Selling Old Collectibles

Believe it or not, I sold these Rishadan Ports for $400.
I've been collecting and playing Magic: The Gathering for years now. I first started playing in high school. Lots of my fellow students were playing in the cafeteria, so naturally, I was curious and wondered what was going on. I can't tell you what happened or how it started. Next thing I knew, I had built up a deck (of mostly useless cards) and started to participate in the massive multiplayer lunchtime battles.

This was around 1995 or 1996. When 4th Edition was still being sold in starter decks, when Mirage was the next set on the block, and you could still purchase Ice Age and Alliance boosters. I even managed to find a few Homeland (waste of money) boosters.

At the time, I played for a few years. Visions, Weatherlight, 5th Edition, Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus, and finally Urza's Saga. I stopped shortly after Urza's Saga. Too many cards. All the best cards were unobtainable. I had to rely on luck when I bought boosters. Even those things were a pain to purchase ($10 for 3 boosters at the time). I eventually migrated to other card games (I did jump back into Magic around 2004 and 2009), but that doesn't need telling as those card games are now defunct.

The exception being Magic. Some 20 years later, this card game is still going strong.

So what's the point of this post?

Well, I was browsing Reddit some time last month when I came across a post asking for help. In the comments section, someone mentioned selling some of his old Magic Cards (apparently, also known as cardboard crack). He mentioned an instance at some Magic Pro Event in Toronto where he sold all his Blood Moons for $30 each.

Blood Moon? For $30? 

That was my reaction.

If you don't play Magic, like wifey, your reaction would likely be like hers:

People pay $30 for a card?

I'm paraphrasing. Anyway, I vaguely recall having a Blood Moon among my collection of many cards, I decided I'd take a look. That and I needed to clean up the basement. Two birds with one stone.

Turns out, I can't figure out where the Blood Moon is (like I said, I have a lot of cards). But I did find my stash of cards. Decks, binders, boxes and boxes.

I figured I'd price some of the cards I wasn't using to see what I had. The first card I priced was Rishadan Port. I priced it via Google, and I came up with a figure that surpassed my initial reaction when I found out the price of Blood Moon. $120-ish, give or take. Per card!

I looked at the card. It didn't look particularly spectacular. Basically, it denies your opponent the use of one land. Of course, it could be something critical like Gaea's Cradle or Cloudpost... but still. It was in my spare cards binder and I wasn't using it, nor was I planning on using it. So I decided I'd give it a shot at selling. I considered eBay, but decided to list it in Kijiji. It only took 1 week to sell. I had 3 people ask me about it. One was willing to pay for UPS to courier the cards and was also willing to purchase all four.

I listed the cards for $400. Maybe under priced considering they were in lightly played condition*, but I wasn't being picky. I likely picked up the 4 for $20 or less back in 2004 or 2009. Anyway, after receiving the money via Interac Email Money Transfer, I couriered the cards and sent the buyer the tracking number. Done. Buyer received the cards, and I picked up $400 for pretty much doing nothing but buying cards years ago and not touching them until recently.

As a long term plan, that's not the best way to invest. However, accidental (small) windfalls are a bonus.

I tried listing other cards on Kijiji, but nothing stuck. So I migrated some of the cards to eBay.

What a difference. Despite a 10% selling fee on eBay (there's also a listing fee, but I'm taking advantage of a promotion that allows you to list up to 50 items for free) and a 2.9% Paypal fee (what's the point of this fee?), you get a lot of eyeballs viewing your listings. In less than a month, I've already sold over $600 worth of cards. That sounds like a lot of cards I've had to sell, but really, that's only 25 cards. In total, I've sold over $1,000 worth of cards in less than a month. Wow.

Long term plan, this isn't a viable way of making money. I've had to sink a lot of money into the cards in the first place. Plus, some of the cards that were valuable 20 years ago, may be worthless now. So there's a chance I may have acquired some cards that were worth too much at the time. I know I picked up a ton of Wrath of Gods and Birds of Paradise when they were worth $15-20 each. However, as these two cards were being reprinted, eventually, the market got saturated so now they are worth $5-10 each. Fortunately, the main reason for me acquiring all those wraths were for deck building. Birds I traded a lot of them in the past to help me get other cards. So it wasn't a complete waste.

Actually, this reminds me of stocks. When things are hot, people are looking to buy. When things are not, people can't get rid of them fast enough.

Anyway, I still have a lot more cards. I may continue selling more, but I may eventually have to stop. The cards I have left are mainly in my decks or not worth very much to begin with. It would be interesting to see how much more I can get.

When selling collectibles, it doesn't necessarily mean Magic cards. It could be action figures, sock monkeys, tea towels... whatever! There's a market for everything.

In any case, this extra money will help pay for baby items (if we need anything else).

Either that or I can put the money to good use by investing it in ETFs.

*I believe the conditions are Mint, Near Mint, Lightly Played, Moderately Played, Heavily Played, and Damaged. Alternatively, they can be Mint/Near Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Mint/Near Mint usually means fresh out of the booster and never played before or played but in a plastic to protect the card from wear. Of course, no matter how careful you are, cards will get a slight bend if you use them to play. Even in a plastic. Unless you use a top loader to play, but that would be extremely difficult to shuffle and stack up.

06/29/2017 EDIT: When orders stopped trickling in, I totaled everything up and it came out to be around $3,000. The big money maker was a set of 4 Gaia's Cradle that I sold for $950 USD. That was crazy.


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