesPink Panther Strikes Again: storyboard sketches

Alfred Hitchcock -d1963530x

Helen Beatrix Potter-d4413388x

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10 months ago

Nice post. Excellent variety of samples.

The Beatrix Potter illustration is pretty special. 58 grand for it. Wow!

The Beatles drawings sold for $235. That’s $58.75 per drawing. There’s gotta be a Beatles fan that would find the drawing’s story fascinating and pay closer to $500 to $1000 for the set. They’re not bad drawings. No mention of the size, though.

I bought artwork from an ebay seller named nikoincolor. Some of her paintings have great expressive painterly brushstrokes that they take on Post-Impressionist tones. Here’s one example: Her ACEO art usually goes for under $10.

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