Hey Magic Geeks! This week Stew is getting up on his soapbox to rail against some weird price jumps in the so-called ‘secondary market’ aka the singles binder aka buying cards one at a time at an inflated price. Hot topics and irreverence abound in this week’s Magic Monday….er Thursday.
Szpirs: Want to talk about anything in particular this week?
Stew: Maybe prices on old cards.
Szpirs: How so?
Stew: Well, how about 6 years ago an Underground Sea was $160 now it’s $450?
Szpirs: Inflation much?
Stew: Yeah, just a bit. Even the Crucible of Worlds as a non foil, non invention is almost $80. It was a $10 rare when it was released in Fifth Dawn.
Szpirs: Huh….it’d be kinda fun to compare the prices to the rate of inflation…
Stew: Yeah… I’m speaking as a veteran player who had to sell off what would be enough for a down-payment on a house for maybe a 16th of its value just to start playing again.
Szpirs: That sucks, dude. Has there been a sharp increase in prices or is this a symptom of having these cards in the game for such a long time?
Stew: It’s supply vs demand. These cards had their set runs and haven’t really been reprinted since…or not often enough to bring their price down. So Mishra’s Workshop, Bazaar of Baghdad, Wasteland have all skyrocketed as those sets are now as rare as Beta and Alpha.
Stew: …maybe that’s a bit of a stretch in rarity but it’s getting closer. I bought Bazaars for $200-$230 a piece back in the day. They go for $700-$800 a piece now.
Some more surprising pricing has come from Wizards of the Coast dropping the 3rd set in a block. Rares or foils are, effectively, 1/3rd more valuable because there are fewer sets per block which makes a given card even harder to find.
Stew: Pricing and value has even been in the news recently. Martin Shkreli, the CEO who raised the price on some simple drug everyone uses while in hospital by 700%, said he would be focusing on finding the rarest cards and keeping them for himself as an investment.
Stew: I have had friends who built a full set of power 9 [Szpirs: the set of 9 overpowered cards from the first two sets that unbalance the game and enable first-turn-kills] just to make a down payment on a house who now would of been able to buy the house out right.
Szpirs: So they built power 9 instead of making a down payment and can now buy a house outright or they bought power 9 as an investment and it over performed?
Stew: No, more they traded up until they had power 9 then used it to make a down payment.
Szpirs: Wow… what do you trade for power 9? Who would ever trade one?
Stew: Some older players have extras from time-to-time….or found one for super cheap. More often, they’re trying to trade up themselves so they’ll trade two Revised Edition power cards and pay up to get a Beta Edition power card.
Szpirs: It’s like going up a super Saiyan level….
Stew: Hey sometimes you want that black border…
Szpirs: Word. What’s the craziest trade you ever made like that?
Stew: Hmm… hard to say. There were times we traded at our LCS to players who knew what they were trading but didn’t know the value of what they wanted vs what they had, so we got away with some really bad trades. I got a collectors edition Mox Jet ( only usable as a proxy) for next to nothing. Even so, both sides were happy with what was traded.
I traded a bunch of Kaladesh stuff for my Sol Ring Invention version.
Szpirs: You traded for that? Nice! What did they want?
Stew: Mostly Legacy spells (cards from the Legacy format…basically all sets are legal with a few cards being banned or restricted) that were still sought after… some type one stuff I had extras of and some Standard lands.
Szpirs: Type 1….oh, you mean Vintage.
Szpirs: What’s the protocol on trading?
Stew: I like to keep these simple. Don’t trade stuff you actually want to keep; that’s dumb and fruitless. Don’t expect to get someones’ entire binder for a card you think is awesome. Don’t be too greedy; it can end trades very quickly. Bring your traders that you no longer need. Listen to other players there (most of them will help you) and do not, unless otherwise stated by the store you are in, suggest you will buy a card from someone in the store. That’s ill-mannered and sometimes a ban-able offence.
That’s about it for this week, Geeks. What’s the craziest trade you’ve ever made? Let us know in the comments.