Tag Archives: Facebook

Low, Mid, and High: Then vs. Now

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Written By:
Douglas Johnson @Rose0fthorns
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Welcome back! I hope everyone enjoyed Grand Prix Charlotte (regardless of the technical difficulties the event experienced) and Grand Prix LA. I personally didn’t play in the main event, instead choosing to hang out in the Command Zone, play two-headed giant Sealed, and draft the day away.  The highlights of my draft were this beauty, which would have 3-0’ed if not for some absolutely terrible whiffs on Pieces of the Puzzle and then flooding out in two games. Oh well.

mono blyue

I also repeated my “Post pictures of vendor hotlists to Twitter”, but we’re not here to talk about that this week. In fact, we’re going to go off on a whole different topic that completely negates my statement last Thursday saying that we could continue in our Blueprinting adventures. Don’t worry, we’ll still be blueprinting and organizing 400,000 commons and uncommons this summer (yay……..), but I had a conversation with a friend of mine in the car during our 14 hour drive to Charlotte and I figured it would make for a great article.

lili

It’s really difficult to not know about “TCG mid” is nowadays. Most Android and Apple phone applications pull API from TCGplayer.com to make trading a simple and hopefully painless process for everyone. Some apps will also let you adjust the pricing metric that you use to “TCG low” or “TCG high”, or to manually adjust the price point to a number you and your trade partner agree upon. MTG Familiar is an app I enjoy using that also changes the color of the number to green when it’s been manually adjusted, to help prevent one party from swindling the other with some quick hands. But what is TCG mid, and how is it calculated? What’s the difference between TCG low mid and high, and where does each find its’ niche? Answering these questions is the main goal of this article.

tcg mid

TCG mid/TCG median

“TCG mid” used to be calculated as a mean average of the current available listings online. If for some reason there were only two listings on TCGplayer for Snapcaster Mage listed at $55 and $65, then the mid price would average out to be $60. That sounds reasonable at first, until we get outliers that skew the mean away from a realistic price point. If some random guy lists his Snapcasters at $85, then the mean is skewed pretty far away from $60. This is especially problematic when we consider new set releases and how long it sometimes takes for stores to reduce their prices, often due to forgetfulness or laziness.

A couple of years ago, TCGplayer changed their “mid” to “median”. Instead of using the mean average of listings, the median number is taken from one single seller directly in the middle of the number line. If there are two dozen sellers of Snapcaster Mage on TCGplayer and only the last five or six sellers forget to update their prices from when Snapcaster was $90, then the median price is safe from being skewed because the seller in the middle won’t be considered an outlier.

Most of you probably use that number to trade Magic cards with each other, and that’s fine. As long as both parties are happy with the trading metric and don’t try to scam the other out of cards, everyone wins. Even if one person is “value trading” because they care more about buylist prices, the other person is still getting a card they want for their deck. If everyone who trades cards uses TCG median, then what’s the point of TCG low and TCG high? What do these numbers mean, and how are they calculated?

TCG Low

If you freqent the Facebook buy/sell/trade groups that I’ve previously suggested in other articles, you’ve probably seen those groups use TCG low as a pricing metric, plus or minus a percentage. There’s no reason for grinders and players to buy cards from each other at full retail when other grinders and players would be more than happy to undercut SCG/Channelfireball and secure the sale, so TCG low is a more commonly used number to start from when conducting sales between two non-store parties.

The number is generated by checking the lowest NM or LP listing on TCGplayer (without shipping).  The fact that LP (lightly played) is included while MP/HP (moderately/heavily played) are excluded is very important here. If you’re a buyer who wants to pay 70% of TCG low on cards for your buylist and expect NM cards, you might be using the lightly played metric of a card for your NM buylist. Similarly, it’s hard for a seller to generalize and say that they’re selling an MP Underground Sea for a percentage of TCG low, without knowing what the difference between the cheapest MP and cheapest LP listing is.

The second part of that definition is that shipping is excluded in the calculation of TCG low. While that ends up being close to negligible in the Underground Sea case where shipping will be $2-3 for a $250 card, it ends up being extremely relevant when dealing with $3-5 cards like Golgari Grave-Troll.

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troll2

Looks like the TCG median of Grave-Troll from the duel deck is around $5. It’s crept up from the $3ish it was a few weeks ago, but it hasn’t spiked to a billion dollars. You want to buy into Modern Dredge with the help of the Facebook groups, so you decide to try and buy a set of Grave-Trolls for 10% less than “TCG low”. Sounds reasonable, right?

troll3

The shipping is almost as much as the card itself! Even if you’re trying to grab LP copies on a budget, the “low” was calculated by looking at the “item price only” filter in the top right of the above picture, instead of “item price + shipping”. Most of the facebook groups that I’m involved with won’t take kindly to what they perceive as your “lowball” offer of close to $3, especially when changing that filter to item price + shipping shows us that the cheapest LP Duel Deck Grave-Troll can’t be purchased for less than $5.25.

If you still want that set of Grave-Trolls, you’ll probably have to offer around $4.50 for each copy and be willing to take LP. That’s pretty interesting, considering how close it is to the median price. It also shows that any copies that have been listed closer to the visible “low” price are being snatched up, and that there’s real demand for the card.

TCG High

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Now we get to the final metric, TCG high. As you may have guessed or already known, the “high” is measured by the highest ‘item only’, NM/LP listing for the card on TCGplayer without counting shipping. This number can often vary wildly, for the same reasons I stated that TCGplayer shifted from using a mean to a median calculation for their “average”. When a seller forgets to update their prices or neglects their inventory, we get relic prices from weeks or even months ago.

tcghigh

Here we have the pricing information for Prized Amalgam, a $1 card from Shadows Over Innistrad. Cards from SOI (or whatever the most recent set is) are usually great examples of how skewed the TCG high price can be, simply due to the drastic price decrease most cards experience over a short period of time. Hell, Prized Amalgam only presold at $5 for a couple of minutes before dropping down to the $2 range in the weeks of release. Unfortunately, there’s still one seller who’s either very lazy or extremely hopeful that someone will stumble across his $5 (plus .99 shipping!) copy. I even had to scroll through over a dozen pages of listings just to find their copy, hidden among several foils.

History of TCG High

So… what’s the point of TCG high? Why would anybody use that as a metric for determining the value of their cards when low and median exist as options? Well, I had the same question until I got a phone call a few weeks ago. A player had gotten one of my business cards, and was looking to sell an Arlinn Kord they had opened from a booster pack. They said that they looked up the value of it online, and came to understand that it was worth $35. They would be happy accepting $20 because they knew I had to make money off it, and was wondering if I was available to meet up today. Before you ask, the card was not foil.

After my initial confusion subsided, I quickly looked up the value of Arlinn. Did I miss something over the weekend? Had Arlinn skyrocketed to $35 when I wasn’t paying attention to Standard results? What could they possibly be using to get that number? Then I saw it; TCG high for Arlinn Kord was $35. I explained to the man that the number online was not an accurate representation of the true price point, and spent a few minutes teaching him the same thing I’ve been explaining to you in the past several paragraphs. Thankfully he was receptive and understanding, ending up selling me the Arlinn for $10 when I told him that the median price was $20 and that I would probably sell it for $16.

While that story had a happy ending, I have to imagine that he’s not the only one out there using the high to try and figure out what his cards are worth. Other vendors or traders might not react as rationally to his misconceptions. With no real value being provided by TCGplayer listing the “high” price point, I got curious as to where the origin of the low/mid/high system came from, and used a little bit of #kiblergoogle to determine the source.

As it turns out, that three price point system originates from back when Scrye and Inquest were the premier methods for determining the values of your cards. We were even able to have one of the editors for the old Scrye magazine chime in and provide exact details, which I thought was pretty cool:

SCRYE1

SCRYE2

 

Scry3

scry4

So back in the old days, there was no SCG or TCGplayer to quickly check prices. If a card had a low of $2, a mid of $5, and a high of $7 in Scrye, you were less likely to trust that $5 number because you knew that it varied pretty widely. On the other hand, a spread of $2-$3-$4 was safer and you were confident in the $3 being a middle ground. The high had a relevancy, especially since prices weren’t so quick to change over the course of a single night or weekend. When TCGplayer opened their business as an aggregator of stores that could all grow their storefronts through a more visible marketplace, they ported over the system that Scrye had been using.

Scrye

While that may have worked for several years in the past, I’d like to suggest that TCG high is no longer relevant towards market pricing today and actively misinforms some newer players as to what their cards are worth. In a world where cards can jump from $.25 to $10 overnight, the high metric only serves as a reminder of what a card used to be worth at some point in time. At worst, newer players could stumble across it and believe that their Arlinn Kord is worth twice the retail, or that their Prized Amalgam is worth $5 the true market price.

Removing the High

Thankfully, we also live in an age where I can tweet to the wonderful people at TCGplayer and let them know my feelings on the matter. I really appreciate that they were so receptive to my initial feedback, and that they were able to make a step towards eliminating TCG high from the pricing metric. I’m looking forward to them continuing to remove it from other areas of the site as we move forward, so that archaic sellers from two months ago aren’t cluttering up the real finance data that we all crave.

TCG high

highfixed

You’ll also notice in that image that ‘high’ has been replaced with a different number, labeled “Market Price”. Instead of trying to give a complete description in my own words, I’ll let TCGplayer give you their definition of what this new pricing metric is, then try to elaborate on how it can help you avoid overpaying for something.

market price

So basically, market price will tell you what people have actually been paying for a card instead of what the card is currently being listed at. You might remember a few months ago when I suggested opening a TCGplayer seller account (which I still recommend doing), but for the purposes of checking the “last sold listing” measurement tool to gauge whether there was real demand for a card. Market price will be a less precise, more accessible addition to using that tool. So why add this in? What benefits does it provide that median and low do not?

Well, it should do a decent job of showing the true value of a card immediately after a spike occurs. While there might be one seller of a card for $14 post-buyout, the market price will show what people are really paying for the card. If nobody adds their copies to the market to race to the bottom and the market price remains at the old number for an extended period of time, then its’ pretty clear that the single person who bought out the cards and relisted them for higher won’t be making any money, at least on TCGplayer. Market price will show that players are only paying the old price.

shelld

As evidenced above, Shelldock’s market price hasn’t been running to match the current median price on the card. If we go another couple of days without data to suggest that Shelldock has been purchased consistently at the new price point, we can safely assume that it’ll go back down as more and more people race to the bottom and outnumber the demand sparked by the mill deck at GP Charlotte.

On the other hand, you can use market price as an entertainment tool to look at numbers and think “someone paid that? Really?” steamfl

Another human being paid actual dollar bills for Steamflogger Boss. Really? According to fellow writer Travis Allen, someone actually paid $5.99 when he checked the TCG last sold listing through his seller portal. I guess the demand from speculators is enough to continue pushing the card above $2, where those of us who own zero copies will get to laugh at those who bought out the internet.

End Step

TCG’s pricing system is definitely solid, but it has some nuances that you need to look into before using their metrics as a blanket rule for your buying and selling. If you want to buy at “TCG low”, you need to specify per condition and whether or not shipping costs are taken into account. If you want to trade at “TCG mid”, you need to determine whether or not you’re talking about market price or median price. If you plan on buying collections, you can’t realistically throw out rules such as “50% of TCG mid”, because then you get screwed one way or the other when the spreads vary wildly on different cards. I promise that we’ll get to blueprinting in the next couple of weeks, but this topic was too good to pass up on. Until next time, and thanks for reading!

 

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MTGPrice helps keep you at the top of your game with our daily card price index, fast movers lists, weekly articles by the best MTGFinance minds in the business, the MTGFastFinance podcast co-hosted by James Chillcott & Travis Allen, as well as the Pro Trader Discord channels, where all the action goes down. Find out more.

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Post-Prerelease Panic

We’re back with more of a Finance 101-style topic this week, so don’t expect anything too revolutionary or mind-blowing. Just a lone 20-year old rambling about certain Magic: The Gathering cards that I believe will go up, down, or remain stagnant as bulk rares for the rest of their miserable existences. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. I do kind of have a theme here. I want to wedge in a little bit of discussion about the best ways to out your prerelease bananas.

Tasigur the Golden Fang by Chris Rahn from artofmtg.
Tasigur the Golden Fang by Chris Rahn 

Bananas?

You know how bananas only last like three hours at a maximum before they turn black and gross and banana-bread material? That’s pretty much what 95 percent of the rares and mythics in Battle for Zendikar  are going to end up doing, too. You might look them up on your phone or tablet when you open them at your local prerelease and exclaim with pure joy: “Oh, golly me! My Undergrowth Champion is selling for a whole $10 American dollars on eBay! I ‘made’ money by adding up the value of all of the mythics, rares, and uncommons in my pool!”

undergrowthchampion

We all know what happens next. I’m very guilty of it myself. We go home, let that Champion sit in our binder for the next two FNMs, but nobody points it out as a trade target. Suddenly the card is only worth $3, and we buylist it for $1 because we’re sick of looking at it, and you know it will never see Constructed play. You only got like one slice of that delicious banana bread out of that deal, when you could have been fast enough to trade off that ripe banana for some apples or carrots. Those don’t go bad quickly, right? I don’t know. I’m not Gordon Ramsay over here.

That Zada, Hedron Grinder (which is one of the more stupid names that I’ve heard for a card in a while) is pre-selling for $2 now, but you and I both know that it’ll be a bulk rares in about two weeks. If you didn’t know that the legendary hedron grinder (ugh) will be a bulk rare, then consider it something you’ve learned from this article.

zadahedrongrinder

So how do you get rid of stuff like that? Ob Nixilis Reignited is preselling for $15 on eBay (which is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen for a planeswalker preorder in a long time), but you won’t be able to set him free on TCGplayer until the set’s official release date. Selling on eBay yourself is an option, but the fees are too high for my personal tastes, and the customer service is weighted heavily against you as a seller. There will also be a large number of people at your FNM who read articles like mine, telling them to stay away from  your precious Ob Nixilis like it’s the plague, until it’s a paltry $7. If you really want to move that demon buddy now, then I’ve got a couple of suggestions that you may want to pocket.

Like Dis If U Sell Evertim

download

Facebook is one of the best way to move new cards. Actually, I’m coming to a realization that I mention this in pretty much every damn article I write. And you know what? I haven’t been convinced that I’m wrong yet, so I’ll keep saying it. I wrote in detail here about selling a picked-through collection via Facebook, but I want to emphasize this here: most non-competitive players don’t go to your LGS. They’re not sitting across from you at FNM, or scanning through the spoilers every single day like we are. They don’t have eighteen different sources of price-tracking info coming into their brains, but most of them will have a Facebook page.

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Most of those non-competitive-but-on-social-media players most will have liked a Magic: The Gathering page at some point in time of their social-media lives. If that page allows the buying, selling, and trading of cards, this is where you want to be. You want to ride just under the prices they’re seeing on eBay and TCGplayer, because these are the impulse buyers of Magic. They want their sweet new cards, and they want them as soon as possible. Timmy Incarnate behind his computer screen has been waiting to add that Desolation Twin to his Eldrazi deck for weeks now, and you’re going to help make it happen. How much is it going to cost Timmy? $2? That’s it? Bam. Easy. And it saved you from sullenly sliding that Twin into your bulk rare box a month from now. Everyone’s happy. Sell those $12 copies of Ob Nixilis, $13 Kioras, and ride that prerelease hype wave as far as you can surf, until those 8/8 octopuses turn all of your hard-pulled cards into gross little bulk rares.

Alternatively, you can test how fast your fingers can click and try your hand at PucaTrading those new treasures away. Trader be wary though: everyone is going to be looking at the same target here. If you thought Standard cards were difficult to move on PucaTrade as just an average Joe user, you’ll be disappointed to learn that cards straight out of the new set are on another level. Everyone wants to get that sweet, uncut value.

Traps in Battle for Zendikar

I mean, there aren’t any actual trap cards, like Archive Trap and whatnot, but I do believe there are a couple of other trap cards from Origins that I believe I’m in minority of rallying against. Everyone is up in arms about these two tricks of Nissa’s being near-guaranteed landfall spec targets, but I’m not seeing it.

SwordOfTheAnimistanimistsawakening

Both of these cards are hovering around the $3 point right now, and they’ve each crept up to that point relatively recently. I don’t think you want to pay four total mana to play and equip Sword of the Animist just to get a landfall trigger every turn, especially when your guy could just get bolted in response. If we’re equipping a creature and attacking with it, I want to win the game very soon after. I just don’t feel like Sword of the Animist has the power level to do that. Even if it does see play in a Standard list, how many do you play? Probably two at most—I can’t see you wanting three copies. You’ll draw too many at that point. So do you expect this to go to $6 or $7 in a set where there’s already a $20 non-mythic holding up a substantial portion of the set’s value? I’m just not buying it. Literally. I’m not buying this card, unless I get it at buylist prices.

As for Animist’s Awakening, I feel like it’s way too much of a gamble to be investing that much mana into crossing your fingers and hoping for more ramp. If you’re trying to abuse this with Omnath, you should be able to end the game off of two or three more landfall triggers, fueled by fetch lands and maybe a single ramp spell, not casting this for seven or eight mana and hoping that you have 50 power on board. While I play it (and absolutely love it) in my Child of Alara EDH deck, that’s a completely different environment, and I can’t see this being run as a four-of in any particular landfall deck. It sees $3 off of two things: hype for the new set and mechanic, and people like me who jam it in EDH. If you’re holding onto either of these cards at $3 and hoping they jump, my recommendation is to sell off now into that hype.

End Step

Did you know Hardened Scales is a $2 Magic card? I mean, I knew it was pretty good in EDH, but I didn’t think it would be more expensive than a Prophet of Kruphix. I’m pretty sure I have several copies of Scales in my bulk-rare boxes right now; or at least, I’m pretty sure I used to. Some smart reader out there probably realized that the card was worth more than I was selling it for, and pulled it out to make money off of me. Good for you, if you did that.

DragonWhisperer

Dragon Whisperer is the same price as Hardened Scales. Now, that can’t be right. I know my friend Travis has written about this card extensively, and put his money where his mouth is. I can’t say I blame him, and I’m tempted to dump a reasonable chunk of change to follow suit. There are a lot of abilities on this card, and it fits perfectly into the curve of the mono-red deck that we all know will exist post-rotation. Writing this paragraph and looking at this price graph is slowly convincing me, so you’ll probably see me in What We’re Buying and Selling This Week on Saturday with my pile of Whisperers that I bought for two freaking dollars each.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I got a little bit side-tracked, but that’s alright. I didn’t have too solid of a topic anyway. Let’s talk about Magic cards in the comments below. You’re probably more likely to get a quick response if you use Twitter or Facebook, though. Fair warning. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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Selling Collections Through Facebook

Alright, so last week we went over how to find people selling their cards on Facebook for buylist prices, and how to negotiate a deal so that you don’t get scammed. I mentioned that sellers were between the two extremes of, “I want to sell my cards for SCG prices over Facebook” and “Please buy these today, I need gas money.”

You want to be a median of these two types of sellers, because it allows you to maximize profits from the things you’ve bought at buylist prices, avoid fees from eBay and TCGplayer, and get paid on the same day that you sell the cards. Today, I’m going to show you how to create a proper Facebook ad for buying and selling cards at a reasonable rate.

Rule Number 1

For the love of Pharika, don’t be any of these people. If you are one of these people, you’ll learn that changing your prices and listing methods will prove fruitful. Each of these individuals has at least one thing wrong with how they created and priced their list of cards.

BadFBsellFB1
Figure A

In the first post, we see someone looking to move a pretty high-value collection, if he has what he says he does. Revised duals, foil fetch lands, and staples. What duals? What fetches? I have no idea. There’s no picture, no list of cards, and no document to reference. He’s only willing to produce a list for those who are interested, which is an immediate turn-off when considering the price he’s asking. Five percent off of TCGplayer low is a price that I would sell singles for out of my display case, or if I was trying to piece out a collection over time. To ask for a number like that when selling an entire collection at once is simply unreasonable. For these reasons, his post had exactly zero comments or interested parties when I saved the picture.

FBsellfail
Figure B

Well, at least we have a list to work with here. This person has linked to a Google document, so we can see what cards exactly we’re dealing with, and how much each of them costs. He’s looking to sell everything in order to purchase a car, so there’s clearly a bit of a hurry to move everything at once for a lump sum. The problem? Ten percent off of TCGplayer mid (which I’m assuming he used for pricing based on my quick look at the document) is not exactly a deal that we’re looking for, and it’s sure as hell not going to get him any bites. If his “firm” became “less firm,” I asked him to let me know and send me a message, as I’d gladly pay $1500 to $1700 for the whole thing, and PayPal him the money today if he provided enough tracking and shipping confirmation.

BadFBsell3
Figure C

Lastly, we’ve got this carefully typed out list. This is only about 25 percent of the total cards that he carefully typed out, but I think you can see a pattern of problems here. First of all ,”Scarcity games” doesn’t exist, so I have no idea what his cards are priced at. Then there’s the issue of him painstakingly listing every single bulk rare on his list, in an attempt to make it look like his list is more valuable than it actually is. Near-mint bulk rares are worth 10 to 12 cents each to any buyer who would be interested in picking up an entire collection, nothing more.

Rule Number 2

This rule doesn’t specifically apply to Facebook buying and selling, but more to the world of Magic: The Gathering finance as a whole. If we’re looking to sell cards, we will get paid a varying amount of money depending on the amount of work we put in. If we want to appear to be a reputable seller via Facebook and get paid approximately what our cards are worth, we want to put at least a bit of effort into our listing, and make it as easy as possible for the buyer to purchase our items without asking an infinite number of questions.

This means that every item should have an associated price tag, and not a lazy listing like, “Everything is ten percent off of TCG low,” because that just makes more work for your potential customers.

GoodSellAdFB1

Now this is an example of a much better listing. The cheapest copy of Lion’s Eye Diamond on eBay right now is $68, and the lowest priced near-mint copy on TCGplayer is $72. Putting his at $60 almost guarantees that someone who was already eyeing (heh) one will gravitate towards this deal, but it’s also above the “liquidating these because I need rent money” pricing so that the seller makes a profit.

I only have a couple of criticisms about this listing that if addressed would serve to make the transaction easier for both parties. There’s no condition listed for any of the cards, so I’m not sure if I’m getting a great deal on a NM LED or an average priced HP copy where the back of the card has been sandpapered down. There’s also no info on shipping prices. Some people feel the need to charge $5 for tracked shipping in a bubble mailer, which would certainly take the sweetness out of that Mox Diamond deal.

Build-A-Post 

Now, let’s try to make our own Facebook post that is both comprehensive, simple to read, and priced smoothly enough to make multiple sales within a couple days of the post’s origin. First of all, we want to establish a rule of how much we’ll charge for shipping and how we’ll accept payment. I usually ship for free in a plain white envelope (PWE) for total orders under $20, unless the buyer specifically requests a tracked shipment of the small order, in which case I charge $2. You can create a PayPal shipping label from home with a printer for $1.93, and then buy bubble mailers for approximately $.07 each. Once we start getting over the $50 mark, I generally just start shipping for free as a courtesy, and to encourage buyers to add a few more cards to hit that price point.

As for payment, I only accept PayPal, and I always ask for the money upfront. I have enough references to solidify my position as someone who’s not a ripoff artist. While I’ve lost a couple of deals over this, I’m not willing to ship another party cards only to have them be unable or refuse to pay. If you’re just starting out selling via Facebook, you might have to accept shipping the cards out first if you don’t have enough references. Just be sure to actually confirm that the other party has real references, and that they’re not just sending you a list of names, by waiting for replies. Payment via gift is the preferred option, because we don’t have to deal with that little three-percent fee that comes attached for the goods and services option.

Finally, let’s get to the cards and their pricing. The golden rule of thumb here is to try to make sure everything is a little bit below the cheapest available copy on eBay and TCGplayer—otherwise there’s no point in buying from you. This difference in price between your listing and the cheapest available copy can vary based on the current market for the card, taking reprints and such into account. For example, let’s say I have this Tundra:

Tundra

Other than the fact that it’s yellow and looks like someone took out a cigarette and smoked directly onto it over a period of time, it’s still a sleeve-playable Tundra. It’s a dual land, and won’t ever see another printing. The cheapest heavily played copy on TCGplayer at the time of this writing is listed for $146 shipped, so I would probably put it on Facebook for somewhere around $130 if I wanted to get rid of it. While this is close to the “ten percent off of TCGplayer low” that I criticized the above seller for citing, this is the price of an individual dual land, and I’m not pricing my entire collection at this looking to unload everything. For contrast, let’s look at something that’s scheduled to be reprinted.

splinter twin

In contrast to Tundra, the cheapest Splinter Twin available is $19 on TCGplayer, and I would list mine on Facebook for closer to $13 or $14. The highest available buylist for Twin right now is $12 if I wanted to sell to ChannelFireball, and I’m predicting that Twin drops down to $10 or $12 a few weeks after the reprint in Modern Masters 2015. I’d rather sell it to someone who is looking to build the deck immediately instead of buylisting to CFB.

In both these cases, note that instead of glancing over a pile of cards and saying “ten percent off TCG low for everything,” I’m going through each card and determining a value that would be beneficial to both me and the buyer, depending on the future of the card.

If you’re planning on buylisting a bunch of staples in the future, you might want to look at the prices that you’re willing to accept and consider selling them on Facebook. Instead of spending time alphabetizing, set sorting, and scouring multiple different buylists for the right price, we can make this a lot easier. Add a small percentage to that number that the store offered, list some rules for shipping and payment, add a couple of pictures of the collection, and then wait for some replies.

MyFBsell

And there we have it! This is obviously just a very basic template, but it conveys the message quickly and can be customized to add more cards easily. We made sure that we were beating the current market price to move product quickly, established shipping and payment in advance so that we don’t have to waste time answering questions about it, and we’ll get paid today if someone’s interested in the cards.

One final note when making posts across multiple groups, though, is to wait at least a couple days after posting a listing in a single group . You don’t want to spam the feed and get kicked out. Good luck!

End Step

In other news, Abrupt Decay has started creeping back up on MTGstocks Interests. It’s only up by five percent, but I fully expect this to be a $20 card sooner rather than later. If you need copies now, I think now is the time to buy, and they’re still great trade targets. Remember that almost anyone building a Tarmogoyf deck is going to need these, and I don’t think it’ll be getting a reprint soon.

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Buying Collections Through Facebook

By: Douglas Johnson

Hello, readers! Sorry about the lack of an article last week: it’s exam time here at Oswego State, so I had to prioritize writing about cognition, perception in digital image manipulation, and the history of past psychological theories over my beloved trading card finance. If you’re interested in any of those papers, I can be sure to get you a copy.

Now that we’re back, I’d like to provide a correction from the Immortals article from a couple of weeks ago. In that article, I referenced the “leaked” list from about a month ago, and assumed it was true because it came from the same source as the leak that had ended up being true for a list of Modern Masters stuff back in 2013. While several of the cards on the list ended up being correct, several cards were inaccurate (Comet Storm over the supposed mythic Splinter Twin), and  Goblin Guide ended up being completely missing from the set.

I received a bit of negative feedback for automatically assuming the list to be true, and I accept that I should have waited for confirmation from WOTC before going ahead with the example that I used. That being said, Tezzeret ended up being in the set (lucky me), and I still think he’s a good example of an “immortal.” If you need one for a deck or are looking for long-term stable gains through trade, I recommend picking them up about a month after the release of Modern Masters 2015.

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The New Craigslist

Now that those things are out of the way, let’s get to the content. When I get asked, “Where are the best places to find collections?” my two instant answers have always been Craigslist and word-of-mouth. Once you become a well-known person in your local area for buying pretty much anything at buylist, you’ll have friends of friends referencing you as “that guy” who is willing to drive out to their house at 11 p.m. on a Monday to buy their Standard deck because they need to pay rent by the next day. While both of these are still excellent ways to grab cards at buylist values to immediately resell at TCGplayer low prices, I’m happy to add another method to that list, and that’s Facebook.

I’m not even talking about using your local Facebook groups to meet up with people in your area to buy stuff—I’d categorize those under the “word of mouth” section, and just having a sufficient network. Even then, you’re still actually physically meeting up with the person and exchanging cash for the cards immediately. While my definition of a collection right here loosely translates to, “A pile of random singles at approximately buylist values shipped to your door,” it’s still been a great experience for me, and picking up two collections this way gave me the idea to write this article.

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Where to Join? 

To start out, let’s go over some of the various groups that I’m a part of on Facebook where you’ll be most likely to find willing sellers. While I’ve also joined at least a dozen localized groups that serve the same function, this is a decent starter list of the ones that aren’t tied to a specific location. Some of these groups will spam up your feed with unreasonable sellers more than others, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make in order to find the occasional great deal.

MAGIC THE GATHERING BUY/SELL/TRADE

BuySellTrade

Magic Forum Buy-Sell-Trade

MagicForumBST

MTG ONLINE TRADES

MTGOnlineTrades

Magic: The Gathering

MagictheGathering

Puca Points / Tickets / Card Exchange

TixPucapoints

The first three groups are pretty self-explanatory: they all focus on the same thing, albeit the “MTG ONLINE TRADES” group is more focused on trading and less on cash transactions.

The fourth one on the list, “Magic: The Gathering,” lacks an easily distinguishable name, and is a much more casual-based group, and will actually provide great examples of what an “invisible” player looks like, as defined by my co-writer Ross Lennon . However, you’ll occasionally find a decent gem post there, and selling cards on that page for under TCGplayer low is a huge hit with the casual crowd in my experience. We’ll go over the correct formatting for selling your cards via Facebook later on.

The last group is a newer one created for exchanging the different types of currency that we use: PucaPoints for the PucaTrade website, Magic Online tickets, cards themselves, or actual cash.

Pretty much all of these groups are technically “closed” by Facebook’s definition, but just ask for permission to join and they’ll let you in. If you’re someone who is constantly checking in on your Facebook every few minutes while bored and sitting at the computer, this is a great way to find buying opportunities without having to put in any noticeable extra effort. Be warned, though: you will inevitably see a large number of people who have no idea what they are doing, expecting full retail for their list of random rares.

My Haul

CollectionFBbuy2

A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed to procrastinate on my term paper on perception. I happened to notice a post on one of the above groups that was selling the above list of cards,  and was asking damn near close to buylist prices on each card. He only wanted $10 for the (albeit German) Privileged Position, $1 each on the Townships, etc. I sent him a private message (and commented on the thread telling him that I had done so), asking what his price was to move the entire list today. His number was $180, which I snap-agreed to, especially since he was willing to ship the cards to me with tracking included (something you’ll always want to do when making these types of buys).

He supplied me with a list of his references, so that I could contact the admins and other traders of the various Facebook groups to confirm that he wasn’t going to take my money and block me. Thankfully, this was someone that I had purchased cards from in the past through the very same group ($5 copies of Liliana Vess? Don’t mind if I do.), so I had already confirmed his legitimacy. Even so, I still always wait for the seller to give me a tracking number before I send the money,  and I pay the extra 3% fee to cover the “goods and services” portion that PayPal takes, just in case I need to resolve a dispute.

Seconds?

CollectionFBbuy1

This list of cards was another lot on Facebook that I found within a couple days of the last one. After a bit of negotiating and letting the seller know that he could be paid the same day once providing me with the tracking number and confirming his references, we settled on a $220 price tag. While a large chunk of it is Standard stuff that will  be rotating within the next four to five months, I’ve already managed to move a decent chunk of it through local customers and selling on TCGplayer.

BusinessCards 047

After about a week of waiting and a couple of days of the USPS lying to me about when my package was scheduled to be delivered, we got our prizes in the mail.

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There’s… uhh… a little too much tape involved here, but it was his first time selling online, and he said he didn’t want anything to get damaged. Better safe than sorry, I suppose.

BusinessCards 050

And here’s everything unwrapped and laid out, ready to be added to my own inventory. The seller actually didn’t mention that the Butcher of the Horde was actually Japanese and foil, so that’ll be nice if I can actually find a buyer. Even if I don’t, I only paid the buylist price of a non-foil English one: $.25.

All in all, I paid a litle over $400 to have $900 of (retail) value of cards shipped right to my mailbox . While this is obviously one of the rarer and more lucrative examples that you’ll come across, they do exist.

A more common situation with the reasonable sellers is the first time I bought from the seller who provided the first list: I bought two copies of Liliana Vess for $10 total, shipped in a plain white envelope. You definitely have to be fast with messaging the sellers when you see potential buys, but it’s worth it. There are multiple people like me who have nothing better to do than scroll through their Facebook feed for the off-chance that someone needing to pay for rent/car repairs/schoolbooks shows up in one of the groups, and actually knows how to list things at buylist prices in order to move them immediately.

I mentioned earlier that I would go over how to properly list cards on Facebook so that they actually move and allow you to make a profit, but I think that can be saved for next week, as it’s a pretty detailed subject. There are also a couple of things that I want to go over in the End Step before I close out for the week.

End Step

Modern Masters 2015 boxes are available for MSRP pretty much everywhere, and I’ve gotten several questions as to whether or not one should buy in expecting the same growth rate of the set’s predecessor.  I don’t think I want to buy these at $250, for singles or for storage. They’re an even bigger lottery ticket than Modern Masters, with a whole bunch of money packed into the mythics and very little distributed at rare. I’m a pretty risk-averse person, so I’d rather be the one buying other people’s cards at buylist so that they can be the ones to roll the dice on $10 booster packs. Unless you can get in below $210 or don’t plan on making money off of it, stay away for now.

Serum Visions is the FNM promo for August, following Path to Exile for July. I guess that explains why it wasn’t in MM15, so gold stars to everyone who called that. The lack of Gitaxian Probe is less easily explained, though, and my money (not literally) is suggesting that it’s teetering on the edge of a potential banning. While I don’t think the card is powerful enough to deserve an excommunication from the format, I also thought the same of Birthing Pod. I’m personally selling my copies at $3 when I have the chance, but that’s partially just because I found a bunch in a collection last week.

That’s it for this week. See you next time!

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