Back in the day you dropped by your local game store or went to a card convention and picked up a paper copy of the monthly price guide to find out how much Magic The Gathering cards are worth. Sometimes it was the Duelist Magazine that had pricing and tons of articles about the newest Magic set.
Other times you picked up Scrye Magazine that had updated Magic card prices and sometimes included a promo card inside as a bonus. Those price guides were used by everyone and were basically the price bible that everyone used to value cards.
Nowadays, it’s much easier to tell how much Magic The Gathering cards are worth because pricing is real time. MTG card Prices can shift from day to day and that pretty much makes monthly paper price guides a thing of the past. Online sources are the way to price your cards anymore.
Pricing cards via online sources is the most accurate way to value cards as it takes into consideration things happening in the TCG world faster and more accurately. Prices often shift dramatically based on how a card is being played. And, if someone happens to find a powerful MTG card combo, that can very quickly change the game, demand for a card and how much a card is worth.
There are lists of websites that tell you the value of a Magic card and one thing you’ll find is that all of these websites will have slight variations in pricing. But overall, if the website is a good one and is updated regularly, you’ll see that their prices are all pretty much in line.
Magic card prices are not set by any specific company or organization so the good thing is that pricing and values are not dictated by one group or person. The market establishes the price and the websites report out on it.
Magic cards are generally priced based on the average price it’s being sold for across the many thousands of Local Games Stores (LGS), online resellers (like those on eBay) and feedback from larger companies and retailers like TCGPlayer, Card Kingdom and Star City Games.
In no particular order, here are our top 9 ways to tell how much Magic The Gathering cards are worth.
TCGplayer is the obvious first choice amongst most players and collectors when it comes to finding out how much Magic cards are worth. The site is widely used by veterans and complete newbs because it’s a one-stop-shop to determine current Magic card values of just about any card ever made.
TCGplayer doesn’t make up prices out of thin air. What they do is aggregate information from specific sources including the hundreds of local game stores that use their inventory service, online gaming stores and individual sellers that sell Magic cards through their TCGplayer accounts. They take all of that sales information and are able to come up with a lot of statistics to determine the real-time value of any Magic card.
Once they have all of the pricing data (which again is based on current sales through their site), they are able to put together tracking charts and list out market prices, median prices and target buylist prices for anyone to view for free.
Because TCGplayer is the most authoritative pricing resource for Magic cards, packs, booster boxes and decks, the pricing information they provide is extremely reliable. It’s not based on what people THINK a price should be, it’s based on real hard up-to-the-minute data and it’s as accurate as it gets when it comes to pricing Magic cards.
My only issue with TCGplayer is that if they don’t have sales data on a specific card or booster box, you will not see any data. Because their data comes strictly from one source (being their own website and the sales generated on it), they’re not looking at other sources for pricing information.
For example, at the time I wrote this, they do not have any information related to current values of Magic Unlimited Booster Boxes because they have no current listings to gather data from. If you really need current value information on a MagicUnlimited Booster Box, you’ll have to check one of the other sites listed below as TCGplayer has zero information on this product. It’s the only hole in their system from my point of view, but it’s a glaring one.
2. CARD KINGDOM
Card Kingdom is one of the world’s largest retailers of Magic: The Gathering cards with two game stores in the Seattle area along with their Mox Boarding House locations in the states of Washington, Oregon and soon-to-be Arizona. It’s a family owned business and easily one of the most successful gaming-store-meets-cafe operations in the US if not the world.
That being said, why did we list Card Kingdom as a great place to find out how much Magic The Gathering cards are worth? Well, because they have such a huge operation selling individual Magic cards (along with boxes, decks and everything else) both online and through their retail locations, they have massive amounts of sales data that helps reliably determine current values.
I would say they’re another TCGplayer-like operation but the advantage Card Kingdom has is that they ARE the retailers and have data that spans both online sales and locally from their game stores. Having this much information directly from Magic players and collectors produces such accurate data that Card Kingdom has become one of the most reliable sources of Magic card values in the world.
The one thing you’ll notice on the Card Kingdom website is that it’s set up as an online retail store. You won’t find links to price guides or anything like that so you’ll have to do some searching if you want to find out prices for Magic Cards. Other than that, the information is only as good as the source and I think Card Kingdom’s one of the top sources on the planet for Magic card prices.
I think eBay is a reliable source of values when it comes to just about anything in the world you can sell. When it comes to Magic cards, they currently have over 2-million active individual Magic card listings and approaching half a million recent sales so I would say they have the data to support current values.
Much like TCGplayer and Card Kingdom, eBay is not set up as a ‘price guide’ so you’ll have to do some digging to come up with the information you need. However, with hundreds of thousands of sold items and millions of active listings, you should be able to see some sales data, if not some listings that will help you determine sold and asking prices.
I’ve used eBay since 1997 to sell everything from sports cards and Magic cards to clothing, tech gear and anything else not nailed down in my house. I’ve also used eBay almost daily if I need to find out “what something is going for” no matter what the item is.
When it comes to Magic cards, it’s hard to find a better up-to-date pricing source than eBay.
4. MTG GOLDFISH
MTG Goldfish is one of my favorite websites to check the values of Magic cards. The simplicity of the design of the site and the layout of information makes it super easy to find current prices of any card in the world of Magic The Gathering.
You can search for cards by set or even individually if you know the card name. They also have a great “Movers and Shakers” section that shows you the top daily winners and losers by price with green and red arrows showing which way prices are moving.
I also like that you can pull up popular decks submitted by users to get an idea of the cost of building a specific Magic deck. So if you have a color deck you’re looking to build and want some ideas on the cards needed and current prices, MTG Goldfish lays that information out in a super easy to read format.
MTG Goldfish is basically a really nice user interface that aggregates information from other top Magic card sites including TCG Player, eBay and Card Kingdom. I’m a fan of their site and being that it’s free to use, I highly recommend checking them out.
So this is my secret go-to site when I want to determine values of Magic cards. The reason I like dawnGlare is I really like the very simple user interface. The pricing information is derived from TCGplayer, but the interface is more of a ‘price guide’ which is why I enjoy using dawnGlare.
The Visualizer tool at the top left of the website is my go to for searching for card values of specific sets. It’s great to check prices for the main cards in the set as well as the variants including extended art cards and foils.
dawnGlare is also extremely useful when it comes to looking at a set’s EV or “expected value.” In a nutshell, it’s the value in dollars you can expect when you open up a full booster box. It’s a good indicator of the strength of the cards in the set and tells me a lot about popularity, value and trends over the previous year.
dawnGlare is free to use and I would encourage everyone to check it out. Hovering over the cards gives you a pop up of what the card looks like and links directly to TCGplayer where you can purchase it. I’m sure dawnGlare makes a nice commission on the sales, but they should as they have one of the better websites out there to help you find out how much Magic The Gathering cards are worth.
6. MAGIC – THE GATHERING CARDS: THE UNOFFICIAL ULTIMATE COLLECTOR’S GUIDE
For the traditionalists out there who need to have a book or paper price guide, The Magic The Gathering Unofficial Ultimate Collector’s Guide is probably your best bet. The book is a few years old so the prices are probably a bit off, but the value in this book comes from the information provided for each set.
The book was written by Ben Bleiweiss who is affiliated with Star City Games, one of the largest trading card game companies out there. They have a great website and not only are they long-time retailers, they also have tremendous experience putting together conventions related to Magic and Flesh and Blood. Ever heard of SCG CON conventions? That’s them!
For someone looking to study up on pre-2018 Magic the Gathering cards, this book has quite a bit of info and tons of pictures as well. Whether you want set size, release date info, or a set overview to tell you more about the cards themselves, this book is great to have around.
Again I wouldn’t put too much credence into the prices provided as they’re most likely out of date, but the book will give you a roundabout value for most cards in sets made prior to 2018. It’s worth adding to your library for sure.
Scryfall is another great price aggregator that pulls pricing from multiple vendors and individual sales. Scryfall updates their pricing at a minimum once every 24 hours and they tend to use TCGplayer market price as well as Card Market’s one-day average, 7-day average, or overall average price (whichever is available.)
The interface is more difficult to use when it comes to viewing card prices so I’m not a regular user of the site when it comes to trying to find out how much Magic cards are worth. However, they do have tons of images and information for each card so if you want to check individual card prices and see images of that card, Scryfall is great.
There are two places I use when it comes to valuing graded Magic cards. First and foremost, I use eBay as I would bet a majority of people use that site to sell cards. The other source for graded Magic card values and pricing is PSA.
Now I don’t only use PSA’s website to submit cards for grading purposes, I also use the site to give me a good idea what a specific grade will retail for. PSA graded cards tend to bring much more money on the secondary market then ungraded similar condition cards so I like to check PSA’s site to determine value.
Beyond valuing Magic cards, PSA’s website is best for population reports. It’s nice to know your PSA-9 graded Magic The Gathering Alpha Lightning Bolt is worth somewhere around $1,000. But, it’s even more valuable for me to see that their population reports show there are only (40) PSA-9 graded cards in the world!
I study these numbers quite often. I try to match up high value graded PSA Magic cards with a low population as there is a lot of value in high grade rare cards.
There you go! If you have any questions about how much Magic The Gathering cards are worth or where to find prices or values, please send me a message and I’ll get back to you. Take care.