13 Mar

Valuing my Magic: The Gathering collection

Filed under: Boardgames,Misc. 21 Responses

Another thing that I did over the Chinese New Year holidays was to dig up my old collection of Magic: The Gathering cards gathering dust at my mother’s house. I had a vague idea of cannibalizing the worthless common cards to use as supplies for a game prototype I’ve been sporadically working on. However it turned out that all of the crappy stuff were either lost or thrown out long ago. The only cards I could find were a couple of cheap decks that I kept around for teaching purposes, my old Type 1 deck and assorted cards that I considered trade-worthy.

Now, I’ve always known that my cards had some value but I’ve been too lazy to sort them and try to estimate a valuation for them. I do know that a couple of times in the past when I joked about selling my cards on LYN, I continued to receive PMs from interested parties for up to a year after the posts. So this time armed the knowledge that Malaysia now had an active forum where players trade MTG cards, I finally took the time to sort them, type them up in a spreadsheet and look up valuations for each card on various websites.

One problem that I have when trying to assign a fair value to my cards is most of them are in French and the market for non-English cards isn’t as liquid as the market for English cards. There are websites like Mtgfanatic.com which publish lists of single cards they’d like to buy and how much they’re willing to pay for them but most if not all of these specify that they will only accept English-language cards. Of course, even such prices should be considered on the low end as these places then resell the cards they buy at a very significant mark-up. For my purposes, I’ve applied a discount of 10% or more to the non-English cards.

Here’s a run-down on some of the most valuable cards I have. By far the most valuable card is my Unlimited set Timetwister, the only Power Nine card I have. It’s generally worth at least US$150 and like all of the Power Nine, exists only in English. I actually got this card while I was back in Malaysia during the summer holiday when I joined an MTG meet-up. As I recall, I traded a bunch of French-language dual lands plus a small amount of cash, less than RM50 probably, to get it.

The next most valuable cards are probably my Mana Drains, of which I have three in total. One of them is in English but it’s in pretty bad shape as you can see from the worn borders of the leftmost card in the picture below. The other two are in great condition but are from the Italian version of the Legends set. Note that only the Italians ever got the full Legends set in their language, so the cards that are available only from this set are all still quite valuable. A mint condition English-language Mana Drain should be worth around US$100.

After that, the value of individual singles come down quite significantly but that’s counteracted by the fact that I have so many of them. These are the ever useful dual lands, terrain cards that be tapped to gain two different colours of mana, and are pictured above. I have more than thirty of these cards which I painstakingly traded for in the belief that dual lands are so fundamental that they will never lose their value. Estimating their value is quite difficult however. Not all dual lands are worth the same. At the moment, it seems that Underground Seas which give both blue and black mana are worth the most. Such lands from the Revised set seem to be worth at least US$60 each. By contrast, Scrublands which give black and white mana seem to be worth only around US$30.

The astute will notice that many of my dual land cards are black bordered. To those uninitiated in the intricacies of MTG, cards with black borders come from limited edition sets while those with white borders come from unlimited edition sets, meaning that Wizards of the Coast will print as much as necessary to fill demand. My black bordered dual lands will be confusing to English language players because the Revised set exists only in unlimited format in English. However because Revised was the first set sold in France, a limited format print run was first sold and when that sold out, an unlimited format Revised was then made. This means that in theory black bordered French Revised should be worth more than white bordered Revised, but how much this premium is worth I have no idea.

The rest of my stuff aren’t worth anything close to as much because they have collectible value but generally aren’t useful in actual decks. A good example of this are my Italian Legends legend cards, two of which are pictured below. These two cards haven’t been reprinted anywhere, so you need to go back to Legends to get them, but they’re not really worth playing it so most people don’t bother. In addition to the Tetsuo Umezawa and Lady Evangela, I also have a Gwendlyn di Corci. I’d guess these cards are worth less than US$10 apiece. Other stuff I have that are worth something but not a lot include a Maze of Ith from The Dark, a Karakas from the English version of Legends, a black bordered French Revised Sol Ring etc. I also have various oddities from here and there, such as black bordered Japanese language versions of staples like Lightning Bolt and Disenchant.

Overall, I’d say that my collection is currently worth around RM3,000 to RM4,000. The question is: how to sell it? I think that trying to sell it card by card would be more trouble than I’d be willing to put up with. I also thought about making a post on MTG Malaysia while their new user registration system doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. Does selling on Ebay work? I’ve never tried that before but I don’t think it would be fair as you really need to see these cards in person to evaluate their condition and card condition has a great effect on its value. One shop specializing in MTG in Kuala Lumpur has asked me to bring in my whole collection so that they can give me a quote, but the next time I will be traveling to West Malaysia will most likely be in September 2010. If anyone is interested in this, I can send you a spreadsheet listing all the valuable stuff.

Written on March 13 2010 and is filed under Boardgames, Misc.. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

21 Responses to “Valuing my Magic: The Gathering collection”

Joseph Gaskill

Hi,
Feel free to donate or sell any of your duals or Mana Drains or any foreign cards like Sol Ring etc. Lol, I would like to very much own some classics, but they’re pretty hard to get a hold of. Thanks. I dunno how these things work, but here’s my email, commandersilvester777@yahoo.com

wankongyew

Well, I’d like to sell them but your name doesn’t sound Malaysian, and I don’t think this could work in any way other than face to face, but thanks anyway.

Farhad

Hi there. I’d be interested in purchasing your collection from you, but I’m in the United States. I’ve done international deals before, including to your neck of the woods (Malaysia as well as Singapore and the Philippines), and that usually means payment through PayPal (if invoiced through there, both buyer and seller protection are offered) and shipping the cards out.

If this is something you’d be interested in, feel free to email me at farhad.m.mahmoudi (at) gmail (dot) com. If not, that’s totally understandable. If you could send over a spreadsheet with your cards we can work on coming to a mutually agreeable valuation. Thanks!

Joseph Gaskill

Well, I’ve done many deals as well over paypal, so don’t leave me out! I also would like to see a list of the cards you have.

wankongyew

Since multiple people have asked to see the spreadsheet, I’ve simply uploaded it to Google Docs:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Akn2uvDC7kb2dHhwZUw3RWJxeURQak5xTUhaelNYeFE&hl=en

I doubt that I’m going to make any international deals though. That will really have to be a last resort.

Farhad

Fair enough, though I’ve looked at your spreadsheet and would like to purchase the collection. If you’d like to discuss, please email me. I’d also be open to setting up the deal through eBay if that’s preferable, though the fees would probably reduce your end amount quite a bit. Either way, thanks for your time.

Matt Siddall

I recently decided to get rid of my rarer magic cards and have put them on ebay (I need the money to pay for my wedding next month :-) ). The auctions finish tonight, and I’m relatively pleased with the total so far – certainly for the dual lands and the timetwister, it’s probably worthwhile listing them.

I’m based in the UK, so it may work so well for you but it’s certainly worth a try… If it’s any help, the list of my cards is at http://shop.ebay.co.uk/corlandashivalunar/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=&_trksid=p4340

Matt Siddall

I would add – I decided to go through ebay as it offers a certain level of seller protection. As long as I post the cards by some sort of signed-for service, I can’t have people turn around and say they never got them, reversing the payment and leaving me with no card and no cash – which has happened before.

Matt Siddall

hmmm – seems my initial response was lost – probably because it included a link to ebay – reproduced here, sans link:

I recently decided to get rid of my rarer magic cards and have put them on ebay (I need the money to pay for my wedding next month :-) ). The auctions finish tonight, and I’m relatively pleased with the total so far – certainly for the dual lands and the timetwister, it’s probably worthwhile listing them.

I’m based in the UK, so it may work so well for you but it’s certainly worth a try… If it’s any help, you can find me on the UK version of ebay with the username corlandashivalunar.

Farhad

I would also add that you don’t actually need eBay for the buyer/seller protection. That insurance actually comes through PayPal, which is linked to eBay. If you arrange a deal with someone through PayPal and follow the appropriate steps – sending an itemized invoice, with shipping method specified – you can easily take up a dispute in case payment is reversed or some other shady practice.

I’ve had almost entirely positive experiences working this way, and one shady move by someone I was buying from on the east cost (I live in California) which was resolved pretty quickly and easily by PayPal. I’ve actually found it particularly helpful for international deals, too. Plus it’s nice not to have to deal with eBay fees, which as I understand it can eat up to 12% or more of your final price on eBay (plus whatever PayPal fees are involved… 3% or so?).

wankongyew

@ Matt Siddall
Your comment did get caught by the anti-spam plugin but I managed to retrieve it. From what I can tell from your Ebay feedback, you seem to have sold a lot of cards as singles. I’m not sure I’m willing to do that much work.

@ Farhad
Thanks for your interest. I do have a Paypal account but I haven’t used it in ages. My main problem is that I’m not sure what shipping options I have here in Malaysia. I tend to think that the post office wouldn’t be that reliable and I’d have to go with a courier service like DHL. I’ll try to read up on Paypal.

Currently though I still plan to try to offload the stuff locally first. I’ve received some inquiries but I won’t be able to really work out a deal until I travel back to the capital Kuala Lumpur later this year.

Farhad

No problem, I’m not trying to push you into anything. As it turns out, I’ve started reading the blog itself since I’m actually a huge board game geek myself and it’s nice to have somewhere to get reviews other than BGG itself. As a grad student, my collection has to remain somewhat modest out of necessity (about 75-80 games), but I try to keep up nonetheless. So I appreciate the work you’re doing here.

Anyway, if your other options don’t pan out, be sure to let me know. I’d love to add some more cards to my collection (and I’m a sucker for French cards since I study French History) and the valuation you gave on the collection is a price I’d be happy to pay (plus any shipping cost).

But that will wait. Thanks again for your hard work here :)

wankongyew

I actually don’t own that many boardgames myself. I frequent a boardgames cafe here in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, whose owner has over 700 games. I don’t really see the point in buying more games when I have no realistic hope of ever getting around to play all of the games this guy has.

Currently, I only buy games that I think works well with just my wife and myself.

Farhad

Wow, it must be nice to basically just have a board game library like that. We don’t have any place like that near me in San Diego, so I’m forced to buy any new board games that I’d like to try out.

And pretty much none of those are ones my wife wants to play with me ;)

She likes games like Trivial Pursuit and Scattergories, etc.

Joshua Ravitz

Please contact me if these cards are still available. I’d be happy to buy them. I’m located in the USA. We can discuss details.

Thanks

Fatt

Hi, interested buyer here from KL. For sales / trade within Malaysia, the common practice would be to bank in money to the seller’s local bank acc, and the seller would deliver the goods via POS Ekspres / POS Laju.

Btw, are you looking to sell your cards as one whole bulk? or are you selling them individually? I’m particularly interested in the dual lands.

Do drop me a mail at chee.kinfatt@gmail.com. TQ.

wankongyew

I am currently in KK but will be in KL in early September for a few days. I will be trying to arrange a deal for when I am there. I finally got my MTG Malaysia account activated and will be posting an advertisement there as well. I’m mainly interested in selling them all in one shot but if I get really good offers for singles, I might reconsider that stance. I think dealing face to face would be ideal as it’s only fair to let buyers see the physical cards themselves.

Fatt

Great, if you are interested in meeting up, do drop me a mail so I can send you my contact. Lets see if we could work out a deal.

I’m actually a old time casual player / collector that started back recently after being persuaded by some of my MTG pals (can’t resist the temptation, LoL)

I would refrain from selling to shops as they quote much lower price. Anyway that’s just my personal experience. Hope you have better luck.

cheers.

eddy tee

any more card for sell?

wankongyew

Nope, sorry. All sold a long time ago.

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