I Spent $2K Last Month on Vintage MTG Cards! | MTG Personal Collection

by Magic Card Investor | Last Updated: March 4, 2021

Ok, let’s start this off by saying THANK GOD my wife doesn’t read MagicCardInvestor. If she knew how much I spent on Vintage MTG cards and unopened boxes last month, I would probably look like this unfortunate guy on the Theros FINAL DEATH card!

Magic THB Final DeathYep, I spent about $2,000 on vintage MTG cards and another $1500+ on Modern MTG unopened boxes in February 2021 and my wife has no idea it was that much. I told her about one or two of these purchases but not all of them. Thankfully she trusts that I’m making the right decisions so I should be OK. But if you don’t hear from me in a few days, call the cops and check the freezer downstairs because I might be in it!

But seriously, this is the first in a new series of posts I want to start writing monthly about vintage MTG cards and unopened modern Magic boxes that I’m adding to my personal collection. I think it will be a great way to not only track what I’m buying and paying, but also fun to look back on to see which purchases were winners and which were losers. Hopefully I’ll win more than I lose.

Vintage MTG Cards Purchased

So let’s start off with the originals from the Magic Limited Alpha set. I picked up a few nice ones including some commons and graded cards. I really think that even though prices have skyrocketed this past year, that nice condition Alpha cards will be EXTREMELY hard to find in a few years.

Just take a look now on eBay and search for a single common Alpha card to see how many listings there are. For the most part, you might see 15-20. That’s it. And how many of those are in NRMT condition and worthy of an investment? Probably only 3-5 of them.

Here’s what I picked up in February:

Alpha Howl From Beyond BGS 91. Magic: The Gathering Limited Alpha – HOWL FROM BEYOND – BGS 9

If you asked me, I think all of the cards in A/B/U are “iconic” but this one in particular ranks up there. The art is fantastic and the card is powerful late in the game after you’ve flooded the field with swamps. I picked this one up for a little over $100 (including tax/shipping) which I thought was a bargain considering a PSA 10 had recently sold for over $500.

I know BGS and PSA can bring different prices, but I thought it was still a steal at this price. Not to mention, it also hit one of the most important things I look for in a BGS 9 graded card and that is having ALL four of the subgrades being 9 and above. For this card, centering and Surface were both 9.5’s and I thought this was as close to a 10 as you can get. Awesome card.

Alpha Ironclaw Orcs BGS 92. Magic: The Gathering Limited Alpha – IRONCLAW ORCS – BGS 9

Although this card was reprinted a few times, I still picked it up as it’s one of those “cheap” high grade Alpha’s you just can’t pass up these days. Although they don’t block very well in gameplay, you can’t pass up a 2-drop 2/2 red creature for an early game barrage against your opponent.

As with the Howl From Beyond above, this one also had four 9’s on the subgrades (with Surface being a 9.5) so it was another close-to-Gem card I picked up for a bargain. At about $95, I think one day I’ll look back and be happy I found the Orcs!

Alpha Plague Rats3. Magic: The Gathering Limited Alpha – PLAGUE RATS – BGS 8

So about a day before I picked up the Plague Rats, a PSA 10 version of this Alpha common card sold for a whopping $776 on eBay! So when I saw this BGS 8 sitting there for $70 (including tax/shipping), I thought it was a good deal.

The biggest issue with the card was the Centering which I think brought down the overall grade of the card. But the card also had an Edges subgrade of 9 and a Surface subgrade of 9.5 which definitely jacked this up to a solid BGS 8. I think the card was worth at least $80-90 so another bargain in my book of a classic iconic Magic card.

4. A group of (10) Limited Alpha Commons – All grades BGS 8.5

So I found this guy on eBay who had two different lots of five Alpha cards that were all graded 8.5’s. I made an offer of a little over $65/each with tax and shipping and we had a deal. So this lot included FOG, WILD GROWTH, PARALYZE, PEARLED UNICORN, GIANT GROWTH, WAR MAMMOTH, (2) GRAY OGRES and (2) DISENCHANTS. I probably paid a little more than I would have liked but I paid a bit extra to get them all in one lot.

I just think that there are some really nice condition vintage MTG cards graded BGS 7 and above to be found if you look hard enough and I believe BGS 8.5 cards can be picked up for real bargains. They don’t quite make that price level of BGS 9 and just a slight .5 off the overall grade can net you big time bargains. I also read (and I believe this to be true) that 8.5’s are really grade 9’s with a VERY slight issue. What do you average an 8.5 up to in math? A 9 of course so I thought for the price you can’t go wrong with nice grouping of rare “close-to-9” graded Alpha’s.

Alpha BGS 8.5 Singles

5. Group of (18) Ungraded Vintage MTG Cards – All Alpha Singles

If you read my previous post, I talked about BODNAR’S Magic Card Auction back on February 18th where they auctioned off a huge collection of vintage MTG cards. They had everything from graded Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities and Legends singles to complete sets from 1994 through 2006.

As the title said, it was an EPIC auction! I came out of that auction bidding a lot, but winning very little. However, I was able to snag a group of (18) ungraded Alpha singles that were in overall excellent condition that I was very happy to get. It included (10) Commons, (7) Uncommons and (1) Rare (Dingus Egg.) After tax (UGH!) and the 18% Buyer’s Premium (SUPER UGH!) it came out to about $59 per card which wasn’t too bad.

I ended up sending a bunch of those out to PSA to be graded and the lesser graded singles (about 3 of them) will be kept in my personal collection or sold off at some point.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Modern MTG Cards Purchased

So I try not to spend TOO much on newer modern cards, but my 12-yr old son and I still have fun ripping packs and playing the game so I do dabble in the new stuff.

So this past month I decided to rip some boxes and keep some on the shelf as a possible LONG TERM investment. I don’t expect box prices to double or triple any time soon, but I do believe that over time as boxes get ripped open, they can become more scarce.

Even in today’s modern era of over-printing I still believe there’s opportunity for investing in UNOPENED boxes, decks and sets. I think modern singles are a gamble so I try to stick with buying singles I like to use in my personal decks when I play the game and unopened stuff for longer term investments.

Kaldheim Collector Booster Boxes (1 Sealed Case and 2 Separate Sealed Boxes)

Kaldheim Collector Booster BoxesThe only investment I made this month was in KALDHEIM COLLECTOR BOOSTER BOXES. I’m not opposed to keeping sealed Draft or Set Booster boxes as an investment, but I think long term we might see these Collectors Booster Boxes take off.

So why do I think Collector Booster Boxes are good to stash away? Well, first have you ever opened a box of these? If not, you should. They are REALLY fun to open. My son and I cracked a Kaldheim Collector Booster box the other night and it was a ball! We split the box down the middle…..6-packs each. And then one by one we each took turns opening packs and slowly going card by card. The foils and extended art cards are just so freakin’ nice and it’s exciting to open packs knowing that you could get handfuls of Rare or Mythic singles.

Vorinclex Monstrous Raider ShowcaseWe used the TCG Player app to scan the cards in to see what we came up with and just the Rare’s and Mythics exceeded the price of the box when it came to TCG estimated prices. The highlights included a Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider (Showcase) which is probably a $40+ card and a Goldspan Dragon (Extended Art) that my son pulled and was thrilled to find which is probably a $20-25 card. Couple those with the handfuls of $5-10 cards and I would venture to say (on paper) there’s about $250-300 in current value.

Because I’m a fan of the Collector Booster’s I figured I would put some boxes away on the investment shelf, hoping one day they’ll be highly sought after worth more than I paid. In total I stashed away 8-boxes (which was a 6-box sealed case and 2 separate boxes) that cost me about $196 per box. Not cheap, but I believe in the product and my guess is the production run on Collector Boosters is way less than Draft and Set boosters, which should help the value over time.

Total Investment (February 2021): $3,569.11

The wallet got hit hard this month but I think what I did pick up were some good quality vintage MTG cards (along with some newer unopened cards AND some really cool MTG playmats I’ll talk about later.) I think the vintage stuff is the foundation of a good investment ‘portfolio.’ As I’ve preached before, the base of your Magic collection really needs to be A/B/U graded cards. I absolutely do not think that you can go wrong with BGS/PSA graded singles that are at least 7 or above at the right price. One of these days we’ll look back at these A/B/U prices and consider them cheap so pick them up as you see them and slowly build that base.

Remember your collection will not be built in a single day. The best way to invest in Magic cards is to come up with a game plan that fits your budget and then slowly methodically add cards (that fit your plan) to your collection. If that means you pick up one card or ten cards per month, it all depends on what fits best with your game plan.

For myself, I personally enjoy everything back in that 1993-1994 time when Magic first arrived on the scene. There’s so much nostalgia and memories for me from when I first played in 1994 that I want to connect with that time again, and collecting and investing helps me do that.

What is your reason for collecting and investing what you like? Make sure you answer that question first before diving into investing in Magic Cards.

One last note. At the time I’m writing this, it’s a few days into March 2021 and I’ve already got a few really nice buys under my belt. I’ve got my eyes on one particular Alpha Common card that I plan on hitting HARD this month. Any guesses as to what it is? Stay tuned and I’ll tell you in a few weeks whether I was successful or not in adding one (or hopefully a few) of this MONSTER card to my collection!

Brian is the founder of Magic Card Investor and has been collecting and playing Magic since 1994. Since that Golden Era of Magic, he's accumulated a nice collection from Revised on through today's newest sets and cries nightly about that massive collection (including ALL Beta Moxes) that he sold back in the late 90's for peanuts! Brian continues to try and build that collection back up to this day and writes about his adventures in investing in and collecting Magic: The Gathering cards and other Trading Card Games here on Magic Card Investor.