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In 2014 I posted some straightforward advice aimed at anyone looking to sell of their collection of Magic: the Gathering cards. It became one of the more popular posts of that year.
I’m going to repost the 5 tips I gave below:
1. Maximise your customer base The market for your cards consists of individual players, collectors, dealers, stores, and large online card stores. If you want to sell to all of these groups, your collection needs to be broken up and priced accordingly. If you would rather sell all in one go that is fine, but understand that you are limiting the number of buyers. For larger and more valuable collections, no one but the largest stores or online sellers could possibly afford the cash outlay. This minimises the price you are likely to receive for your cards.
More buyers = higher prices
2. Use online buylists If you aren’t sure what your collection is worth, online buylists are a Godsend. The larger online retailers including Channel Fireball, and Card Kingdom have these. Pricing your collection according to a buylist gives you an idea of what your collection is likely worth. Taking the time to look up the prices of your collection gives you a decent overall value, as well as a good idea of where the gems in your collection are. Sometimes obscure cards shoot up in price, often when a new card is printed that works well with the old card. This is impossible to predict, but can make you very happy, as owners of Grindstone and Dark Depths were at the printings of Painter’s Servant and Vampire Hexmage. Having realistic prices gives you some credibility. Pitch things too high or too low and potential buyers may be put off by your seeming lack of knowledge.
Correct prices = more buyers
3. Understand the time versus money equation Time equals money, but its important to know how much time, versus how much money. You will need to spend some time on selling your collection. What you need to determine is how to spend your time intelligently. Taking the time to price your collection, research your buyers, and look at your selling options is good. Spending time cataloguing the lower valued cards in your collection is not so good. It will take longer to lift out you value cards and sell those separately but the rewards will always be worth this extra time. Also bear in mind the time/money equation applies to your buyers as well. Don’t get outraged at a bulk prices given for your commons and uncommon and rares too. These low priced cards will cost more in terms of time to grade and catalogue than they will return in sales. Larger buyers will take bulk as it’s important for them to offer a full catalogue to their customers. Smaller buyers may be tempted by the opportunity to ‘wildcat’ your collection and sift your bulk for valuable cards you didn’t know about.
Time spent well = money well earned
4. Highlight the valuable cards in your collection You can see know how these rules go together. Pricing your collection and sorting the bulk from the valuable means you can highlight the value you are offering to your buyers. Identify the value in your collection, and make that value visible to your buyers. An image several piles of magic cards shows nothing and means nothing to anyone. You have some cards. So what? Where you have gems highlight these to encourage buyers to take your bulk cards along with them – they need the incentive (see rule 3). Where you have cards of exceptional and rising value, consider calving these away from the collection for individual sale, as you will have many buyers willing to fight over these cards (see rule 1).
More value = more money
5. Be a good communicator Respond to questions promptly, preferable within a couple of hours, time differences permitting. Provide complete answers, and be polite in your responses, especially when people ask questions you believe you answered in your description. The better you are at answering questions, the more interested people will be in what you are selling.
Better communication = more buyers
I didn’t write too much more on this subject, as the field of MtG finance, as it’s called is quite crowded with websites, YouTube channels, and more. I made a deliberate decision to turn elsewhere, and have kept Magic discussion here centred mostly around the game’s art.
In late 2019, this YouTube video went up which made the salient points about Magic collections so well: