A PEEK INTO THE HERITAGE AUCTIONS ARCHIVES REVEALS THE YEAR’S POP-CULTURE HIGH POINTS
By Rhonda Reinhart
Malware known as the Morris worm unleashed the world’s first cyberattack. Forest fires scorched 800,000 acres of Yellowstone National Park. And, on the fashion front, people were still wearing acid wash jeans. But 1988 had some highlights, too, especially in the wild world of popular culture. Read on for a colorful trek back through a year of bold choices and bright ideas.
Few stars shined brighter than Prince on the 1980s music scene. Known for his flamboyant attire and elaborate stage shows – including those of 1988’s Lovesexy Tour – the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer needed a guitar that reflected his eye-catching style. Custom made in 1988 to Prince’s exact specifications and used in his videos, performances and album recordings up until 1994, this spectacular Yellow Cloud guitar realized $137,500 in a June 2016 Heritage auction.
When it hit Nintendo Entertainment Systems across the country in October 1988, Super Mario Bros. 2 was an instant hit. And when this copy of the game – the first Wata-certified 9.8 in sealed condition ever offered at public auction – crossed the auction block more than 30 years later, collectors clamored for a chance to add it to their library. In the end, one lucky bidder defeated all the other players, paying $324,000 for the game in an October 2021 Heritage auction.
Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman might have been the leading men of Rain Man – 1988’s highest-grossing film and the winner of four Academy Awards – but this 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible also played a starring role. One of two identical cars used throughout the road-trip drama, the two-door beauty sold for $170,500 in a December 2012 Heritage auction.
MODERN & CONTEMPORARY ART
Keith Haring’s work throughout the 1980s featured a variety of recurring themes and characters. But the pop artist’s colorful, cartoon-like dancing figures might be his most recognizable. Though Haring’s life was cut short by AIDS complications in 1990, the beat goes on for his iconic artwork, including the mood-boosting Pop Shop Quad II from 1988. The complete set of four screenprints sold for $45,000 at a Heritage auction in April 2017.
Sure, “Macho Man” Randy Savage took home two WWE Championships and four WCW World Championships during his illustrious career, but the pro wrestler’s signature flashy costumes deserve a title of their own. Savage wore this star-studded “Macho Madness” ensemble, awash in purple and gold sequins, to a Saturday Night Main Event match in 1988, and in August 2020, the robe sold for $27,600 in a Heritage auction. As Macho Man would say, “Oh, yeah!”
COMICS & COMIC ART
Todd McFarlane shot to superstardom in the comics world in 1988, when he took on artist duties for Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Among his many outstanding creations during his stint with the Web-Slinger was the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 300, a special 25th anniversary issue that marked the first full appearance of the villain Venom. The original art for the 1988 cover, which features Spider-Man wearing his black costume for one of the last times, sold for $140,000 in a November 2014 Heritage auction.
RHONDA REINHART is editor of Intelligent Collector.