24, Apr, 24

Devoted Fan Gathers Over 138,000 Copies of Classic Card!

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Every so often, a story comes along in the world of Magic: the Gathering that genuinely baffles. Today we have one such story: the tale of “Stone Rain” Dan Barnard, a long-time Magic player who has managed to amass a truly astounding collection of his namesake card. At the time of writing, Barnard’s collection sits at 138,000 copies, according to the original report by Milwaukee-based TMJ4 News. Many of you probably have multiple trade binders or even multiple boxes worth of Magic cards, but do they fill the entire boot of a car? Barnard’s Stone Rains do.

It’s one of the most significant single-card collections, or collections period, in the history of the game. It may even be approaching the realm of World Record status. But just what is the reasoning behind it? Why did Dan Barnard decide to take on such an obscure challenge? And what drives him to keep going long after most would have stopped? Today, we’re going to find out.

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A Rain Of Stone Rain

Dan Barnard’s is a collection of frankly ridiculous proportions, but remarkable simplicity. He has gathered over 138,000 individual copies of the card Stone Rain. For newer players, this is a card printed way back in Alpha, the very first expansion in Magic’s history. For two and a red, it destroys target land. These three words are as simple as it gets. Land destruction isn’t something we see often in modern Magic, since it isn’t a huge amount of fun to play against. Don’t let that fool you, however. Stone Rain is a card with plenty of printings, and it has rarely risen above bulk prices in any of them.

Despite this, Barnard’s collection is still incredibly impressive. He has countless different editions of Stone Rain in huge numbers, including misprints, different language editions, signed copies, and more. Of particular note, he has 12,000 copies of the card’s Tempest printing and 319 of the original Alpha edition. I mentioned above that the card isn’t particularly valuable, but the Alpha edition is an exception. Copies go for as much as $45, and with 319 of them… well, I’ll let you do the math on that one.

Even more impressive than this is Barnard’s playtest version of Stone Rain. We’ve seen playtest cards as fun extras included in Mystery Boosters in recent years, but those are mere imitations of real internal playtest cards. Barnard’s Stone Rain is the real deal, and it’s one of only two confirmed to exist in the world. He estimates the value of his collection at $2-300,000, and with cards like that, it’s not hard to agree with that.

Who Is “Stone Rain” Dan Barnard?

Obsessive Collector | Alchemy | Reiko Murakami

The collection is incredibly impressive, but what of the man himself? It takes a special kind of person to collect over 138,000 Stone Rains, after all. Dan Barnard, known as “Stone Rain Dan” in the Magic community, is a long-time player from Green Bay, Wisconsin. His journey with Stone Rain began decades ago when he noticed a friend of his had managed to collect 130 copies of the same card. He decided to start collecting one card himself, choosing Stone Rain due to its low price and Common rarity.

Beyond just being a personal challenge, Barnard had another goal in mind: to see if he could actually impact the price of Stone Rain itself. It’s difficult to gauge whether or not he’s been successful since it’s been so long since his collection began, but it’s likely that prices on the rarer Alpha version have been impacted.

Barnard himself has a surprisingly relaxed outlook on his collection. Speaking to TMJ4 News, Bernard stated, “It’s not a huge deal. I collect a card, but it’s just a little notoriety.” ‘A little’ may be underselling things. Barnard notes that “a lot of the time there are places that have them (Stone Rain) set aside for me, just on the odd chance that I come in,” referring to local game stores in his area. He’s a local legend, to be sure.

Barnard also has a suitably legendary plan for what will eventually become of his collection. He plans to leave the more valuable copies to his daughter, and then incorporate the rest into his funeral. He either wants to be cremated on a bonfire built of Stone Rains, or buried in a casket made of them. Given the card’s fiery art and red color alignment, I’d say the former was a better bet.

The Collector’s Club

The tale of “Stone Rain” Dan Barnard is a fascinating one, but it’s not the first of its kind. Many other Magic players have amassed similarly impressive collections, some of which are just as specific as Barnard’s. A recent Twitter thread covered a player who was aiming to collect one of every Mountain ever printed, playtest cards included. Back in 2022, a German player’s collection, consisting of three complete sets of Beta, was valued at around €1m.

Magic has always been a highly collectible game, but recent developments have pushed that aspect harder than ever. Each new set comes with at least one radical alternate art style, and some have more than that. There are new foiling styles, serialized cards, and, of course, Secret Lairs. Regular players who just want to play a new card in Standard are often spoiled for art choice, never mind dedicated collectors. It’s a totally different world from the one Barnard began his Stone Rain journey in.

What his collection, and the buzz around it, reminds us of is the sheer flexibility of Magic collection as a pastime. No matter how you choose to engage with collecting, there will be cards to accommodate you and a community to cheer you on as you go. In that sense, Barnard’s is not a story of obsession but of an inspirational journey. May you find the same joy in the game in your own way.

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