When we were kids playing card games wasn’t as exciting as nowadays. Today, in fact, many grown-up people are drawn to and regularly play these games. Some of the most popular ones are MTG, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and many others. Due to their variability, these games are pretty viral, but this is not the only reason why these games are popular among fans.

The reality is that MTG (Magic -The Gathering) cards are surprisingly expensive, and when we say surprisingly we really meant it. Some are estimated to be worth around a few hundred thousand dollars! Read that again, it’s not a mistake!

Like seriously, what do you do when you buy such a ridiculously expensive card? Keep it in a vault? But jokes aside, maybe after reading this article you decide to visit your old card collection somewhere in the attic or in the basement.

Here is everything you need to know about Magic cards worth money!

Magic: The Gatherings Card Game 101

Magic: The Gathering card game was released on Aug. 5, 1993. That first original set of cards is known as the Alpha Set. Like with coins and banknotes, the firsts are the most popular collectibles even among playing cards.

The Alpha Set become extremely sought-after among collectors and players over the years. Therefore, many of them are estimated to be worth thousands of dollars, even some of the most basic and common cards from Alpha Set are worth several thousand dollars.

The reprinting of the Alpha set in Sept. of 1993, is known as the Beta Set. Cards from this edition are as well worth thousands of dollars. If you have any cards from the ABU Sets, consider yourself lucky!

What’s ABU?

ABU is short for Limited Edition Alpha, Limited Edition Beta, and Unlimited Sets. These are the first three print editions of the original Magic core set which were released in 1993. All three editions contain the same set of cards. However, keep in mind that Alpha Set is missing the Circle of Protection: Black and Volcanic Island card due to printing errors.

You can easily tell each set apart since the outer borders are differently designed for each printing. Cards from Alpha and Beta Sets have black borders, while Alpha cards have more rounded corners than Beta cards. The Unlimited cards feature a white border, with much bolder and brighter colors than the Revised core set.

Let’s Talk More About The Value Of Magic: The Gathering Cards

When it comes to collectibles such as playing cards, what determines the value is the preferences of the players who are trading cards. So in general, the gaming community and collectors dictate the demand and supply and form the value and prices.

There is only one rule when setting the MTG card’s value –  the more players like the card and buy it, the greater its value. However, this rule can’t be always applied, since there are unfortunately a lot of copies. Also, don’t forget that there are some special grading organizations that also impact the establishment of the Magic card’s value.

Those are organizations such as PSA or BGS. They grade cards based on their condition, where cards can get grades from 1 to 10. Naturally, a grade 10 is a perfect card and 1 is a heavily damaged card.

Besides the regular grade, the card may get a letter grade as well. This grade refers to how well the artwork is centered within the borders of the card. The letter grade typically ranges from A to D, where “A” refers to perfect centering, and “D” is a very poor one.

What factors affect the value of Magic cards?

One of the reasons why this game is so popular after so many years is the value of certain cards. Some cards can cost thousands of dollars if they are in perfect condition. There are many factors that affect a card’s value and understanding these factors is crucial if you want to start investing in them.

What many people tend to forget is that the value of these magic cards can be highly volatile, and you should expect significant fluctuations in price with time. That means that even a very valuable card can lose value in the future. However, it also means that a relatively cheap and insignificant card may become very valuable in the following months or even years.


One of the primary factors that affect the value of any collectible item is how unique and rare they are. The same goes for the magic cards. Coins have mintage, and cards have printing numbers.

Therefore, some cards are printed in smaller quantities than others and they are rare and valuable. A good example is the Black Lotus card from the Alpha Set. This card was printed in a very limited quantity. Today, this is one of the most sought-after Magic cards.


Condition is crucial since a card in excellent condition will logically be more valuable than a damaged one. Unfortunately, even the slightest flaws like tiny creases, scratches, or cuts will reduce the value significantly. To make sure you are well aware of the condition of your card take it to be graded by a professional grading service. This certificate will enhance the value and price.

Demand and supply

Your card is valuable only if people are interested in it. That is the rule of demand. However, supply is directly linked with demand and value. Certain cards may be in higher demand which means that the supply is low. When supply is low that means a card is rare, and rarity leads to higher value. It can be due to their:

For instance, here is a good example, Jace, the Mind Sculptor card. Which originates from the Worldwake set and is highly sought-after due to its usefulness in gameplay. That is the only quality of this card and because of it its value and price grew.

Other factors

Other factors like the art and design of a card will affect its value. If a card features extraordinary and memorable artwork it will for sure become attractive and popular among collectors. Also, a factor that can increase the value is the power level of a card in gameplay. Naturally, powerful cards are very popular among collectors.

Lastly, the popularity of the game itself will affect its value. Cards will become more valuable as the game’s player base grows, and this only occurs when the game gains popularity.

How to determine the value of your Magic cards?

Knowing the real value of your Magic card is important can for two main reasons – selling and trading. Of course, there are also several other important reasons, and we will discuss them in the following rows.

  • Trading – Knowing the real value of your Magic cards will help you a lot when trading. How can you negotiate a fair trade if you aren’t aware of how much worth your card has? Make sure you are not trading your cards in vain and under the price just because you were not informed.
  • Selling – Setting a reasonable price when selling your Magic card will significantly enhance your chances of selling. This means that you need to establish a fair price that is not too high but at the same time not too low. Usually, people become suspicious about the card if they see a pretty low price on something that should be much more expensive.
  • Insurance – When you have a collectible item that is very valuable and pricey the smartest thing you can do is invest in insurance. It is important to protect your investment from damages and theft this way. But to be able to insure your collection you need to know actual value.
  • Building decks – If you are a passionate collector then you know how important it is to know the actual value of an item before including it in your collection. Some cards simply do not suit your collection, or deck due to their low value.

If you aren’t a collector, card investor, expert, or at least an MGT player, you’ll have a hard time determining the value of your card or deck on your own. Since this task can be pretty challenging even for people who know the matter, the best decision is to pay some specialist to do this for you.

However, if you are willing to first try to learn and do it yourself, in this part of the article we’ll go over the key steps you need to take to do this right. Here we go:

  • Step 1 – look at the recent sale – No matter which items you are selling or buying, the first step should always be researching the recent sales of similar cards. Knowing the price and fluctuation of it will significantly help you. You should look at places such as MTGPrice, TCGplayer, and Card Kingdom. These are the most accurate and valuable resources. Take note of the condition and the final sale price. You can also search for recent sales on Reddit, Facebook, and auction sites like eBay, Etsy, and Heritage Auctions.
  • Step 2 – check price guides – Another valuable resource when determining the value is to follow and consult with reliable card value price guides. Look for Scryfall or MTGGoldfish guides, these two sources will provide you with a wide range of information and a range of card prices. The cards in these guides are based on their rarity, condition, and popularity. However, keep in mind that these guides are great starting points but sometimes they aren’t so accurate and may not follow the pricing trends. So use them as a reference and in combination with step 1.
  • Step 3 – don’t forget about card rarity – How rare your card is will have a significant impact on the value and final price. The general rule is the rarer a card is, the more pricier it is. Now you should know that there are four levels of rarity in MTG cards/ Those are common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Logically, mythic rare cards are the most valuable.
  • Step 4 – consider the current condition of the card – The condition is crucial. You can have a rare card and not be able to sell it for a higher-end price because the condition is awful. Cards that are in mint or near-mint condition will be more valuable. Check cards for creases, dings, or fadings. Inspect them carefully to see if there are any signs of damage or wear.
  • Step 5 – what’s the demand and supply situation – Finally, demand and supply will dictate the prices on the market. Some cards are more in demand than others. Also, cards that are currently popular in the game’s meta or in decks will be in constant demand. Make sure you follow the trends and get an idea of which cards are in high demand and hows the supply going as well.

How Hard Is It To Sell Your Magic Cards?

Even though there are a lot of passionate MTG card players and collectors that are willing to pay a lot of money for these cards, it is still important to know how to do it properly.

With knowledge, you can maximize your profits. Always get the best possible price for your card, and you will do that by negotiating with the buyers, consulting an expert, and learning as much as possible about that card.

You also must be very careful, since scams are unfortunately very often in this collecting branch. By scams we don’t necessarily think about fake cards, which are often as well, we think about buyers who will try to lower the price. This is why you must learn all information about each card! Knowing how to sell your cards safely and securely is a must.

Selling MTG cards can be a lucrative way to make some extra cash for new much more valuable cards, and also make some free space in your collection. However, finding the right buyer and negotiating a fair price with him will take time. Just be patient and don’t settle for less. Of course, be ready to negotiate about the price but don’t sell your card if the price is too low for you.

Once you determine the price for each card in the collection, it’s time to prepare your cards for sale. If you are selling online, make sure you take high-quality photos of the cards and post them with accurate condition descriptions. On the other hand, if you are selling in person, organize your cards and make sure the collection is easily accessible.

List Of The Most Valuable Magic Cards On The Market

Mox Sapphire Beta Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Mox Sapphire Beta Set

Mox Sapphire is the all-star among the MGT cards. It is valuable in more ways than one, useful in the game, rare, and great artwork. This is a Blue Mana card and with it, you have everything you need. This card has the same color scheme as Volcanic Island, therefore they regularly go in the same decks.

Volcanic Island Beta Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Volcanic Island Beta Set

The Volcanic Island card is a very powerful dual land card that ranks among the most expensive MTG cards. This is a Red and Blue land. What makes the card so popular is the fact that the combination of Red, Blue, and Black mana is one of the best combos in the game. Yes, the card is also on the Reserved List.

Timetwister Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Timetwister Alpha Set

Timetwister is a deadly card. It is wanted and valuable because of its usefulness in the game. This card shuffles your hand, graveyard, and library together and then lets you draw a new set of seven cards. Once you’ve done your opponent does the same. In essence, this card completely reset the game without changing the actual board state.

Mox Emerald Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Mox Emerald Alpha Set

Like most Mox cards, Mox Emerald is also pretty valuable. This is a Green mama card and that is what makes it unique and valuable. In fact, this is one of the most valuable Green Mana cards on the Reserved List.

Mox Jet Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Mox Jet Alpha Set

This card continues to hold pretty high rice for years. The card is very sought-after and valuable because of its usefulness in the game. This is a Black Mana source a very powerful card, just like the rest of the Moxy brethren.

Underground Sea Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Underground Sea Alpha Set

The Underground Sea card is special because it is a dual-color land. The dual land card cycle includes ten lands. Every land represents a different mana color and this one taps for either Blue or Black mana. You as a player and collector know that the land is an important part of MTG. which justifies the high price. The card is also on the Reserved List.

Mox Ruby Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Mox Ruby Alpha Set

The Mox Ruby card is a precious item in the game. You know that Mox cycle of cards is a less broken version of the legendary Black Lotus. That means that every Mox card gives you one mana for no mana and can be used multiple times. The card is on the Reserved List, which significantly enhances the price and value.

Ancestral Recall Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Ancestral Recall Alpha Set

The Ancestral Recall card allows you to draw three cards from your deck. Since this is a single Blue mana, you can choose to draw three cards or you can make your opponent draw three cards.

Black Lotus Beta Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Black Lotus Beta Set

The Black Lotus card from Alpha Set is the most expensive Magic card, however, its Beta version is slightly cheaper. This is an excellent card because, for the cost of zero mana, it gives you three mana. Needless to say that everything that provides free resources is highly popular among players. The card is on the Reserved List, which explains the price.

Black Lotus Alpha Set

Magic Cards Worth Money - Black Lotus Alpha Set

Dating from MTG’s very first set, Limited Edition Alpha, released in 1993 is the main reason why this card is so expensive. It is believed that there are only around 1,000 copies of Alpha Black Lotus. This card features a perfect 10 Gem Mint rating by card grader PSA . This is one of only six Black Lotus cards to be rated in flawless condition.


What is the Reserved List?

The Reserved List is a list of MTG cards that will never be reprinted in order to preserve their current value on the market. This is in one way a good thing, and a bad thing in another way, considering that some cards will be out of reach for most players, like Black Lotus for instance.

The Reprint Policy was first published on March 4, 1996, and it was revised in 2002 and 2010 as well.

Why are some Magic cards illegal?

While this sounds ridiculous to people who aren’t into this game, the truth is that there are MTG cards that are banned. The reason is that these cards are simply too powerful.

Did you know that hundreds of hours are spent rigorously playtesting sets before their release? They do this to determine the complexity of Magic cards so they can accurately predict all the ways the new cards interact with older ones. So if a card is just too powerful compared to old ones it becomes illegal.

What is the actual value of the MTG cards?

This question can’t be answered properly, since the prices can vary significantly. Factors that affect the price fluctuation are the popularity of the game at the current moment. Also factors like rarity, condition, and current demand in the market.

Unfortunately, game cards can lose a lot of their value overnight. There are a few examples where MTG cards were estimated to be worth a few hundred thousand of dollars a few years ago, and today they are worth maybe a few thousand. That is the rule of demand and supply.

Are old MTG cards more valuable than new prints?

Older MTG cards are significantly more valuable than new reprints. Some old cards are worth a lot of money.  Especially those that are rare or in high demand. The most valuable ones are those that originate from the first sets.

However, a good thing is that cards also gain value depending on their specific characteristics and the current market conditions so even new printing cards and sets can achieve high prices.

Can you still buy a Black Lotus card?

Yes, you can, if you have a lot of spear money on your side. This card is too hard to find online, and even when you do find it the price of the card is pretty high. It can go from a few tens of thousands of dollars up to a few hundred thousand dollars.

In The End, These Are Just Playing Cards, Right?

For a lot of people, MTG cards are not only playing cards, in fact, they see them more as valuable collectible items. Considering how much they invested in them, in terms of resources, time, and effort in finding them, it is only natural to think about them as a treasure.

However, if you are among those few lucky persons who own the first printing releases from your childhood, consider yourself born under the lucky star. If you aren’t interested in further expanding and collecting, make sure you get the cards priced by a grading company and sell them for good money.

The right selection of cards, especially if they are old, can bring in thousands of dollars. But to profit from these cards you need at least a bit of basic knowledge and this is where our detailed guide can help.

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading our comprehensive guide. As usual, if there is some information you know, and we failed to mention, you know what to do. We will wait for your opinions, information, and questions, in the comment section below!

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