Will No One Rid Me of These Troublesome Magic Cards?
September 20, 2019 1:18 PM   Subscribe

I recently brought back a box of late 90s Magic: the Gathering cards from my mom's house, and while I definitely want to keep most of them, there are a few with some real value (in the $25-$200 range) that I neither feel sentimental about nor plan to include in any of the casual decks I'd be making. What's the best way to sell them?

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about Moxes or anything. The most valuable card I have in what I've sorted through so far is a City of Traitors, which looks like it's going on eBay for around $150. I've also got a couple of Serra's Sanctums, and then some others like Metalworker, Wasteland, a 5th edition Sylvan Library, etc., that are worth enough for me to be interested in selling them and that I don't mind dumping since I'm not planning to play at the level where you're looking for the advantages these cards provide. The main complicating factor is that while none of them are badly damaged and most are totally unplayed, many are slightly warped, probably from being thrown into a heap and sitting loose in a box for 20 years. If the surface is mostly pristine but the card doesn't quite sit flat, is that going to be a major factor in how much I could sell these for? Are these "Lightly Played" or "Damaged"? I feel like it isn't going to be a huge problem since these will immediately go into sleeves where I doubt you could tell the difference, but I figured I'd mention it, especially to set my expectations.

More importantly, what's the best way to get the best deal for these? If I take them to a card shop, am I going to get around what the eBay/TCGPlayer price is? Should I sell them individually myself on eBay? In a batch? If I do that, how should I send them to people? I'm not intensely worried about getting absolute top dollar for them, and would probably take 90% of the objectively best price just to have this done without too much fuss, but it's also not that difficult for me to keep a handful of cards around for a while, so I'd rather not take a steep discount just to be rid of them. It looks like there was a big price spike in a lot of these about a year ago, so if there's some other thing happening soon that might spike the prices again (or if the bubble is about to burst and I should really take whatever I can get for these now), let me know.
posted by Copronymus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My local game store buys for a percentage of the TCGPlayer price, because they sell at that price. They pay about 25% cash, or 50% store credit.

If you have an eBay reputation as a seller, that might be the most profitable option.

I would consider warped but otherwise pristine cards "lightly used," but check with a couple of stores.
posted by JawnBigboote at 1:49 PM on September 20, 2019

Card Kingdom is one of the larger online MTG dealers. While I've never sold cards, they are my primary purchase site. And you can view their purchasing site to see how much they'll pay per card. Probably the easiest option for you.

You can sell as an individual on TCG which would get you more per card than Card Kingdom. But a lot of folks are hesitant to buy from unknowns (which is why I'd avoid eBay) so it'll likely take longer to move all your cards.

New cards that synergize with older one will cause the price spike, but that's impossible to predict (other than when new sets are released). Similarly reprints will cause the price to drop.
posted by zinon at 1:54 PM on September 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

Local store will give you 25-50% of selling price, one of the big online stores (Card Kingdom, Channel Fireball, Coolstuffinc, Troll and Toad, etc.) would probably give 60-75% depending on if you want cash or credit (maybe for other games). (However they might expect better condition.)
If you sell yourself on eBay or TCGPlayer you will pay about 15% in fees (plus shipping). TCGplayer is easier than eBay.

IMO your best bet is to try to sell the more valuable ones individually. Be very up front about the condition if you sell online. If they are just mildly curled, you can probably fix it by curling them back and forth in the other direction (e.g. horizontally vs vertically) combined with putting them under something heavy for a while. However if you can't get them to lay flat at all, that probably counts as "heavily played".

Alternatively, there is probably a local Facebook group for buying and selling Magic cards.
posted by tracer at 2:34 PM on September 20, 2019

I finally expended the last of my mid-90s magic collection via a sale to Card Kingdom. The process was simple and I thought the pricing fair given that my effort was limited to letting them know what cards I planned to send and what condition I thought they were in. They sent back a couple I'd mis-classified from the early revised, 4th edition, etc era when versions weren't clearly marked and adjusted a couple grades but essentially matched the value I'd expected. That was for a stack of cards where no individual card was worth over $10. It may be worth drawing a line for the slightly higher value cards and selling directly yourself via e-bay or similar. You know the value of your own time best.
posted by meinvt at 6:32 PM on September 20, 2019

Nthing Card Kingdom. Their prices for buying were excellent and the interface was straightforward.
posted by Gneisskate at 10:32 AM on September 21, 2019

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