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Trade Tables #12 – Noncard Collectibles

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While I understand there is a lot of hype right now around Modern, I feel that the information about Modern is oozing from all sides, so rather than beat everyone over the head with more of the same, I thought I would switch it up and write an article I have wanted to get on paper for a while.

I am going to be discussing noncard Magic collectibles. As you will soon find out, this ranges from dice to playmats to life-counters. I find this topic interesting since there is a lot of hidden value in Magic that is generally overlooked by a large majority of the Magic-playing population. I will start by saying that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather something to introduce you to this aspect of Magic that you can explore further if it intrigues you.

We are going to start with one of my favorite pieces of Magic history, and that is the Duelist Abacus Life Counters. For those who are unfamiliar with them, check out this eBay completed listing.

They came in all five colors of Magic, and the color actually affects the value, with the Blue generally being the most expensive (surprise, surprise). They usually range between $40 and $60, with the occasional outlier. While I have never found one still in the packaging, those could fetch a much higher price tag, most likely between double and triple the out-of-package value.

Along these same lines, we can also discuss the Magic-branded spin-down dice that come in the Premium decks and Fat Packs. While these don’t carry near the same price tag as the abacus life-counters, they do hold some value. I have seen dealers buy them between $1 and $3, and they can eBay for a few dollars more depending on the set. I can’t find a direct correlation between price and set other than the older the set, the more the dice are generally worth.

The next piece of Magic history I would like to discuss is the Spellground playmats that Wizards of the Coast commissioned in the late 1990s. These are not like normal playmats of today that are cloth on top and rubber on the bottom, but rather completely cloth. They come in two sizes: the one-player size, which is 21″ × 14″, and the two-player size, which is 26″ × 26″. Here are a couple examples in one-player and two-player sizes.

They come in a variety of colors and designs, and they were also given out during Worlds for a few years. The last year they were given out was 2000, and the World Champ playmats generally fetch a higher price tag. Earlier this year, these were selling at a much higher price, and they have recently fallen off, which can be attributed to the hype dying down. I don’t believe these will continue to decline, as they are still very rare and hard to find, but the hype definitely inflated their price beyond what it should have been.

While we are discussing playmats, we can talk about the mats that we see on a more regular basis at tournaments. The mats that are issued by Wizards generally come with card art and are given away at events such as release events. Sometimes, Tournament Organizers for Grand Prixes will have them made up for their participants as a giveaway. Since these mats have become so commonplace, they will go for between $15 and $20 fairly regularly.

One mat I would like to mention in particular is the limited-edition Ultra-Pro Mox Diamond playmat that features alternate art for the five original Moxen that have been given out for Vintage World Champs over the years as well as the From the Vaults Mox Diamond artwork. Only 250 of them were produced. CoolStuffInc.com has one in stock as I write this article, which is surprising since this mat is so hard to find.

As a side note, for those who like the flavor, the now-defunct Vs. System card game that was produced by upper Deck had some very nice superhero-themed playmats that you can still find around eBay. I personally play with a Galactus playmat that generally grabs the attention of a few players. These mats also go for the same price range as their Magic brethren.

This next item I found while researching this article; I personally had no idea it had any value, and I know I have owned a few of them in my time as a Magic-player. This is one of the older deck boxes that had a Black Lotus and came with sleeves.

Now, I’m sure this particular item’s value comes mostly from the box still being factory-sealed with the sleeves in the box, but I know I’m going to go scour my local game store’s overstock for these little gems.

Wizards has been commissioning and releasing three-ring binders since 1995. They were originally a standalone product but were then released in addition to each new set as a complement to the set’s release. I really like the older binders, as they have a nice Magic feel to them and they are a part of Magic’s history. I am not sure if I would take them out on the trade floor, but I would definitely use them to keep my personal product in.

The binders that are part of the earlier sets or the standalone products can fetch a nice price. Here is the original product, and here is the Ice Age/Alliance binder.

This next item I’m going to talk about is something I have never owned, but I hope to in the future. I am talking about uncut sheets of Magic cards. These are generally given out as prizes for tournaments that Wizards sponsors, and other than working for Cartamundi, I am not sure how else you would acquire one. These are exactly what they sound like: a sheet of cards that never went through the final stage of production and remains in sheet form. Current Standard sets generally go between $200 and $300, while the foil sheets add between $50 and $100. Older sets vary in price, and since they are generally harder to find, a general price is hard to nail down.

The last piece we are going to talk about today is another piece of information that I found surprising while doing research for this article, and if I had known this at the time, I would have been more careful not to lose my own. What I found was that PTQ Top 8 pins fetch about $10 apiece on eBay. I found this surprising for a couple reasons; I had no idea people were willing to sell these, and more important, I am not sure who is buying them, but this auction proves that it is happening.

I hope the information that I provided today was useful to you and whets your appetite to go out and find out about more Magic regalia that has strong secondary-market value. When you do, share it with us here in the comments.

Happy grinding!

JR Wade

JohnRobertWade at gmail dot com

@THEJRRR on Twitter

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