Black Lotus | Alpha | Art by Christopher Rush
29, Apr, 24

Massive $3 Million Black Lotus Sale Shatters MTG Records!

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Magic can be a seriously expensive hobby at times, even if you just play Standard. A recent Black Lotus sale has really put those costs into perspective, however. A pristine copy of the card’s original Alpha printing has just sold for a whopping $3 million: a new record in the world of MTG sales. This dwarfs even the legendary one-of One Ring sale from last year, proving there’s still life in the game’s ABU markets yet.

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The $3 Million Black Lotus Sale

Conjured Currency | Return to Ravnica | Art by Steve Argyle

The deal in question took place between Adam Cai, the owner of high-end collectibles store Pristine Collectibles, and an anonymous buyer. The buyer paid a cool $3 million for the Lotus, which is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s an Alpha printing of the card: the oldest and rarest version available. Second, the card is in perfect condition. The card was graded by CGC cards, a major collectible card grading company, and received a Pristine 10 rating. Prior to this sale, the most expensive card graded by CGC was a Topps Mickey Mantle card, which went for $1.25 million.

According to the CGC Population Report, which acts as a census for rare collectible cards, this is the only Alpha Black Lotus in this condition in existence. There may well be others outwith the range of the Report, but given the age and scarcity of the card, it could be a one-off in the vein of The One Ring. This would explain the $3 million price tag.

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The History Of Black Lotus

$3 million is a lot of money, but Black Lotus is perhaps the most legendary card in all of Magic. In the early stages of the game, when Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited were the only sets in town, the card immediately established itself as a powerhouse. Getting three mana of any color for a mere zero mana investment is an incredibly obvious design mistake in retrospect. For that reason, the card established itself as the crown jewel in the ‘Power Nine,’ an elite group of powerful Magic cards that stood head and shoulders above everything else in Alpha, and everything else in Magic. They still do, to this day.

For this reason, Black Lotus is heavily restricted in the current game, limited to just one copy in decks in the Vintage format. You won’t be getting a lot of actual gameplay use out of a copy. Despite this, the card’s reputation, and therefore its price, has endured. Even the Magic 30 edition of the card, which isn’t legal in any format, goes for over $4,000. Standard editions, even played ones from Beta and Unlimited, go for between $10-20,000.

Alpha Lotuses are another story. Heavily played copies go for around $80,000, and those in better condition go for far, far more. Last year, a Gem Mint Alpha Black Lotus sold for a (then) record-breaking $540,000. The card has a legacy of being one of the most expensive cards in the game, then, but this new sale represents a serious jump. $3 million is a 600% price increase, and it’s unclear exactly what the cause of it was at present.

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Record Breakers

At time of writing, this new Black Lotus sale is officially the biggest in history. Not so long ago, that title belonged to another card, however: the infamous one-of One Ring. This was a special card released as part of Magic’s Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth expansion. The set featured many standard serialized cards, but just one of this unique One Ring, making it extremely sought after. So much so that Dave and Adam’s Card World put out a $1 million bounty on the card.

In the end, when the card finally found its way to an owner, it went for a lot more than that. Famous rapper and prolific MTG fan Post Malone purchased the card for an eye-watering $2.64 million. This smashed his previous record, set earlier in 2023, of $800,000 for a Black Lotus artist proof signed by artist Christopher Rush.

Looking at these huge sales, it’s easy to think that the new collectability initiatives implemented by Wizards in recent years are the cause. The one-of One Ring certainly supports that idea. The fact that two of these sales are for classic printings of Black Lotus tells a different story, however. The intentional scarcity of new cards can certainly increase their value, and in the case of The One Ring the weight of The Lord of the Rings franchise helps a lot. In the end, though, the legacy of Magic itself will likely win out when it comes to big sales. $3 million is a huge number, but as supplies of Alpha dwindle over the years, it may well be surpassed before long.

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