Some of you know that my collection was shared with Jeff for a long time. We split it up once because he was supposed to move away, and that would have been too difficult to finagle. Then he didn't move, and we ended up recombining after a while. A little over a year ago, we split for good over an argument. We negotiated a buyout, and after some other wheeling an dealing, the whole thing was mine.
One point of contention we had was that Jeff wanted to sell cards when they were hot and buy them back once they cooled down. My argument against that is "WTF do I build decks with if we do that?" and I put my foot down every time he brought it up. Now I find myself in a bind because I can't afford to buy the cards I want to buy, and I think I have found a solution that works for me: diversify!
There is a huge secondary market for Magic. There are lots of older cards that aren't rares that I have a lot of copies of because we used to buy a shitload of product, and now some of those cards are valuable. Nothing spectacular alone, but if I have a couple hundred singles I can get at least $1 each for, that's a good chunk of change to help get those cards I want. In the past, I've been reluctant to sell any cards off. I've seen it was sign of weakness, and I still do. But there's no shame in recognizing that I am weak in the buying department, and if I want these cards, I'm going to have to give up value for them.
Over the weekend, I sold ten of each basic land from Unhinged (a 2004 spoof set) for $205. Those lands are very popular because of their design and scarcity. Most basic land is less than $.10. I turned those cards into 4 Windswept Heath, last week's draft at the card shop, and about 40 bucks I owed Sal for a couple things. Not too shabby. I'm going to continue this route because there are lots of really expensive cards I want, like Lion's Eye Diamond, Gaea's Cradle, and Mox Diamond.
One thing I'm sure I won't do is sell off pieces of my collection to pay for things that aren't collection related. I never understood why people do that. Reacquiring cards is a colossal pain in the ass. Why not keep what I have?
There's a special printing of Fourth Edition from 1995 that was a test print done by US Playing Card Company that got leaked out into our area, and those cards have some value as well. I'm looking into unloading those in order to help get the cards I want. I have a potential buyer on MOTL, and it looks like I could take in over $100 for what I have of those cards. It's funny. I only discovered I had them because Jimmy had a black light on in a room I was storing some cards. I happened to notice a stack of white bordered cards weren't behaving like the others under the light. Turns out the USPC test cards are UV coated like their playing cards, and they don't glow under black light, whereas all official Magic cards do. I was proud of myself for discovering them, but had been beaten to the punch by a few years by the Internet. Anyway, there are some hardcore Alternate 4th collectors, and I have quite a few of the more valuable, i.e. popular cards. Hopefully I can get that money and repurpose it into some stuff I'm really looking for.
I've also been doing something kinda interesting with auctions on MOTL. I have a huge list of rares I'm looking for to complete sets from 8th Edition forward (this known as the Modern format). Occasionally I end up with a foil version of a good rare card, but I don't care for foils. So I put them up for auction at the price of one nonfoil version of the listed card plus x number of rares from my giant list. I value all the rares the same, so I'm basically trading for the junk rares, but that's ok because I need them just as much, and they're not terribly easy to trade for over the Internet because it's not really worth paying the postage when it's more than the cards' value.
I am finding it difficult to fill out my collection with Mythic Rares because they aren't super cheap, so no one wants to give them in my auctions. I don't want to be one of those guys that try to trade for profit, so I'm not sure how I will continue to procure cards in order to trade for more cards. Somehow, I guess. I'll figure something out, I always do.
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