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The Alpha version of the Black Lotus is usually considered to be the most valuable non-promotional Magic card ever printed, aside from misprinted cards.[1]

There is an active secondary market in individual Magic: The Gathering cards among players and game shops. Many physical and online stores sell single cards or playsets of four of a card.


Common cards rarely sell for more than a few cents and are usually sold in bulk. Uncommon cards and weak rare cards typically sell from 10¢ up to $1. The more expensive cards in Standard tournament play are typically priced between $1 to $25, although many commonly played cards in the Modern and Legacy formats sell for $50 to $200. Foil versions of rare and mythic rare cards are typically priced at about twice as much as the regular versions. Some of the more sought-after rare and mythic rare cards can have foil versions that cost up to three or four times more than the non-foil versions.[2]

A few of the oldest cards, due to smaller printings and limited distribution, are highly valued and rare. This is partly due to the Reserved List, a list of cards from the sets Alpha to Urza's Destiny (1994–1999) that Wizards of the Coast has promised never to reprint.[3] The most expensive card that was in regular print (as opposed to being a promotional or special printing) is Black Lotus. In 2013, a "Pristine 9.5 grade" Beckett Grading Services graded Alpha Black Lotus was bought by an anonymous buyer, for a record $27,302.[4]


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. With the expansion of the internet, prices of cards were determined by the number of tournament deck lists a given card would appear in. If a card was played in a tournament more frequently, the cost of the card would be higher (in addition to the market availability of the card). When eBay, Amazon, and other large online markets started to gain popularity, the Magic secondary market evolved substantially. Buying and selling Magic cards online became a source of income for people.


  1. Most Expensive Magic: The Gathering Card. Most Expensive Journal (March 17, 2008). Archived from the original on February 11, 2010. Retrieved on December 6, 2009.
  2. Price Change List - Recent Magic The Gathering / MTG Card Price Changes. Archived from the original on February 11, 2016. Retrieved on January 18, 2016.
  3. Official Reprint Policy. Wizards of the Coast (2002). Retrieved on April 18, 2009.
  4. Luke Plunkett. "Rare Magic Card Sells For $27,000". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved on May 9, 2015.