Andy Warhol Soup Cans Now In Target Stores
inOctober 24, 2012 - 12:01pm
During September 2012, Target department stores began selling “limited edition” cans of Campbell’s tomato soup (Fig. 1) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s original use of the iconic cans in 1960s era Pop Art.
The special cans carry four different labels inspired by Warhol’s 1962 creation 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans a series of 20 by16 inch works featuring all the Campbell flavors then made. All the labels of the 50th anniversary special cans are tomato. Total production is limited to 1.2 million cans which Target is selling at 75 cents per can.
The current series is the third time Campbell’s has sold specially made soup cans with Warhol-related labels. The first group consisted of 300,000 cans sold in 75,000 packs of four cans made in 2004 for the supermarket chain Giant Eagle. The shrink wrap packaging surrounding the four can packs includes a photo of Warhol on the top side with a facsimile signature in black. In 2006, 12,000 individual cans were sold for $12 each by the upscale fashion and accessory chain Barneys New York.
Back sides of labels on the 2012 cans include a facsimile Warhol signature alongside an illustration-style portrait of Warhol (Fig. 2). The single color of ink used on the Warhol portrait on the back side changes from can to can. A cartoon-style word balloon (Fig. 3) next to the portrait encloses one of four different famous Warhol quotes: “In the future everybody will be world famous for 15 minutes;” “But I always say, one’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party;” “The world fascinates me;” and “Pop Art is for everyone.”
The 2004 and 2006 cans have slightly different labels than the 2012 group. Back sides of all 2004 and 2006 labels feature a color photo portrait of Warhol’s head set in the upper left hand corner of a block of text entitled “The Art of Soup.” A facsimile Warhol signature is to one side of the text block.
Color combinations on the front of the labels are all the same for the 2004 and 2006 cans but are different from the 2006 colors. However, it is much simpler and easier to use the back sides of labels rather than colors to date the cans. If it has a quotation in a word balloon, it’s from the 2012 group. If there is no quotation in a word balloon, it’s from 2004 or 2006.
All of three issues of commemorative cans—2012, 2006 and 2004—all feature the same variety of soup which is tomato. All three groups of cans also include the pull-off top.
While this most recently issued set of cans has created lots of social media and other online speculation about potential long term value, the large 2012 production volume should not be ignored. The production run of 1.2 million cans is huge and the initial price is small, only 75 cents. There is no shortage of original 2012 cans to buy now and no price restraint to keep speculators from hoarding large amounts of originals. Only $18, for example, buys SIX COMPLETE four can sets (24 cans X .75 = 18.00). If you compare production runs, there were 100 times MORE 2012 cans made (1, 200,000) than 2006 cans (12,000).
A quick check of recent online prices found single 2004-2006 series cans selling for around $30 each. A complete set of four different 2004 cans with original packaging has been selling for about $200.
Fig. 1 soup_1.jpg In September 2012, Target began selling 1.2 million “limited edition” Campbell’s Soup cans with labels commemorating Andy Warhol’s original 1960s Pop Art.
Fig. 2 soup_2.jpg Reverse of the 2012 Target version features Warhol’s photo and facsimile signature. The photo is a different single color on each of the 2012 cans. Warhol’s photo is in full color on all of the 2006 and 2004 cans.
Fig. 3 soup_3.jpg Each of the four 2012 cans have a different famous Warhol quote next to his photo the on the reverse.
Written by by Mark Chervenka