While MTG grew a lot in 2022, we also bore witness to what is probably the most controversial thing that the world’s biggest trading card game ever did. The community interpreted the 30th Anniversary Edition as an absolute disaster. While many of the details regarding the set’s success have been obscured, many of the community believe that, for the better of the game, it did worse than expected. This resulted in much less of the 30th Anniversary Edition product being released than expected, which has given singles from the set some bizarre prices. The crown jewel from the set, an unplayable Black Lotus, has just sold for $7,600, and while many may interpret this as bad news, it may not be for the reasons you think.
On December 30, a 30th Anniversary Black Lotus did indeed sell for $7,600 USD. This item had seven bids on it before the sale concluded, rising from $6,900 to its selling price in the process. Only four separate bidders participated in the auction.
Considering the heavily controversial nature of anything involving the 30th Anniversary Edition, it did not take long for Reddit conversations to appear regarding it. In this Reddit discussion, many players came to the same conclusion when talking about the Black Lotus Sale:
“This is likely price fixing by a couple of folks who are sitting on some 30A singles or boxes themselves. No one in their right mind would take this seriously as a comparable and subsequently start to collect any of it further.” – Royaltycoins
The following perspective has prevented other strange 30th Anniversary Edition from upheaving the MTG community too much. A few of these cards have been selling for controversial prices over the past few months, but it seems to be a small collection of bidders trying to raise the prices of these cards.
One of the most prominent voices in the MTG community speaking against the 30th Anniversary Edition was YouTuber Alpha Investments. He has covered a ton of 30th Anniversary content, even after the controversy left the eyes of many others. The video above covers an emerging issue with 30th Anniversary Edition-related products appearing on the secondary market: there is evidence that some accounts are interested in inflating numbers behind the product. Basically, some accounts were bidding higher prices than the “Buy it Now” price, which, for context, basically means you can buy the product immediately for the lower price. Yet, accounts wanted to pay more money for this 30th Anniversary Edition product. According to Rudy from Alpha Investments, there was only one account consistently doing this, and there was another account consistently bidding against them.
This creates (potentially) faked financial interest in the product, making it appear more valuable than the market truly perceives it to be. The worry is that a party may be interested in selling all of their 30th Anniversary Product for a falsely inflated price. Once that fake interest disappears, the market will revert to the product’s real value. In other words, the value of 30th Anniversary Edition products will crash. Rudy from Alpha Investments did a follow-up video specifically talking about 30th Anniversary Edition boxes about a week after this one, and the prices indeed crashed by about 33%. While we do not know if the accused accounts are involved in this sale, we do know that some of the identifiers that Rudy mentioned in his video do not match up with the winning bid.
The most extensive conversation regarding this sale contains a starting point where the Redditor who created the thread points out that “You could buy TWO CE black lotus’s for that price.”
The Collector’s Edition is commonly brought up when discussing the 30th Anniversary Edition. Before the announcement of this controversial product, the Collector’s Edition was the only other product in MTG history that offered competitively illegal printings of the most sought-after cards in the game. Unlike the 30th Anniversary Edition, the Collector’s Edition offered customers an entire tournament-illegal reprinting of the Beta Set for a small price of $50. These cards were rebacked and had square corners to differentiate them from their tournament-legal counterparts. The 30th Anniversary Edition, on the other hand, offers customers four randomized packs of tournament-illegal Beta reprints for $1000.
Considering the above points, the MTG community finds the Collector’s Edition a lot less controversial than the 30th Anniversary Edition, so why not spend less acquiring what is considered a more sought-after collectible by the overall MTG community?
In terms of skepticism, it did not take long for Rudy’s name to pop up again, citing sources that these numbers may be falsely inflated:
“I would take all these 30th anniversary sales with a grain of salt. KidIcarus and Rudy have both mentioned suspicious activity in this regard among a few sellers. Rudy mentioned about 2 people keep bidding on everything 30th anniversary related.” – ReMeDyIII
“the fact that this dollar figure raised eyebrows means most people don’t think it’s worth that much with many very skeptical that it is a legitimate transaction. just because one person MAY be willing to pay $7k it doesn’t change the fact that most people wouldn’t pay $8 for a proxy.” – f_GOD
One comment suggests a good measure of when to start taking these sales seriously. At this point, too few of these cards are being sold for outrageous prices:
“I will only believe the prices when there are double digits selling. When there are 1-2, it’s painfully easy for the creators of the game to push the prices as high as they want to make sure these threads keep getting made.” – dbtwg
If a series of these Black Lotus cards all sell for around the same price as this one, then the card’s price starts to garner some legitimacy. This also suggests that there is a more extensive base of players interested in acquiring these cards, making their value as a collectible less skeptical to the MTG community. The irony lies in whether this is a good thing or not. The 30th Anniversary Edition represents a direction MTG is not currently taking that would drastically alter the game’s future. For the sake of playability, many in the MTG community, including Alpha Investments, have spoken against this product’s apparent purpose.
Fakes Offer Another Risk
Because these cards cannot be used in sanctioned play, many MTG players consider the cards from the 30th Anniversary Edition to be the equivalent of an expensive proxy. This ‘fake’ designation of 30th Anniversary Cards is further ironicized by chatter that fakes of these 30th Anniversary cards are already appearing on the secondary market:
“Just wait till we start seeing fakes of the 30th anniversary.” – ArchangelOX
“They are already here” – lurkingforreps
We have no idea how widespread this issue is or even if it’s an issue at all. Regardless, for the few interested in this controversial product, be sure to buy from trustworthy sources in case this really is an issue.