For any Magic The Gathering Investor, I would bet that Magic Revised Dual Lands are near the top of their WANT list. They certainly are and will continue to be on my want list and I’m always looking for deals on Dual Lands online, at shows and from nearby personal collections. But I often get asked the same question by many collectors and investors and that is should I BUY, SELL or HOLD my Revised Dual Lands? Let’s figure it out.
MAGIC: The Gathering – Revised Dual Lands History
For those of you new to Dual Lands (or “duals” as they are often referred to as), they are TEN rare land cards that were released in the original ALPHA set in 1993 and continued as part of the BETA, UNLIMITED and REVISED sets thru 1994. These rare lands were different from basic land cards in that duals produced two colors of mana. They were highly sought after cards from the get-go and players back in the day coveted them for their multi-colored decks and their ability to have one card produce multiple types of mana.
Just 8-10 years ago, prices for Revised Booster Packs were about $30 each and Revised Dual Lands were going for about $60 a piece (give or take.) Times have definitely changed and Revised Booster boxes are now hovering around the $20,000 price tag and Revised cards are continuing to go up in price, including Dual Lands. I put together a chart below to give you an idea of where prices are for each of the Dual Lands. As you’ll see, we all should have dumped our life savings into these cards as we would be millionaires by now!
*Note: Current 2021 Prices are from MTGStocks.
If you were fortunate enough back in the day to open an entire Revised Booster box, you could probably count on getting 3-5 Dual Lands in every 36ct box, depending on how lucky you were. I remember back in 1994 when I was in college we would visit our LGS/Comic Book shop to buy Magic cards and Revised packs, but I wasn’t a big fan of Duals back then. So whenever I opened a pack and landed one, I wasn’t too thrilled and either threw it in a box or traded it away. I wish I knew then what I know now!
Revised Dual Lands Print Run
So how many Dual Lands were printed back in the 1994 Revised Set? Checking a few different sources, our best guess is that there was somewhere around 289,000 of each Dual Land printed. There are a few sources that believe that there were 289,000 complete Revised Sets printed which means there would have to be one of every rare card, including each of the Duals.
Sounds like a lot, right?
Well, let’s go out on a limb and guess that approximately 20% of those Revised cards were either thrown in the trash or are still floating around in sealed packs and decks. And then let’s say at least another 50-75% are in played condition and not worthy of being labeled as NM-MT “Investment Grade.” Now we’re talking maybe somewhere in the range of 57,800 to 115,600 left that Magic Collectors and Investors would want in their collections. Now how many of those are not in private collections but are on the market for sale? Purely guessing, I would say that number has to be well less than 100,000.
Another good indicator of what’s out there are the PSA and BGS Population Reports. Both grading companies keep track of the numbers of cards graded and the grades and this is a great way to see the number of GRADED cards on the market.
For investors looking for Magic Revised Dual Lands, going after graded cards is a smart idea. Not only do you get a card that is considered investment quality (which I believe is anything above a PSA or BGS 7), you also guarantee the card is authentic. Unfortunately, like anything else that has monetary value, there are counterfeiters out there so buying a graded card ensures the card has been checked by professional graders and deemed authentic.
Here are the current PSA/BGS Graded Revised Dual Land Populations as of 2/17/2021:
Notice anything about this population chart that jumps right out at you? At first glance I’m seeing only ONE of the Revised Dual Lands (Underground Sea) has a total BGS/PSA population of more than 1,000 cards. And when you add up all of the graded cards there’s a TOTAL POPULATION of 7,994. Now this doesn’t take into consideration other grading companies that may have graded Duals like SGC or CGC, but I would guess they have graded very few of these cards. I’ll reiterate this point from other posts…….there are roughly 35 million players and I would say a lot of them are collectors and many are what I would call investors. There’s only 7,994 graded Revised Dual Lands right now. Wow.
Now that you have some history on Revised Dual Lands, let me tell you my personal opinion on whether to BUY, SELL or HOLD them.
Should you BUY Magic Revised Dual Lands?
I think now (being February 2021) is still a great time to invest in Magic Revised Dual Lands. Prices have been gradually increasing over the last few years and, even though prices are pretty high right now compared to even a year ago, I think long term you’ll be happy you spent the money.
If you follow Rudy from Alpha Investments on YouTube as I do, you may have heard him say, on more than one occasion, that Revised Dual Lands are the cornerstone to a good collection. I totally agree with him. If you had to pick 20-30 vintage Magic cards to start a collection, 10 of those should be Revised Dual Lands.
Another reason you should buy Revised Dual Lands is because they are still sought after by players. To many players, these cards are more important to a deck than anyone would think. Duals are not on the banned list so having a land card that produces more than one type of mana is often extremely important when building a winning deck. Although some modern rare land cards do allow you to use it for more than one mana type, many come into play tapped and some even force you to sacrifice untapped lands when they enter. The dual lands from Return to Ravnica (RTR – October 2012) took things a step further forcing players to either pay 2-life or have the land enter the battlefield tapped. Clearly Revised duals have a huge advantage in that they come into play ready to go and the demand for these original duals will continue to drive prices up over time.
If that hasn’t convinced you to buy yet, how about the fact that these ten Dual Lands are WAY cheaper than the Alpha, Beta or Unlimited versions. Now I’m not saying don’t buy the A/B/U versions. Those early cards are more limited because A/B/U print runs were drastically lower than Revised and prices are higher for a reason. If you have the bankroll, I still HIGHLY recommend you add A/B/U Duals to your collection. But if you want to go for all ten and not spend a small fortune, Revised Duals are your only choice. For the price of a single mid-grade Alpha Dual Land ($4000-$6000), you could buy all ten Revised Duals and have money to spare.
And I’ll leave you with this thought. This group of ten Duals are on the Reserved List so you’ll never see them re-printed again. They are the original rare lands that started the LAND CRAZE and there’s nothing better to add to your collection or investment portfolio than cards that are of this caliber. I have little doubt in my mind that they will continue to rise in price and as more collectors/investors jump into Magic, that price acceleration may push these cards to stratospheric levels. Honestly I think they’re CHEAP at current prices.
Maybe you should be SELLING your Duals?
Well, after reading everything about why you should BUY the Revised duals, how could I possibly recommend selling them? In most cases, I wouldn’t but there are a few reasons why you might want to part from your minty condition Revised Duals.
First, you need the money. We all encounter those times in life that are unexpected and those times can be expensive. Whether it’s an unexpected hospital bill or college tuition, sometimes we have to cash in and that might be a really good reason to sell your Dual Lands. Prices are at an all time high and so is demand which is a great recipe for cashing in.
Whether you’re into Magic cards, sports cards, antiques or whatever, sometimes you have an item that’s fairly rare but the demand is not there and it takes time to sell. Not for Dual Lands. Priced right on eBay or any other auction site, they’ll sell like hot cakes. For those situations where you need some quick cash, it might be time to sell the Duals.
Are you close to retirement and Magic is just not your thing anymore? Again, might be time to sell them for the same reasons. You won’t have a problem cashing in and with the way prices are right now, you’ll turn them into some quick cash to fund your big move to Florida or wherever you plan to retire to. I can’t foresee a time where Magic: The Gathering doesn’t interest me, but who knows, that time may come when I’m closer to retirement age. For those at that age now, demand is huge for cards like this so sell away. Just keep me in mind if you do!
Outside of those two reasons, should you sell your Revised Duals? I would say if you don’t need the money, no doubt you should hold on to them. There’s a ton of room left for these cards to grow.
HOLD ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM?
If you read my responses on the BUY and SELL sections, you’ll probably know my answer to the HOLD question. Yes, I think if you don’t need the cash right now that you should hold on to your Revised Dual Lands. I’m a big advocate of BUYING AND HOLDING and that goes for rare Magic cards like Duals.
It’s hard to make a determination of how much in value these cards will increase over the next 2, 5 or 10 years. As mentioned before, over the past 10 years or so, Duals have steadily gone from an average price of about $60 all the way up to $400-450, with the big three (Volcanic Island, Underground Sea and Tropical Island) going for about $650-750 depending on grade. That’s a 650% increase over 10-years!
I think that the game of Magic will continue to grow and that will definitely bring more collectors and investors to the game as well. Over the past 1-2 years, after seeing the resurrection of the sports cards industry AND also seeing the rise in popularity of collectible card games (like Magic, Pokemon, Flesh and Blood, etc), I think Magic is in a prime spot to become even more popular than what it currently is. That will ultimately bring a higher demand for vintage graded cards and NM-MT ungraded singles.
And I’ll leave my recommendation to HOLD with this……..the one thing Magic has (at least for the older vintage stuff) that the sports card industry lacks is specifics when it comes to print runs. I have no idea how many Topps Baseball cards were printed last year because Topps doesn’t release numbers. But, I know for sure that there are no more than 289,000 Revised Dual Lands (and as mentioned above, probably way fewer) in existence. And I know that there are only 1,100 Magic Alpha Rare cards in existence. It’s SUPPLY and DEMAND and I expect demand to increase over time and obviously the supply can’t change. That’s a recipe for a good investment.
Obviously I’m a huge fan of Revised cards in general. Unfortunately I walked into the Comic Book store back in 1994 just when Revised was being released so I missed out on Alpha, Beta, Arabian Nights and Antiquities, but I definitely opened my share of Revised packs. I absolutely love the set. Those original Magic cards are just so special and I know over time they will become highly sought after.
Keep your eyes on these Magic Revised Dual Lands, as I will here. I think they’re easily some of the best Magic cards to invest in 2021. Hopefully 5-years from now we’ll look back at this post and say DANG, BRIAN GOT IT RIGHT! MY DUALS ARE OVER $1500 EACH! I’ll bet you I’m right.