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Dream Cache – Pruning the Collection

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It's that time of year again, when I go through my stack of cards and pull out ones that I just need to get rid of. Some come from price enforcing local stores and I have not come around to selling them for a small profit. Others, cards I have held onto for a long time and I do not need anymore. This week, I'll take you through the modest stack and how I am disposing of the cards. My goal is to turn the cards into raw cash; it's time for more Magic investing, buying beermaking supplies and getting some new fall fashion. I would trade them, but honestly, my glory days of trading are long gone because I was never an opportunity trader, just someone out to get what I needed for my decks. That said, here we go!

Mind Over Matter

The ship has sailed on MoM for me; it will do nothing significant with Temple Bell and I have two that I no longer need. I picked them up from the local store at $2 each last month. No lies, that was a steal then and it still is now. Checking Ebay, the card tends to sell for $5 shipped.

First, I would like to use Buy It Now (BIN) on these. There are many BIN copies online and MoM cannot generate the hype of bidding wars that other magic cards can. Similarly, people are unlikely to need two copies; many people are after either one or four. I cannot generate the bidding war for a duo of cards in a way that I could if I had a whole set. I could sell these individually, but I want to get rid of both of them at the same time to save on time and shipping hassles.

End Result: Listed on Ebay, 8.95 BIN with $1 shipping.

Survival of the Fittest

I told you why Survival was a good bet recently, and I still think it is. I have my set of four for play and they are likely to keep their great price tag (and to think, I was going to sell them for $9 awhile ago!). I price enforced a pristine one at $20 recently; as they go for around $23 on Ebay, I can make at least a few bucks from the card for just holding it and reselling it. You'll note that I am not being greedy and trying to get a lot of cash here; if I can clear $3 at the end of the day with this card, I'll be happy. I have only put in about a minute of my time on it by the time I resell it, which works out to a great wage per hour!

Why am I not holding this card? I would love to, especially if SOTF climbs. However, that is a long-term wager. If it stays at $23 forever, the best time to sell it is today, if you remember back to my article on the time value of money. I sunk $20 into the SOTF, and I'd like that money back so I can turn it into barley and pants! I'm putting it up on BIN on Ebay, and I've done my homework. Auctions usually close for about $22, so I can go for a modest premium here. The cheapest on Ebay right now is $23. I expect that will go quickly, so I don't need to undercut that person. I will list mine at $23.75 (and get some back-end profit with a $2 shipping fee).

End result: Listed on Ebay, BIN $23.75 with $2 shipping

(Update: check the feedback comments for my final result on this one!)

Sneak Attack

Thanks to Sneak Attack's awesome interactions with Eldrazi, as well as its recent success at GP: Columbus, the card is in demand. I cleared a set of mine awhile ago for a $16 profit, and I'd like to see what I can get for these. The problem? They are foreign, and not the wacky strange characters foreign! We're talking French, Italian, Portuguese here. Some people, like me, love those kinds of cards, but a lot of people want English, a lot want Asian of some flavor, but few want Euro cards. I opted against taking a picture of them, since it would look no different from English ones at a distance. I made it very clear in my auction that these were foreign and I knew which languages I was talking about, too. One EN set recently sold for $80, and the only set on right now is $110. I could try to compete with that $110 price, but someone will click on “Completed Listings” and see a Japanese set recently went for that. If it were me, I would say “heck, I could easily get Japanese cards for that price!” and walk away from it.

The conclusion I reached was to put these guys up for auction. They are a little weird, which is good, and they are highly desirable. I would like to turn a $9 profit on each of these cards, which would go a long way to moving inventory and buying more goodies.

End result: Auction Listed on Ebay

Bulk Clearouts

I picked up a lot of these cards out of dollar boxes, and I need to turn them into those $2.50 sales that are my bread and butter. For example, I have two great-looking Fluctuators. They enable fun combo decks and people like the artifact. However, nobody new seems to know about them! How they would power up your Living Death decks, guys! I checked Ebay, and absolutely zero have sold recently. This is a cold, dead card. I need to sell it off to a store.

Similarly, I have two Hatreds. Hatred goes for a little bit on Ebay; this is a tough call. If I go through Ebay, I lose at least 9% of what I would make and I have to compare that number to store buylists. On the auction site, these usually get $2,50, which is what stores buy them at. Since I don't take that 9% hit, I would rather sell them to a store, especially if that's where my Fluctuators will go.

The same story goes for that Shallow Grave, the Cold-Eyed Selkie and my Squirrel Nest. I have a Buried Alive, but maybe I'll hold onto that for EDH purposes... it's a little mangled anyway!

End Result: Sold to store buylists

Force of Will and The Abyss

I wanted to point out two cards that I did not clear out. I have a fifth Force of Will that I got recently, but I do not want to clear out the spare just yet. Force of Will is to a Magic collection what eggs are in a refrigerator: you can make a lot of good things happen with them that are impossible otherwise. Since I have a fifth, I would just get rid of my shabbiest-looking copy to minorly trade up. I could easily clear $30 on the card, but I am not yet ready to move it out... maybe next week.

I also have an Italian The Abyss. Though it hasn't seen the love that Moat has gotten, The Abyss is still plenty powerful. I got mine at $40 and it has since climbed a few dollars. I have occasionally used it in Legacy decks, and it is currently parked in my EDH for griefing purposes. The price that it sits at currently is with zero play; with any action, I could see it picking up. Like the Force of Will, I am probably a little emotionally attached to it at the moment and I need to find good reasons (good prices) for me to get rid of them.

End Result: Hold

I have set those Sneak Attacks to go up at 10:10 on Tuesday night, so the most people get to see them and bid on them in the final hours. They are where I am really staking my profit, so we'll see if I cover bases or hit a home run here. As a side note, I also put up for auction a pair of A.P.C. New Cure jeans (French, designer, etc.) that I don't wear anymore because I am done with skinny jeans. We'll see how they compete with my Magic cards – I think I'll get a good lesson in resale value in this experiment!

Douglas Linn

Doug Linn has been playing Magic since 1996 and has had a keen interest in Legacy and Modern. By keeping up closely with emerging trends in the field, Doug is able to predict what cards to buy and when to sell them for a substantial profit. Since the Eternal market follows a routine boom-bust cycle, the time to buy and sell short-term speculative investments is often a narrow window. Because Eternal cards often spike in value once people know why they are good, it is essential for a trader to be connected to the format to get great buys before anyone else. Outside of Magic, Doug is an attorney in the state of Ohio.  Doug is a founding member of Quiet Speculation, and brings with him a tremendous amount of business savvy.

View More By Douglas Linn

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6 thoughts on “Dream Cache – Pruning the Collection

  1. i traded a set of Survivals in store for 25 each. the guy was bulking off his extra shit (hi Frank! ) and he needed a set of Survivals, so we just did a swap everyone wins.. i also made money on Sneax a while ago. bought in at 10, out at 16.

  2. Selling the SotF at BIN for $23.75 + $2 shipping seems like a razor thin margin, after eBay and paypal fees are added in. You lose $0.50 for listing it BIN, you lose $12% for the sale to eBay, and if you are a preferred Paypal account holder, you lose 2.9% + $0.29 for processing on that end, plus the actual cost of shipping: $0.44 for a stamp, $0.10 for envelope/sleeve.

    $25.75 – $0.50 – $2.85 – $0.75 – $0.29 – $0.44 – $0.10 = $20.82

    Net result: $0.82 profit. How could this have been anything but a HOLD for you?

  3. Lackey, on further review, you're right. I pulled down that auction (it hadn't gone public yet) and I am rethinking what to list it at, or whether I want to hold. I'm also checking buylists, but I don't think they'll beat Ebay. This is why I love comments on these articles, I often get a chance to learn, just like you do! : )

  4. What do you mean when you say you price enforced a card? I know what it means in something like fantasy baseball, but that definition doesn't make any sense in the context of buying singles at a shop.

    Also it makes me giggle that you're selling a pair of APCs. I can't imagine there being too many Magic players who also know what raw selvage means, haha.

  5. Lenexa, in this context, it means "if you sell it for less than it's worth, I will buy it from you and sell it for its real price."

    Also, nice to meet another denimhead : ) I am stuck hard on my Nudie Slim Jims at the moment, contemplating another raw selvage purchase though and open to suggestions…

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