To Sell or Not To Sell, That Is the MAGIC Question!

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If you didn’t know, I play a card game called Magic the Gathering. I started playing it back in the early to mid-90’s and then pretty much stopped for about 20 years. A former co-worker got me back into it and now I’m back in. A very casual player mind you. I play what is called Kitchen Table Magic, ie, just sitting around playing when I get a chance with a friend or two. I don’t do tournaments or anything competitive.

The thing with Magic is that not only is it a game, it is also a Collectible card game. This means that not all the cards have the same quantity being released during each set, so the more powerful a card is and the rarer it is, the more money people are willing to pay for it.

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The company that produces Magic, Wizards of the Coast (WOTC), also sells specialty boxes of reprints so that certain cards don’t get too out of control.  Most cards from 2003 and on have a decent chance of getting reprinted if they run above $100 or become super popular due to being used in a winning deck by one of the pro’s.  These reprint boxes have a limited supply run but WOTC tends to print things into the ground ever since they were bought out by Hasbro. So “limited” tends to mean they won’t just keep on printing that particular set for a year.  11 months and 30 days, but NOT a full year, thus garnering that feared “limited” title.

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I’ve been buying some of these specialty boxes since 2015 with an eye to either opening them and getting some of those expensive cards for myself or to resell the boxes once the price starts to rise. I paid under $200 for each of those 3 boxes when they came out. Now, all 3 are selling for around $300 or so on Ebay.  The problem is that a LOT of other people all think the same way I did, plus some scum (who’ll I’ll call magic investors) who buy these things up by the hundreds to induce scarcity, thus raising the price and then said scum sell for a quick profit. So Ebay tends to be flooded with a LOT of options. Realistically speaking, there isn’t much selling going on at that price point.

I’ve tried to sell on Craigslist, but once prices go above the $150 mark, most things don’t sell real well there. People are leery of dealing with cash and meeting up and all that stuff. I don’t blame them, but still, it is discouraging.

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My question thus is this:

1 ) Do I list my 3 boxes separately on Ebay starting at 99cents, to avoid the insertion fee and hope the bidding goes up high enough to make me a profit AND to cover Ebay’s final sale fee (usually 10-15 percent, yeah, that much)

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Modern Masters 2015

 

2 ) Open the boxes and hope I get the cards I want (I have REALLY bad luck in this regard. Almost all boxes I’ve opened through the years have not done me good) and a few foil money cards I can sell individually so as to not lose too much money

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Modern Masters 2017

 

3 ) OR keep sitting on these boxes?

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Eternal Masters

 

This has all been brought to a head by the final Masters Set being released this Friday. Even though the average price for a box is running around $290, it has been selling like gangbusters in a speakeasy with Elliot Ness & his Untouchables knocking the doors down with their specialty sledgehammers. In other words, on Ebay, 1 seller sold upwards of 4000 boxes in a matter of hours. A lot of the cards in the Ultimate Masters box are also available in these 3 boxes. Which means that the price of the boxes I own might start dropping as the high priced cards in them start dropping in value.

This type of situation is exactly why I am a land survey tech and not an investment consultant.

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Ok, all good now. Just needed to write and do a little venting to get that off my chest. Cheerio…

bookstooge (Custom)

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19 thoughts on “To Sell or Not To Sell, That Is the MAGIC Question!

  1. I’d follow a few sales and see how they go before selling. I wouldn’t start at 99c as that’s risky unless you can put a high reserve on it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. piotrek says:

    I don’t presume to have anything useful to say here, but I did play a bit of M:tG in my high school years and when I sold the remaining cars a decade or so later, I did not get back the money. Too much had changed and what I had (5th edition deck based on cheap greens mostly, with a few leftovers from other colors) was simply not very effective against modern decks. It’s tricky when you try to treat pop-cultural good as an investment 🙂
    Now, when I want to play card games, I go for LCGs like GoT from FFG, or, lately, Legendary: Marvel. Not much of a thrill for collectors, but quite a bit of fun for much less $$.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      Yeah, Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic, feels the same as you. That’s why he got pushed out from WotC and has created some other games. I’m semi-interested in a new card game he created called Key-Forge. Games should be games, not investable cardboard…

      Liked by 1 person

      • piotrek says:

        Interesting concept, and actually totally different from what I’m used to.. instead of every player getting the same game, we have each deck being completely unique? I wonder what it does to the balance of the game… but the art is so-so… do review the game, if you decide to go for it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bookstooge says:

          I don’t know enough other people who I could play with. My coworker and I are totally invested in MTG, but should something happen, I’ll definitely do a post on it.

          If it doesn’t fail. Garfield has great ideas but sometimes he doesn’t have the best carry through. Hence him being shoved out of WotC :-/

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ola G says:

    I’d open them – but then, I’m not an investor either, just a ‘carpe diem’ type of person 😉 You might try opening one first – or ask Mrs B. to choose and open one – maybe she’ll have more luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. davekay says:

    The general rule with these sets is that they steadily increase in value until key cards are reprinted, then they tumble, stabilise, and start increasing once more. Eternal Masters was not well liked, especially after the surprise reprint knocked prices down by 20% or more – however it has been steadily rising.

    The other sets will be taking a knock right now from Ultimate Masters, so I think any time before next March/April is not a good time to be selling.

    However one thing I would recommend doing is tracking the price of successful eBay sales. That will let you know whether the price is trending up or down, regardless of what you might be reading elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you can put a reserve on ebay so that it has to sell above a certain point? (whilst putting the bidding as low as 99 cents) That way you don’t really lose. Not sure if that helps (I’m not really an expert on the subject 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmm, what a predicament. I’ve found myself in a similar situations before, and I’ve always decided just to sit on it. Not very helpful, I know…but I always just think if I can wait this long to sell, I can wait a little longer, and sometimes I think it’s just an excuse so I don’t have to part with something that has sentimental value for me 😛 I would go with what some of the others have suggested, and start tracking the prices.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhh I totally understand the issue… I’d have struggled to decide on what to do next myself. I’d still try scouting till you’re sure that things work pretty well for a good number of people before selling. Otherwise, I’d honestly just hold on to them and hope that the longer you wait, the more value they gain, especially in terms of yeeeears 😀 I still have some of my more legendary Yu-Gi-Oh cards and am assuming that if I took the time, I could make huge money with them. And then there’s sentimental value that just keeps me from exploring the $$$ path. For now… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I was under the impression that Yugioh had moved to a reprint every card model and that it had really wrecked the secondary market. I might be thinking of Pokemon though.

      But nostalgia and memories are extremely valid reasons to hold on to certain cards. I’ve got one from 1994 that is worth about 25cents but the memories it evokes are almost priceless. Hmmmm, that’s not a bad idea for a post some day 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s worse with Pokemon, but honestly, I wouldn’t know what the current state is with resell value and what collector’s are on the lookout for. Hopefully people will slowly ruin their personal collection and leave me as the sole owner of original cards. 😀 When the day come, maybe the common cards will have insane value. 😛

        Hahahah sweeet! Glad to spark some ideas. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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