While it hasn’t always been this way, for the longest time, MTG has been perceived as an incredibly expensive game. Considering that a deck in most formats can cost at least a few hundred dollars now, this reputation isn’t surprising. Thankfully, there are compelling budget deck options for thrifty players to enjoy. Just as there are cheap cards, however, there are also those that are much much more expensive.
Having existed since 1993, it’s safe to say that Magic: the Gathering has an immense number of cards. In fact, according to Scryfall, Wizards has released and teased 26,437 cards to date. As you might expect, some of these are significantly more expensive than others thanks to being, beloved, powerful, and above all else, rare. Ticking all of these boxes are many of MTG’s oldest cards.
Initially played upon the rough concrete of the playground and discarded as if worthless, many of MTG’s oldest cards have become exceptionally rare. Couple this fact with the power of these cards, which still stand out as the best in the game, and it’s easy to see why they’re expensive. Exceedingly expensive in the case of pristine graded examples of these cards, which often get sold at auction.
Speaking of auctions, that neatly brings us around to the topic of this list. As, using data from collectible action house giant PWCC, we’ll be covering the rarest and most expensive MTG cards of all time. So, without any more waffling, outside of a brief warning to brace yourself for some eye-watering prices, let’s get right into this immensely expensive list!
Honourable Mention – Shichifukujin Dragon
While this is a list of the most expensive MTG cards ever sold, the honorable mentions are the most expensive cards never sold. The first of these we’ll be talking about is Shichifukujin Dragon. Created in 1996, this card was designed by Wizards to honor Magic: the Gathering’s presence in Japan. Celebrating the launch of a Duelists’ Convocation International Tournament Center in Tokyo this card showcased Wizards’ commitment to the region.
Inspired by the country’s culture and the seven deities of luck, several copies of Shichifukujin Dragon were reportedly printed. All but one of these, however, were destroyed, before Wizards presented the last copy on the DCI Tournament Center’s opening day. From this day, the one and only copy of Shichifukujin Dragon would remain in place at the tournament center. That was until 2003, at least, when this DCI Tournament Center was closed. Since then, this card has resided within the Hobby Japan Head Office in Tokyo. Thankfully, while incredibly rare, this card makes occasional appearances at Grand Prix tournaments, much to the delight of fans.
As a ceremonial one-of-one MTG card, it’s safe to say Shichifukujin Dragon is expensive. How expensive, however? That is unfortunately impossible to say, as the card has never, and likely will never, be sold. Subsequently, it’s hard to say that Shichifukujin Dragon is anything other than priceless.
Honourable Mention – 1996 World Champion
Around the same time as Shichifukujin Dragon, Wizards created another one-of-one MTG card. As the subheading gives away, this card is simply titled 1996 World Champion. Unsurprisingly, considering its name, this card was created for and given away to the winner of the 1996 World Championships in Seattle. The player lucky enough to receive this celebratory card from Wizards was Australian Tom Chanpheng.
Somewhat remarkably, unlike Shichifukujin Dragon, the 1996 World Champion technically has a price. As, in 2001, Chanpheng sold their one-of-one card to a private collector for $17,500. Since this sale, however, the value of this prized collectible card is believed to have skyrocketed significantly. That is the expectation, at least, as the private collector has not listed the card for sale during their ownership. This small detail, however, hasn’t stopped opportunistic players from trying to sell fake copies online for upwards of $200,000.
Ultimately, just like Shichifukujin Dragon, this one-of-one MTG card would be exceptionally expensive if ever sold. However, since it is unclear if that will ever happen, it’s hard to call the 1996 World Champion anything other than priceless. After all, it is exactly that in the eyes of many players.
12 – Time Walk
To kick off our list, we have a copy of Time Walk sold on PWCC earlier this year. Graded by CGC, this Limited Edition Alpha card was in almost perfect quality, receiving a 9.5 Gem Mint grade. According to PWCC, this is only one of four copies of Time Walk to achieve this near-immaculate grade. Subsequently, as you might expect, this card is seriously expensive, selling for $27,600! For comparison, that’s just $170 shy of the price for a brand-new 2023 Ford Mustang!
Beyond being one of the oldest MTG cards that’s been expertly preserved, Time Walk is an exceptionally powerful card. Granting its caster an extra turn for just two mana (1U) this spell is infamously powerful. So much so that it is lauded by the MTG community as one of the Power Nine. In case you’re unfamiliar, each of these cards from Limited Edition Alpha are some of the strongest in the game. So much so that Wizards of the Coast dares to never reprint them, enshrining them in the Reserved List.
11 – Copy Artifact
While this list started with a card in the Power Nine, Copy Artifact isn’t quite that powerful. That being said, Copy Artifact certainly isn’t to be scoffed at, as there are plenty of incredibly powerful artifacts to duplicate. Black Lotus, for instance, is an obvious choice for exceptionally fast ramp. Alternatively, creating a duplicate of Blightsteel Colossus can end a game rather quickly.
As powerful as Copy Artifact is, typically, it’s not all too expensive. Having been reprinted numerous times, prior to the Reserved List’s inception, Copy Artifact can actually be quite cheap. On TCGplayer, for instance, Revised Edition copies can be acquired for as low as $32. On the other end of the spectrum, however, we have this recent $29,400 auction sale.
Similarly to Time Walk and many other cards on this list, this Copy Artifact hails from the rarest of the rare sets: Limited Edition Alpha. Alongside this rarity, this card was similarly well looked after, receiving a 9.5 Gem Mint grade from Beckett Collectibles. Thanks to this near-pristine grading, this Copy Artifact sold for an absolutely staggering price. A price that could have otherwise rather easily bought a Starcraft Renegade 168 SC boat!
10 – Mox Pearl
As we’ve covered already, the grading of the most expensive MTG cards dictates their price significantly. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that cards that receive a perfect Gem Mint 10 grade are tremendously valuable. This is certainly true for this Mox Pearl, which sold at auction in March 2023 for $34,800. With that amount of money, you could buy yourself a brand-new Cessna 182 aircraft!
Alongside achieving this perfect grade from PSA, Mox Pearl is also an incredibly powerful card. Costing absolutely nothing to play, Mox Pearl consistency provides you with one white mana each turn. On its own, even without being combined with untapping combos for infinite mana, this effect is undeniably powerful. So much so that Mox Pearl is a staple within countless Vintage decks, where money is no object. Thanks to this desirability, pristine copies of Mox Pearl are obviously incredibly sought after.
9 – Ancestral Recall
Being another Power Nine card graded at a perfect Gem Mint 10 by PSA, it should come as no surprise that Ancestral Recall is incredibly expensive. Like Mox Pearl before it, this card is a competitive staple in Vintage thanks to being extraordinarily powerful. After all, there are few things in MTG better than card draw, and Ancestral Recall provides three for the price of one! In comparison, a more balanced version of this effect typically costs four mana, as seen on Concentrate.
As with every card on this list, not every copy of Ancestral Recall costs over $30,000. On TCGplayer, for instance, Unlimited Edition copies can be bought for as little as $2899. While this is obviously no small amount of money, it’s ten times less than the card’s maximum price. Speaking of that maximum price, it was recently reached in a PWCC auction on the 16th of March 2023. Selling for a staggering price of $37,200 this PSA 10 graded example is only matched by four other examples. For that amount of money, you can get not just one, but five Sea-Doo Spark 60HP jetskis!
8 – Mox Emerald
Coming in at the same price as Ancestral Recall, technically, these two cards are tied for the number eight spot. That being said, congratulations to Mox Emerald for arbitrarily being chosen to officially claim the number eight spot! Similarly to Mox Pearl before it, this card is a pristine example that attained a perfect 10 Gem Mint grading from PSA. Unlike Mox Pearl, however, Mox Emerald is green, which makes it better… maybe.
Beyond arguably being a better color, Mox Emerald does have one upside over the slightly cheaper Mox Pearl. This is a marginal increase in rarity, as there are only five PSA 10 graded copies of Mox Emerald. In comparison, the are a total of six PSA 10 graded Mox Pearls. Thanks to this important difference Mox Emerald is slightly more expensive, selling for $37,200 at auction. For comparison, with a wad of cash like that, you could buy 5 more Sea-Doo Spark 60HP jetskis!
7 – Mox Ruby
Out of the fifteen Mox cards that Wizards has printed so far, Mox Ruby is the most expensive. Commanding over a $2000 price bump over the next most expensive card, this Mox has one major thing going for it: it’s red. Joking aside, there isn’t a definitive reason for this significant price bump on the surface. After all, this card is played in the same decks as the other five Power Nine Moxes. Alongside this, each Power Nine Mox features near enough the exact same ability, with the only difference being mana color.
Probing deeper, this Mox Ruby should, in theory, be cheaper than the other Mox before it. This is thanks to it being on par with eight other PSA 10 Gem Mint graded examples. Despite being more common, however, it’s likely this Mox is simply the most beloved by MTG players and collectors. Subsequently, at auction, it fetches the most expensive price tag, clocking in at $39,600. With that kind of cash, you could alternatively buy fourteen Vitus Escarpe mountain bikes!
6 – Shivan Dragon
In a slight break from form, Shivan Dragon is not a Power Nine card. In fact, Shivan Dragon isn’t even on the Reserved List. Worse than that, Shivan Dragon isn’t even one of the best dragons in MTG. If anything, Shivan Dragon is one of the worst dragons MTG has to offer, especially considering its heritage. Costing six mana, and only being a 5/5 dragon with Flying and firebreathing, Shivan Dragon is nothing to write home about.
That being said, while Shivan Dragon isn’t the most exciting MTG card, it is nonetheless beloved by the community. Subsequently, it has become a fan-favorite for collectors to fawn over, leading to some truly immense prices. The highest of these prices was obtained in 2022, by a Beckett graded 9.5 Gem Mint example. As you can tell from the subheading, this card sold for a staggering $44,400. If buying a near-pristine Shivan Dragon wasn’t for you, that money could easily purchase 40 sets of Black Crows Solis skis!
5 – Vesuvan Doppelganger
By most accounts, Vesuvan Doppelganger should not have made this list. As, similarly to copies of Shivan Dragon this near 30-year-old card is surprisingly cheap. Available for as low as $6 on TCGplayer, it’s clear there isn’t much demand for this card. After all, just like Shivan Dragon, this card also isn’t very good, boasting a very expensive copy ability. While this copy ability can change targets each turn, it is still weaker than Clone.
Despite being far from the most powerful card in MTG, Vesuvan Doppelganger is still one of the most expensive. This is thanks to a February 2023 auction reaching the dizzying price of $63,000! That’s enough to buy 1050 pairs of Vans Authentic Shoes! To explain this price tag, this copy of Vesuvan Doppelganger was graded a 9.5 by Beckett. This makes it on par with the other highest-quality examples, as no Vesuvan Doppelganger has been graded higher.
4 – Timetwister
As one of the Power Nine, it’s hardly a surprise to see Timetwister made this list of the most expensive cards. What is surprising, however, is that Timetwister only claimed its spot fairly recently. Previously, copies of this card have fallen somewhat shy, only selling for around $25,000 and $23,000 via PWCC auctions. In an April 20th auction, however, a new prized version of this card hit the market and quickly racked up an immense price tag.
Reaching a staggering price tag of $84,000, Timetwister has become the fifth most expensive unique MTG card ever sold. Facilitating this card’s impressive value is its spectacular grade from PSA. Deemed to be in perfect 10 Gem Mint condition, this card is only matched by three other examples. Subsequently, it’s safe to say this card is exceptionally rare, valuable, and more than deserving of the card’s price tag! If you’re wondering what that price tag could buy you, well, look no further than 1218 Santa Cruz Screaming Hand Skateboards!
3 – Lord of the Pit
Similarly to Vesuvan Doppelganger before it Lord of the Pit is not very good. It’s also not on the Reserved List, so it has been reprinted extensively since first appearing in Limited Edition Alpha. Despite these rather substantial drawbacks, Lord of the Pit nevertheless recently for a truly obscene amount of money. Within a January 2023 auction on PWCC, Lord of the Pit sold for $105,000. With that amount of money, you could look for a house! Alternatively, you could buy 42,168 McDonald’s cheeseburgers.
Considering that Lord of the Pit can be yours for just $0.16 on TCGplayer, this immense price tag might be quite a shock. Thankfully, however, there is a good reason this Lord of the Pit cost so much: its rarity. Graded by Beckett as a Pristine 10, Lord of the Pit is in a league of its own, unmatched in quality. Subsequently, with this incredible quality in mind, it’s no wonder this unassuming Lord of the Pit sold for so much.
2 – Black Lotus
More than any other MTG card, Black Lotus has a history of being the most expensive card around. This is thanks to it being, by most accounts, the best MTG card in existence. Costing nothing and proving three mana Black Lotus is simply unmatched in its ramp ability. Subsequently, this card is found within basically every Vintage deck. Provided, that is, its owner can afford a copy. As, on the low end, even a beaten-up Black Lotus will cost upwards of $10,000.
When it comes to graded copies, however, prices, unsurprisingly, quickly rocket up, as collectors understandably want this legendary card. On PWCC alone, there are countless high-price sales for Black Lotus’ many of which deserve a spot on this list. In fact, if we didn’t limit this list to just the highest sales, Black Lotus would claim eight spots on its own. Out of all of these, a record $540,000 sale claims the crown. Sold on March 16th, 2023, this sale is the highest recorded auction price for a Black Lotus to date. There is, however, one Black Lotus that’s even more expensive.
In a 2022 interview with Howard Stern, American Rapper, Post Malone, discussed their love for Magic: the Gathering. This, of course, led to Stern questioning Posty about the most expensive MTG card they have ever purchased. In responding to this, Post Malone proudly stated “$800,000.” According to Posty, this card was “an artist proof, Chris Rush-signed Black Lotus.” Technically, as an artist-proof, this card isn’t eligible to be played in tournaments. That being said, however, it is the most expensive Black Lotus ever sold. If you don’t fancy buying a Black Lotus, with that kind of money, you could instead purchase 61,585 Post Malone Knight Funko Pops.
1 – The One Ring
Somewhat remarkably, the most expensive MTG card of all time is also the newest on this list. Released as part of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, this card is another ultra-rare one-of-one MTG card. Fittingly for a Lord of the Rings crossover set, this card is a special variant of The One Ring.
Following the trend of past one-of-one cards, as soon as The One-of-One Ring was announced MTG players were expecting big things. Some players even suggested this card could sell for one million dollars! As much as it might have been frequently suggested, a million-dollar MTG card did seem rather unlikely. Despite it being an artificial collectible, however, MTG players soon went mad for it.
Over the course of a few weeks, the price, or rather bounty, on The One-of-One Ring skyrocketed. So much so, that wasn’t long before The One Ring was actually worth one million dollars! Remarkably, however, it didn’t stop there! In mid-June, the Spanish game store Gremio de Dregones offered €2,000,000 ($2,198,650) for The One Ring.
As keen-eyed readers will have noticed, the offer from Gremio de Dregones is higher than the price above. This is because The One-of-One Ring has finally been found and sold! After much anticipation, The One Ring was sold to MTG superfan and rap artist Post Malone. According to Polygon, the card sold for a record-breaking $2 million dollars.
While $2 million is technically less money than expected, it’s still an obscene amount of money. So much so, that it is easily the most expensive MTG card ever sold, by a wide margin.
Just in case you were curious, $2,000,000 could purchase you 44 18 Karat Gold replicas of The One Ring.