What is the Most Valuable Magic The Gathering Card?

by Magic Card Investor | Last Updated: March 26, 2021

Magic Card BackMany Magic The Gathering collectors and investors ask the question “What is the Most Valuable Magic The Gathering Card”? (that’s my tribute to one of the greatest MTG YouTuber’s Tolarian Community College and the unique way he intro’s his videos!) That question can be answered and interpreted a few different ways so let’s define “value” first as it relates to MTG.

When this question of value comes from a collector or investor, most times they’re asking about the monetary value and the ‘worth’ in dollars of the card. However, value could also mean the importance of a specific card when it comes to it’s inclusion in a Magic deck.

For the purposes of this post, and knowing that most visitors here are of the collector/investor variety, the answer will be centralized on current (as of March 2021) monetary value. This list will also include only MAINSTREAM ENGLISH cards that you can pull from a booster pack. We’re not including promo cards, collectors edition cards, non-English cards, or anything else that someone couldn’t pull from a booster pack.

So, what is the Most Valuable Magic the Gathering Card?

Because the answer might be really obvious to most people, this post will go over our number one most valuable card and then we’ll list out everything else that comes after that card. So let’s dive into Mr. Obvious first……..

#1 Alpha/Beta/Unlimited BLACK LOTUS

Magic Alpha Black LotusSurprised? I’m sure you’re probably not. The Black Lotus (of any set whether Alpha, Beta or Unlimited) is easily the top of the heap. The crème de la crème. The King (or Queen) of all Magic Cards. If you possess one in your collection, you have the pinnacle of all Magic cards and you should know that you are in an ELITE group of people as there are only so many in existence.

How many are out there? If you combine Alpha, Beta and Unlimited you’re looking at an approximate print run of 22,800 Black Lotus cards. And as we’ve said before, I’m sure many were trashed and thrown away many years ago so not many of these are available. Some have estimated 5,000 total are still left in circulation. Many think the number is WAY less when you consider how many graded cards are out there. As of 3/23/2021, there are a combined 1,763 Alpha/Beta/Unlimited Black Lotus cards graded by PSA and BGS. That number alone will tell you how extremely rare this card is.

***One note to mention before I go any further……..the Black Lotus was also included in the COLLECTOR’S EDITION and INTERNATIONAL EDITION sets put out back in the 90’s, but I am NOT including them here. Why? Honestly, I’m not a big fan as they were part of complete collector’s sets put out separately from the original A/B/U cards and those sharp corners and gold bordered backs are just not the same as ‘normal’ Magic cards. I know Wizards of the Coast produces reprints all of the time by including past cards into newer sets, but the Collector and International Editions to me are TRUE reprints put out as collectibles. They’re just not the same in my eyes so I’m not including them here.***

So what is the value of a Black Lotus? It definitely varies these days according mainly to condition. Recently on eBay a very rare PSA 10 GEM MINT example (which was autographed by the illustrator Christopher Rush) went for $511,000. This broke all previous records and it is now considered the most expensive Magic card ever sold!

Recent Alpha Black Lotus Sales

DateLocationGradeSale Price
1/23/2021eBayBGS 9$122,888
1/27/2021eBayPSA 10 (signed)$511,100
1/29/2021eBayPSA 7$64,900
2/18/2021Bodnar's AuctionBGS 7.5$55,000
2/18/2021Bodnar's AuctionBGS 6$35,000
2/18/2021Bodnar's AuctionBGS 3.5$22,000
2/24/2021eBayCGC 7.5$45,779
2/24/2021eBayBGS 9$160,989
3/1/2021eBayCGC 6.5$72,655

Basically any Black Lotus that you find in PSA 9 or 10 shape is going to be 6-figures easily. Even the cheapest Black Lotus you’ll find these days will still run you at least 5-figures. On eBay right now, the cheapest A/B/U is an Unlimited version which is graded a CGC 4 that’s for sale for $15,150.95. That card is WELL PLAYED and beat up and it’s still going for big dollars!

It’s the most Iconic card and easily the MOST VALUABLE Magic: The Gathering card in existence!

The Best of the Rest

Outside of the fabled BLACK LOTUS, there are a ton of really great, really valuable cards that any Magic card collector or investor would want in their collection. The value of the following cards, and MANY of the older rare cards to be honest, will vary greatly depending on condition.

As most of you know, prices can be wildly different when looking at a PSA/BGS 9 and a PSA/BGS 10 of the same card. Just a very minor off-centering or ding on the card’s edge can be the difference between a $3,000 PSA 9 and a $10,000 PSA 10. To keep everything below on the same field of battle, I will be providing current estimated PSA 9 prices as a comparison. Understand though that these prices can go to much higher price levels if they are PSA/BGS 10 graded.

So what is the most valuable Magic The Gathering card AFTER the Black Lotus? Here are the best of the rest…

Slide 1

Alpha
Ancestral Recall

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $15,000 – $20,000

Alpha Ancestral Recall
Slide 2

Alpha
Timetwister

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $15,000 – $20,000

Alpha Timetwister
Slide 3

Alpha
Time Walk

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $15,000 – $20,000

Alpha Time Walk
Slide 4

Alpha
Mox Jet, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald,
or Pearl

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $12,000 – $18,000 ea.

Alpha Mox Jet
Slide 5

Alpha
Underground Sea

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $12,000 – $15,000

Alpha Underground Sea
Slide 6

Alpha
Tropical Island

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $7,000 – $9,000

Alpha Tropical Island
Slide 7

Alpha
Wheel of Fortune

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $7,000 – $9,000

Alpha Wheel of Fortune
Slide 8

Legends
The Tabernacle at
Pendrell Vale

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $5,000 – $7,000

Legends Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Slide 9

Alpha
Time Vault

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $3,000 – $5,000

Alpha Time Vault
Slide 10

Arabian Nights
Bazaar of Baghdad

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $3,000 – $5,000

Arabian Nights Bazaar of Baghdad
Slide 11

Arabian Nights
Library of Alexandria

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $3,000 – $5,000

Arabian Nights Library of Alexandria
Slide 12

Arabian Nights
Juzam Djinn

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $3,000 – $5,000

Arabian Nights Juzam Djinn
Slide 13

Antiquities
Mishra’s Workshop

PSA 9 Approximate Value: $3,000 – $5,000

Antiquities Mishra’s Workshop
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From here the list expands into many other sets and would include such cards as the rest of the A/B/U Dual Lands, a number of cards from Legends (Moat, The Abyss, Chains, etc.), and any HIGH grade Alpha Rare in PSA 9-10 or BGS 9.5-10.

Remember that back in 1993, MTG cards were not widely seen as good investments so most cards were not well taken care of. Values tend to skyrocket if you can find these high grade examples from back in those early days of Magic. Expect any other non-mentioned Alpha PSA 10 to cost you many thousands, which is why they’re on the tail end of this list.

Conclusion

If you asked 10 Magic Collectors or Investors to write this same post, they would all probably agree that the Black Lotus is clearly the most valuable Magic The Gathering card ever made. But after that, the lists would probably all be similar but not exactly the same since things change so often in the world of Magic.

What is super expensive and valuable today could change in a few years or even months. One thing is for sure, I’ll definitely be here to track it and will let you know if things change. For now, best of luck finding that BLACK LOTUS! (and grab me one too if you find it!)

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.