Saturday 16 May 2020

‘Magic: The Gathering’ Cards

During a recent inventory a forgotten box was brought to light, and inside an old collection of ‘Magic: The Gathering’ cards was discovered. ‘Magic: The Gathering’ is a collectible card game created by Richard Garfield, and first released in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast. In each game of ‘Magic’ the players represent a battle between wizards who cast spells, use artifacts, and summon creatures as depicted on individual cards in order to defeat their opponents. The success of the initial edition prompted a reissue later in 1993, along with expansions to the game. Arabian Nights was the first expansion set released in December 1993, and new expansions and revisions of the base game have since been released on a semi-regular basis. By the end of 1994, the game had printed over a billion cards.

There is an active secondary market in individual cards among players and game shops. The secondary market started with comic book stores, and hobby shops displaying and selling cards, with the cards' values determined somewhat arbitrarily by the employees of the store. Today, uncommon cards and weak rare cards typically sell from 10¢ up to $1, with more expensive cards typically priced between $1 and $25. A few of the older cards, however, due to smaller printing runs and limited distribution, are highly valued and rare. Some, such as the Lion’s Eye Diamond from the Mirage expansion, which happened to be amongst the cards uncovered and is featured in the photograph above, can retail in excess of $100. Today, the secondary market is so large and complex, it has become an area of study for consumer research.