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Subject: Inherited a collection -- where to start? rss

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Rick Noetzel
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My long-time gaming partner passed away and I received his collection, including a bag containing hundreds of magic cards.

I have a huge game collection myself, but I never got into Magic and I've never purchased a single card. So my questions is -- how do I go abut determining what I've got?

There are dozens of websites to chose from. Are there any which would be easier to use to identify cards, etc, etc? The couple sites I tried opened with "pick the set you want to look at". These cards are all years old and I have no idea what sets they are from. I could slog through them set-by-set but I thought there might be an easier way.

I appreciate any help.
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Virre Linwendil Annergård
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rickn99 wrote:
My long-time gaming partner passed away and I received his collection, including a bag containing hundreds of magic cards.

I have a huge game collection myself, but I never got into Magic and I've never purchased a single card. So my questions is -- how do I go abut determining what I've got?

There are dozens of websites to chose from. Are there any which would be easier to use to identify cards, etc, etc? The couple sites I tried opened with "pick the set you want to look at". These cards are all years old and I have no idea what sets they are from. I could slog through them set-by-set but I thought there might be an easier way.

I appreciate any help.


The sets matter, however you can search at gatherer http://gatherer.wizards.com

and see what sets the card was published in and as you can hoover the expansion symbol. However if the real old cards is in there it will be problematic.

Although you really should sort on set, acctually sort out each identifable set and look at the collectors number (middle bottom) for a good way to order cards in.
 
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Silver Bowen
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Perhaps you could find someone in your area who would be willing to sit with you in person and help out? Maybe try asking at your local FLGS? Given the circumstances, I'm optimistic someone would be willing to lend assistance.

Or perhaps a BGGer is nearby. Where are you located?
 
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Magiccards.info

Look no further.
 
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Todd Pytel
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Did your partner still play actively? If so, his opponents or favorite shop might be able to provide some idea of what you've got, and possibly be potential buyers themselves.

Magic cards are a pain to resell for good value even if they're your own and you know exactly what you have. Selling someone else's collection when you don't know the game is a huge task. I would try to get some sense for overall value ($500? $5000? $50000?). I'd guess most collections like this have a theoretical value somewhere in the low-mid four figure range, and the bulk of that is found in hundreds of $5-10 cards that are awkward for non-dealers to sell. In that case, you're probably best off selling the whole thing to a reputable dealer and letting them do the work sorting it out.
 
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Rick Noetzel
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Thanks, guys.

I plan of checking those webpages out and looking at the cards while watching football today.

As far as his play, he has been inactive in Magic for several years. One of the former members of our boardgame group was one of his Magic partners, but that ended a long while back. I think he just bagged up the cards and never bought any more.

I probably will sell this through to dealer, but I wanted to get a sense of what it's worth. I'll put a lot less effort into worrying about a $50 collection versus a $1000 one.

And ya'll made me realize I never put my location info in my profile (Duluth, Ga).
 
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Pete Lane
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Ronaldo wrote:
Magiccards.info

Look no further.


Actually if you know what sets you're dealing with:

http://mtgbro.com/

They use TCGplayer.com mid, which I believe is the same scale used by Magiccards.info. It's just an easier way to look.
 
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Lorie S
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My situation is MUCH 'happier' than the OP here. This weekend, I ended up with several thousand cards from older sets, given as a 'gift' from a friend. I'm very new to the game...having played all of 3 games total. I figured I'd put together older decks for fun play. About 35% of the cards are white bordered and have no symbols whatsoever on them so I have no idea what set they are from or if they are originals or reprints. How can I tell whether or not these were from original sets or reprints? And how do I tell what the age is to begin with? Do I need to enter each card into those websites listed in this thread or is there an easier way to do this?

Thanks much!
 
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Josh Morgan
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This is a good (but lengthy) guide on how to approach a set of unknown cards.

http://www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/wiki/collection_sorting_and...
 
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Mark McEvoy
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LadyNRA wrote:
About 35% of the cards are white bordered and have no symbols whatsoever on them so I have no idea what set they are from or if they are originals or reprints. How can I tell whether or not these were from original sets or reprints? And how do I tell what the age is to begin with?



Every white bordered card is a reprint of some sort - every card's first printing was black bordered (either Alpha/Beta if it was part of the original core set, or else it was introduced in an expansion, and all expansions are black bordered). Don't assume that reprint means valueless though. An Unlimited Black Lotus is still worth $1600; Revised dual lands are still in the $100 ballpark.

So a white bordered card without an expansion symbol is either Unlimited (2nd ed), Revised (3rd ed), 4th edition, or 5th edition. (IV, 7, 8, 9, and Chronicles were all white bordered with expansion symbols; and from X edition onwards core sets were black bordered).

5th edition has a small 1997 copyright line at the bottom, under the artist name. 4th edition has a 1995 copyright line there. Revised and Unlimited don't have copyright lines and can best be told apart by the framing line(s) just inside the white border - Revised edition (1994) has a single black line framing the card, while Unlimited (1993) has a second, finer line just inside the thick outer one.


Unlimited above, Revised below.



You can always just take a photo of a sampling of the collection, laying the cards out in columns (only the card name needs to be visible/readable), take a photo, and post it here. Then we can get a grasp of what eras the collection spans, identify any valuable cards in the image, and from knowledge of the era we can name other cards, by name, to be on the lookout for.
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Joakim Björklund
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thatmarkguy wrote:
You can always just take a photo of a sampling of the collection, laying the cards out in columns (only the card name needs to be visible/readable), take a photo, and post it here. Then we can get a grasp of what eras the collection spans, identify any valuable cards in the image, and from knowledge of the era we can name other cards, by name, to be on the lookout for.


I second this. It's an easy and fast way to figure out if you have anything of value. There are many people here who can spot those cards in an instant.
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Mark McEvoy
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And none of us have any vested interest in lowballing you. The mistake of asking a vendor to appraise is that people will often just sell to the appraising vendor out of convenience, which gives the vendor an incentive to tell you your cards are considerably less valuable than they really are.
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Joakim Björklund
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thatmarkguy wrote:
4th edition has a 1995 copyright line there.


If you find any white-bordered card that looks like a 4th edition card but with a 1994 copyright line, handle them with extreme care. You then have a very rare card from the so called "Summer Edition", a core set printing that WotC did in the Summer of '94 but never released to the public. However, a few boxes escaped...

This is just a curiosity, chances that you would find any Summer magic cards are next to zero. But they exist and one have to know about them when on the lookout for valuable cards.
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Rick Noetzel
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I pulled the box of cards out of the game room. I'll spend some time this week looking through it and getting a better idea of the sets involved. Lots of white borders, lots of dark borders, lots of different symbols.

He didn't sleeve his cards but kept them sorted in hard-plastic boxes. Like the rest of his game collection, they all seem to be in good shape.

I've put this off for a year since it makes me pretty melancholy. Chuck was my game partner for 20 years and we played weekly until the week before his death. It's amazing what kind of hole that left.
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Mark McEvoy
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If his collection is well-sorted by color, the best cards for you to 'display' for a quick evaluation are the colorless ones - artifacts (they have just a number in the upper right "cost" area, they don't have any colored mana symbols), and (nonbasic) Lands - (they have nothing at all in that cost area - you can ignore the ones named Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, or Forest though).


The largest segment of valuable cards from early editions (if the collection goes back that far) are lands and artifacts. Of the 24 most valuable cards in Unlimited, 21 are colorless (the other 3 are blue). The 10 most valuable cards in Revised are all lands. 4 of the 5 most valuable cards in Arabian Nights are lands...
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Daniel B
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Here's a guide on how to determine which edition the cards belong to:

http://www.abugames.com/Magic_the_Gathering_Edition_Guide.ht...
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trevor

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none of those cards are legal in play so sell what you can and throw the rest in the crapper......welcome to the money pit of Magic!
 
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Rick Noetzel
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I started sorting last night and grabbed a stack of about 80 cards. He had several empty Unlimited boxes, so I was expecting to find a lot of those...and I did. Plus I found a scattering of Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Beta, Revised, and Fallen Empires.

This is going to take a while, but it appeals to the OCD in me.
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Cyrus the Great
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bigGameGeek wrote:
none of those cards are legal in play so sell what you can and throw the rest in the crapper......welcome to the money pit of Magic!

Completely untrue. Every card is legal in some formats, and even if none of the cards in the collection are Modern or Standard legal, and there aren't enough to build a decent Legacy deck, it sounds like you could build dozens of fun casual decks with them after you sell the most expensive ones. There are tons of ways to play Magic and have fun without spending more than you would on a big-box boardgame.
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Mark McEvoy
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bigGameGeek wrote:
none of those cards are legal in play so sell what you can and throw the rest in the crapper......welcome to the money pit of Magic!


What the hell are you going on about? He hasn't even identified any specific cards yet. And the only cards that are illegal in all formats are the 9 ante cards, the 2 physical-dexterity cards, and Shahrazad. Oh, and Un-Sets (which everyone knew at purchase time were just for fun and would never be tournament legal). I would guesstimate 99.5% or more of his cards are tournament legal. Of course, most aren't standard legal. But complaining that early-90s cards aren't standard legal is akin to complaining that an open-wheel F1 racecar is worthless beause it isn't legal in NASCAR, or that a four-year-old thoroughbred is worthless because it's ineligible to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

rickn99 wrote:
I started sorting last night and grabbed a stack of about 80 cards. He had several empty Unlimited boxes, so I was expecting to find a lot of those...and I did. Plus I found a scattering of Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Beta, Revised, and Fallen Empires.

This is going to take a while, but it appeals to the OCD in me.


And you're torturing the ADHD in us! We want pictures!


(I just sorted+alphabetized+digital-inventoried a 7000 card collection over the course of the past 2 weeks - I've had my OCD fix)
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Michael Becker
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A good place to start with the black bordered cards are to put them into groups by expansion set symbol.

I recently began the arduous task of cataloguing my collection. I decided to use tcgplayer.com for the task and I found it to be pretty easy to input. Best of all I have a very good read on what my collection is worth now. But I have only completed about 4000 cards so far and I think I have another 20K to go still... lol I do a small stack every night or so.

The old sets don't have foils so just unclick that box.

I would venture you have a very good collection which will fetch a decent price especially if you have some of the key cards from Unlimited, Antiquities, Arabian Nights, Revised, or Beta.

Best of luck and I would be very happy to help in some way if I can.

Michael
 
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Mark McEvoy
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My sorting method for the ~7000 I just sorted was to divide each color into three 'piles' - White-bordered-old-cardframe, Black-bordered-old-cardframe, and New-cardframe. Then I alphabetized each pile, then I databased each pile in Decked for iPhone. Because each pile was a very predictable distinct set of expansions I filtered the complete cardlist for those expansions in Decked in alphabetical order, then went through each now-alphabeticized pile quickly incrementing each card in the also-alphabetical DB (so there were virtually no lookup delays during data entry- the next card in alphabetical order in the pile was usually one to three lines down in the DB list).


The side effect of this, aside from breaking the alphabetization into more manageable chunks, is that I'm already well on my way to separating out my Modern-eligible cards (as virtually all of the new-cardframe cards are modern-eligible - the ones that weren't I filed back into their appropriate alphabetical homes in the Legacy boxes) . I just need to parse through the old-frame cards separating those that were modern-reprinted from the ones that are Legacy-only.

The eventual goal is three categories of card: Standard, Modern-but-not-Standard, and Other (Legacy+EDH+Casual...).

('Course, this was done with the expectation that I'd be building my decks by format while physically looking through my cards, as I always have - but as a result of now having my collection databased in Decked, I'm now browsing my collection and building-by-format right in the app. I virtually assembled an Anax&Cyamede EDH deck on my phone last night, I just need to physically assemble the decks now)
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Lorie S
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Thanks to everyone who gave me some info on identifying card age. I'll check out the website provided as well as try to go through them and see what I have. In my case, all of these were gifted to me by a friend but the person who gave them to her had already pulled out anything he deemed of value. And to be perfectly honest I got them free so it's not like I'm disappointed that the remaining ones might have little value. It's not like I plan on selling them. I just want to know what I've got (although it would be cool to find out that some DO have value, which I seriously doubt because the person gifted them from the start knows his stuff and knows the values. With that said, as little as I know about this game, I agree with the person who said that these can be used in competitions. Not the modern or standard perhaps but I was told that with Vintage play (or whatever it's called now), anything goes with the exception of the cards banned from play and those short lists are available on the main MTG sites.

And far more important, for me anyway, I'm just as eager to play novice games with people local to me purely for the fun of it. I can be quite competitive but if I don't win, oh well, I'll get another chance some other day. Right now, a new game group opened up by me (all kinds of board and card games), and I'm learning to play MTG by gaming with boys far younger than the age of my children. They use whatever cards they have and that's just fine with me. I get the education, I get the challenge and the fun of getting out with my husband for a freebie night of fun (although he has no interest in learning to play MTG).

So for me, that precious gift from my friend will allow me to come up with bunches of older decks to play purely for fun. cool
 
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Lorie S
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Mark McEvoy - Many thanks for the great info on the cards and borders etc. I'll pay attention to your info when I pull the cards out again. I suspect many of mine are the revised white cards because they are the lighter color images which you can clearly see in your two examples.
 
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Lorie S
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Okay, I did a quick sort through the 4000 cards. Most of the cards appear to be made up of the following sets:

Antiquities, Legends, The Dark, Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Homelands, Alliances, Mirage, Visions, Urza's Saga, Urza's Legacy, a couple of Arabian Nights and one Mirrodin, and a lot of Alpha and Beta cards although I think there were some of the Unlimited as well.

The biggest set was Alliances (about 1200 of those), all apparently commons (which I expected). And of course the hefty # of Alpha and Beta sets. I did run across a few odd ones. They were white bordered but had expansion symbols on them. Not a lot of those though. And some white bordered ones had 1994 or 1995 copywrites on them while others had just the copyright symbol and the artist's name.
 
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