One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Never is this truer than in the world of collectibles. From comic books to McDonald’s toys, someone out there would pay top dollar for items most people would throw away or banish to the attic until discovered by their grandchildren. Knowing that, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that an extremely rare Magic: The Gathering card sold on eBay over the weekend for a cool $87,672. That card? The mythical Black Lotus.
To understand why this card is worth so much to collectors, and why I audibly gasped upon seeing its Beckett score of 9.5, some background: Magic: The Gathering was released in 1993 with a paltry 295 cards. Known as the Alpha set, only 2.6 million cards were printed. This was not enough. Before the end of the year, two more printings had been completed: Beta and Unlimited Edition. Each of these sets had 302 cards and the latter had white borders instead of black. The Beta printing was 7.3 million cards while Unlimited had a whopping 40 million. Alpha cards were the only Magic cards ever printed with black borders and rounded corners instead of square. All of these little details matter to the high-end collector.
So at the end of the day, only 1,100 Black Lotus Alpha cards were ever printed. And if the scarcity wasn’t enough to warrant the cost, the Lotus just happens to be one of the most powerful cards printed in MTG’s storied history. It adds three mana — the “currency” you use to cast MTG’s spells — of any single color of your choice to your mana pool for the low low cost of zero mana. This effectively puts you many turns ahead of your opponent. There is only one format of the game that allows the Lotus to see play, and even then, publisher Wizards of the Coast only allows one copy of the card in any deck (instead of four). Add a nearly perfect Beckett score on top of that game-breakable ability, and you have an Action Comics #1 situation (that rare comic book issue sold at auction for a cool $3.2 million USD in 2014).
Do you remember talking about the mythical Black Lotus in hushed tones over games of Magic: The Gathering? Would you spend $87k on a piece of collectible history? Let us know in the comments below!
Images: Wizards Of The Coast/ eBay