9, Aug, 22

Old MTG Cards May be Disappearing From the Marketplace

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Article at a Glance

The MTG secondary marketplace has been a stark place for a long time. Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate was received rather underwhelmingly by the community. Fortunately, Double Masters 2022 was a huge hit. Whether it was insane reprints, or unfortunate events happening to players, this set gave the MTG secondary marketplace the grease it needed to start making moves again. Players are excited about playing in person, so paper cards are exchanging hands at a fast rate. This also means the return of some of MTG’s nastier tendencies, like cheating. It is important to remember that, because these cards are so scarce, every instance of these cards’ sales will affect the market price. That being said, a recent highlight on an Arabian Knights card has highlighted another new market indication: print numbers.

Vintage MTG Cards are Spiking

Serendib efreet

There is a wide variety of reasons why older cards are starting to go up en masse. Honestly, it can all be summarized by, once again, mentioning that the phasing out of pandemic protocols combined with the much-needed injection of market movement has players excited. Sure, other core facts are moving these cards. For example, this Arabian Knights card went up about $120 over the past week, hitting an average market price of $640.

According to Youtuber Mattcaster Mage, this may partially be due to the Serendib Efreet‘s print numbers being revealed to the world, showing only 20,700 of this card in existence. This is the most volatile example we currently have on hand and may be due to an NM Serendib Efreet being sold on the secondary market. That being said, this led down the rabbit hole of checking out cards with similar confirmed print numbers of 20,700. These are all spiking absurdly over the last year, signaling a possible disappearance from the secondary market soon.

Print Run Price Patterns

island of wak-wak

It doesn’t really matter what you check. No matter which card fits the above requirements, they’ve spiked over the last year. Island of Wak-Wak is a cheaper Arabian Knights Reserved List card. At the beginning of April this year, the Island saw a price jump from $600 to $775, according to TCGplayer’s marketplace! All of these older cards are heavily influenced by their condition. While a Near Mint Island of Wak-Wak will go for about $775, a heavily played one will only go for about $280.

jandor's saddlebags

This even applies to Arabian Knights Rare cards that have seen a fair bit of supplementary printings. Jandor’s Saddlebags is a unique artifact that can induce some infinite mana combos in EDH. Even though there are printings of this card worth around a dollar, the Arabian Knights Saddlebags, with 20,700 copies in existence, doubled in price in the middle of June. This manifested as a $52 price increase to about $105 for a near-mint Saddlebags. Even slight damage will result in your Saddlebags selling for a price much closer to the previous one.

MTG’s Rarest Card

black lotus

Of course, print numbers can become even lower than that, and MTG’s most expensive card is a fantastic example of that. Alpha Rares are extremely difficult to come across. There are only 1100 of them printed worldwide, and a lot of them have additionally been lost to the passage of time. There are numerous stories of kids using these MTG cards when they were young for silly things like making a motorcycle sound on their bikes.

Either way, on top of Black Lotus being one of the most sought-after cards in the whole game (even becoming an icon in Pop Culture in general), there is very little of its most expensive printing in existence. No wonder a card like Black Lotus can go for as much as $800,000. For MTG hopefuls interested in owning a Black Lotus of their own, an MTG celebrity is hosting an event where that dream can become a reality.

MTG Condition is Important

volcanic island unlimited

According to the MTG Market Watch, Reserved List Volcanic Islands saw a giant price spike this week, jumping by $1000 to $2540. The Youtuber mentions that, while this price spike is vast and is primarily caused by a good condition Volcanic Island changing hands, the spike isn’t all that surprising. For NM Volcanic Islands, the $2000 range is not all that surprising. This was instead caused by a lot of worse-conditioned Volcanic Islands being sold consecutively, only for some better-conditioned ones to hit the marketplace this week. Don’t get me wrong; this is a highly sought-after card for Legacy, Vintage, and Commander players with a small print run. The Dual Lands, however, saw an additional printing versus some of the other cards here, allowing players to find some lower prices for them.

wheel of fortune

The lesson to take away from this example is aimed at those who want some of the illustrious pieces of MTG history for themselves. Looking to save some money? Consider buying a copy of these cards that have seen some love. Condition is a huge price variation for old collectibles. I have used this to pick up some incredibly cheap Reserved List Commander cards, like Wheel of Fortune and Replenish.

However, this goes hand in hand with knowing what you’re buying. Blindly trusting the median price in market trackers can lead you astray, as price points for these MTG cards are more volatile than the rest of the market. These will retain their value in the long run, but buying a heavily played Volcanic Island for the price of a near-mint one solely because of the price fluctuation that occurred this week is a quick way to lose some sleep in the coming nights.

How Rare Are Your Cards?

Investing in MTG is a lot easier than one may think. There are a lot of consistent patterns repetitively established in the secondary market. Amongst older cards, sitting on Sealed Product is another fantastic way to lock in a profit over time. With all of this talk about confirmed print numbers, MTG players may be curious about how rare their cards are. If you have an older card and want to figure out its scarcity, you can look here.

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