PROTRADER: Closing the Arbitrage Gaps

It couldn’t have been all my doing. At least, not directly. Whether or not I sparked action is a separate matter.

Of course I’m talking about recent arbitrage opportunities. Many that I have cited in the past have dried up, especially on stuff like Alpha and Beta.

But I’m sure it didn’t take much to impact market pricing on older and more obscure cards. When a store is trying to stock up on near mint Alpha rares, it doesn’t take more than a copy or two to motivate them to drop their buy prices. Even giants like Star City Games can’t possibly want to sink more than a couple hundred dollars into stuff like Alpha Chaoslace.


As a result, previous blanket statements I’ve made in the past no longer hold true. Since I wrote an article on Alpha and Beta buy lists a couple months ago I’ve noticed many price cuts at Star City Games and, more notably, Channel Fireball. When I noticed strong buy lists I made sure to cite them for our ProTraders. Now that trends reversed some, I wanted to make sure I doubled back to this topic to provide a timely update.

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6 thoughts on “PROTRADER: Closing the Arbitrage Gaps”

  1. I know this is a very small subset of the market… but what say you on Alpha duals? Do we think that the dip in desire for Rev/Unl duals (which obviously have decidedly great supply) will ever creep into Alpha? There’s so little trackable data, as it just doesn’t make sense for a non-business to sell one on a trackable online source. SO much of the price of most cards is determined lightning quick by dealers using the analyze-able data. There’s just no data, it seems, other than what SSG/ABU/CFB are currently listing theirs for.
    I suppose that this question may belong in the “Legacy is dead” articles’ comments section.

    1. Dave,

      This is such a difficult question. It’s kind of backwards that I know so much about the Alpha junk rare market and nothing about the Alpha Dual Land market. I have to imagine that Alpha duals in nice condition won’t budge in value even if Legacy fades. The collectibility is too great. But for HP Alpha duals…I suppose I could see a drift downward.

      My general attitude towards Alpha is to stick to high grades even if the card playability is significant reduced. Downside is significantly less. I just know too little about high end Alpha stuff I’m afraid, but let me know if you uncover anything!

      Thanks for the question,

  2. Where is the best place to sell dual lands? Buylist? Tcg? Facebook? All have risks and rewards but I would prefer to go one route as opposed to 2-3.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    1. I’m struggling with this question right now. I don’t use TCG, so my options are Facebook, eBay, buy lists, or trading at LGS. Really, it comes down to your eagerness to sell. Facebook can be a great way to sell for above buy list, but be prepared for endless negotiations and lower offers. I’m going through that right now with an HP UNL Mox Pearl I’m trying to sell – I figure I can get more from Facebook than I can from eBay after fees, but so far every inquiry I’ve gotten has gone cold.

      eBay auction is the one sure-fire way to move a card, but be prepared for whatever the market gives you. For example I have 1 HP and 1 MP Revised Plateau I threw on eBay lately. The demand for them is so low and buy lists on played Plateaus are offensively poor, so I’d rather roll my dice and see what the market gives me. It’s probably better for desirable duals like Volc and Sea, but overall the volume of duals exchanging hands is dropping daily. Pretty soon, like power, the bid/ask spread on these will widen such that an eager seller will have to drop their price measurably and a motivated buyer will have to be willing to overpay a bit. That’s the evolution of the market, in my opinion.

      So it all depends on your eagerness to sell. If you can be patient, you may get slightly more, but if you’re desperate you will have to settle for less.

      Last thing I’ll mention is that at the last couple GP’s I went to, there is the occasional vendor paying really well on duals. Selling to vendors at large events is nice because it takes the guessing out of condition downgrades and you get the cash immediately. If I can’t sell for more on Facebook, selling to a vendor at a GP is my favorite method currently.

      Thanks for the question!

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