Statement on the first artist proofs from Jesper Myrfors:
"There has been some discussion and/or arguments concerning artists proofs, 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 examples 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 of 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 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, they would get square corners.
I was asked if it would be a problem if the Beta proofs had 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.
They were not run as CE proofs, the two were both run off of Beta with a different die cut.
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."
(2016 on Facebook)