Secret Lair cards have seen rather mixed reviews throughout the entirety of their existence. For a time, an unhealthy exclusivity of mechanically unique cards was the catalyst for this, but recent complaints are mostly related to legibility. As card art explores flimsier boundaries, cards, while incredibly pleasing to the eye, become a bit difficult to read. This, occasionally, makes it difficult to read the more exotic cards coming out of Secret Lair.
As of late, the borderless poster art from the Lord of the Rings Special Edition release has been a particularly hot topic in the legibility department. Despite these cards not being part of a Secret Lair, they are, nonetheless, very hard to read. To make matters worse, the serialized versions of these cards have their stamps placed on the card text, making them even harder to read!
Despite this controversy, the borderless poster artwork from the Lord of the Rings Special Edition remain rather beautiful, and it seems the artwork has no shortage of admirers, as prices for many of them are skyrocketing!
Radagast, the Brown
Radagast is a rather unique companion for creature-based Commander decks that can afford to run it. As long as your creature’s types vary heavily, Radagast can provide its user an endless stream of threats. Of all the borderless poster cards from the special edition set, Radagast is also one of the easier ones to read.
Radagast’s price history highlights the odd trend that has been identified with these Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday Edition borderless poster cards. The non-foil version has been slowly rising in price, increasing by $5 over the month of November, arriving at $9.
Foils, however, are increasing much more aggressively in price. Radagast, the Brown was just a little over $8 for its foil variant around the 22nd of November. It is now regularly selling for $30! Recent sales suggest that this card will push even further.
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The Spiky Trend
This pattern has continued for other variants of the borderless poster artwork. Glamdring is not particularly useful outside of a spellslinger deck in EDH. Regardless, foil market prices exploded around the same time for Glamdring, increasing from $10 to $25 in market average. That said, current sales for foil copies of Glamdring are selling for $40 or more.Storm of Saruman is the same, increasing from $4 on the 22nd of November to currently selling for $35 in its foil iteration. Tom Bombadil, which has always had more demand than other Lord of the Rings Mythics thanks to Commander, doesn’t quite hold the same pattern, but still has increasing prices. The nonfoil iteration of the borderless poster art for this card has increased from $7 to $30 over the duration of its existence. Foil versions started from $13, and are now selling for over $40.
Some cards have followed the same trend, but to a much smaller degree. Shadow of the Enemy, for example, has seen an increase in its borderless poster foil treatment’s value, but only about $5 worth, at most.
Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of this price spike lies in Sauron, the Dark Lord. At their cheapest, the nonfoil and foil versions of this card was worth $25 and $44 respectively. Notably, these nadirs occurred at different times.
Sauron, the Dark Lord is a wildly powerful force in Commander. Able to grow gigantic Orc Armies at a whim, and able to draw a ludicrous amount of cards when The Ring Tempts You, this Commander has been quite popular.
Purchasing a borderless poster Sauron, the Dark Lord right now will cost a staggering $80-90 for its nonfoil variant. Foils will cost you north of $100!
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The Trend isn’t Everywhere
Despite the sudden explosion to foil borderless poster cards affecting a majority of the treatment’s printings, not all of them are suddenly exploding in price. Gandalf, the White has seen some price increases over the past few weeks, but the $3 change is rather minimal in comparison to the other cards seen on this list.
Witch-King of Angmar has a similar story to tell. This card’s price has not changed much in the same period where some other borderless poster cards skyrocketed.
What About the Most Expensive One?
Since these borderless poster cards hit the market at the beginning of November, The One Ring has remained the most expensive one. The One Ring was already going for some outlandish prices at release compared to everything else, immediately retailing for $130 and $200 for its nonfoil and foil variants respectively.
Ultimately, both variants are, well, about the same as they were on release. Foil variants for The One Ring did have a spike to $300 shortly after release, but this was rather short lived. Nonfoil variants of The One Ring’s borderless poster variant currently appear to be selling for between $120 and $140, while the foil versions are selling for between $220 and $230.
Scarcity may be a big reason why these cards are spiking in price now. You can only find borderless poster variants of these Lord of the Rings cards in the Special Edition Collector Booster packs. These aren’t absurdly rare in those packs, but they’re far from guaranteed in every pack. Overall, you should get at least one per box, but can likely get more.
Either way, if you are a fan of these questionably legible, yet gorgeous Lord of the Rings borderless poster cards, you may need to pay quite a premium to buy one.