The man accidentally opens Magic: The Gathering pack and pulls out Black Lotus, which may be worth over $ 10,000


Michael is a partner in a New York law firm. He’s been playing Magic: The Gathering since the mid-1990s – he thinks 1996 Alliance was his first card set. Recently returned to the stock market. As he watched the value of his investments rise and fall, he realized that, compared to these stocks, the old cards that he and his friends had had only increased in value. So, after sharing a bottle of wine with his partner one evening, he took roughly the same amount of money he was investing in stocks and bought an unopened card pack from Magic: The Gathering’s Beta set. He didn’t say exactly what that was, but they go anywhere from $ 7,000 to $ 15,000 depending on the source and status. What happened next for Michael was a surprising experience that he never intended to experience. In fact, it was an accident.

The best cards from the first two sets of Magic, Alpha and Beta, are worth tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s listed on Magic’s Reserved List, which means it will never be reprinted. The Black Lotus pita, which could appear in Michael’s package, goes for a lot less, but it’s still a lot of money: maybe as much as $ 60K, and the value has been rising all the time. It is not a terrible investment. But there is clearly no guarantee that you will find one in a pack from that era, and a bad deck of cards is worth a lot, much less than the price of an unopened package. Bad withdrawals can knock out 80 percent of your thousands of dollars in investment. (Alpha Black Lotus was purchased in a rare and perfect condition – Magic’s best-selling card – recently Over $ 500,000.)

His hands trembled, scrolling the cards one by one.

The package arrived later. “Visit Fantasy Beaches,” read the slogan at the top. He had a price tag that a store employee put in in 1993 or 1994: $ 2.45.

Beta Magic Image: Gathering Cards

(Image credit: u / vertiesq, used with permission)

Michael told me in an email: “When I woke up Sunday, I started really questioning my investment.” A little feverish, he began trying to figure out the actual value of what he had bought. He resorted to an old trick of the most unscrupulous early Magic players: searching the pack. The plastic wrappers in the first two editions of Magic: The Gathering are so thin and so thin that sometimes you can see what’s inside with proper lighting and some very precise use of a delicate tool to move the cards. “I’ve read that you can search for a package and see its contents without opening,” said Michael. “I wanted to look for it and if it had good cards, then I’d open it. If I weren’t going to keep it and let it value it as a sealed booster or keep it as a piece of history.”

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