How many cards can you fit in a shipping box?
How much does 1000 Magic cards weigh?
How can I measure my collection without a ruler or scale?
Folks, today we're answering those questions and more! This enterprising author busted out his scale, his ruler and his massive collection of junk cards to bring you the dimensions and measurements that you need to know if you are going to buy and sell Magic collections.
Counting Magic cards is time-consuming. You can go through them, one by one, or count up a stack of a hundred or so and replicate that with other stacks until you get a rough guess. That takes too much time for me and it is very imprecise! As a result, I developed a table of useful measurements that will get your collection measured up and counted.
How Much Do Magic Cards Weigh?
The best way to get a collection quantified is to weigh it. If you have a kitchen scale, this is a great use for it. If you lack one, get one because they are inexpensive. Alternately, if you have friends who enjoy recreational pharmacological adventures, they likely have their own scale that you can use. I counted up a thousand Magic cards and put them on the scale. Here is what it looked like:
So your first metric is that one thousand cards weighs 1775 grams. By the way, in my research for this, Kelly Digges at mtg.com did his own mathematics with a postal scale, and when I calculated out his result, he had 1816 grams. I explain the discrepancy with the following: his scale weighed in ounces, mine in grams. At these weights, grams are more precise than ounces on a scale. If you really have the time, you can weigh your own and see how it matches up. I did another test and came up with 1768 when I moved the scale from my table to my (carpeted) floor. I suggest you measure on something hard, ideally resting on concrete. In any case, a Magic card weighs around 1.8 grams, rounding up, so you can see that the discrepancy is only about four cards' worth here or there.
Well, you say, grams are great if you live in Germany or South Africa or of the over 180 countries that use the metric system, but what if you're in the U-S-freakin'-A and want to measure up those cards? Simple math and knowing that there are 454 grams in a pound results in one pound of magic cards containing about 257 cards. I warn you that a bathroom scale cannot accurately measure one pound, but it can measure several pounds with a little bit of accuracy. At 257 to a pound, one thousand magic cards weighs roughly 3.9 lbs, and you can figure that three thousand will weigh just about twelve pounds. For a really easy way to measure this, get on your bathroom scale, weigh yourself (and grimace) and then hold near-weightless plastic grocery bag full of the cards. Deduct that weight from your original and you can get a good idea of how many thousand cards you are looking at.
But, you say, I lack a scale! How can I quantify my cards! You can measure them!
How Tall Is a Stack of One Thousand Magic Cards?
One thousand magic cards is approximately 12.5" tall, or 31.56 centimeters.
You don't have a ruler? Get out a dollar bill!
A dollar bill is 6.14 inches long. I counted up that stack of cards, and found that a dollar bill is as long as 494 magic cards. You can round that up to 500 and easily count the number of cards in a stack of Magic cards. By the way, that stack weighed 878 grams, if you were interested.
How much does it cost to ship a Magic card collection?
Now that we know the dimensions of a thousand cards, let's work out how many we can cram into a post office mailer!
A medium post office flat-rate box costs $10.70 at the time of writing. Its dimensions are easy - 8.5 x 11 x 5.5 inches. That is, as large as a piece of paper and 5.5 inches deep. I took a sheet of paper and arranged magic cards on it to see how many I could fit into that dimension. I found that if you do two rows of three and one row of four, you can get ten cards on, representing ten stacks of cards. It's best to do it yourself and see how it works out. 5.5 inches translates mathematically into 437 cards per stack. Ten stacks means that you can fit 4,370 cards in one of those boxes. That pile of cards weighs 17.1 pounds!
I took that same figure of 17 pounds and ran it through the postal rate calculator on the Post Office website and found that, on average, to send the same box would cost about $22 - we save $11.30 when we are shipping flat-rate. These figures represent the cost to ship an absolutely packed box, though, so you have a little work ahead of you if you want to ship shy of four thousand cards. Shipping in the small box means you can fit in about 550 cards with wiggle room. That weighs 2.2lbs. A box costs $4.95 and that same weight would cost, on average, $6.50 to ship.
Conclusion: ship in flat rate boxes if you possibly can.
Easy Magic Dimensions Tables
1 magic card weighs 1.775 grams.
1000 magic cards weighs 1775 grams, or 3.9 lbs.
1000 magic cards is 12.56 inches tall, or 31.56cm.
A dollar bill is as long as a stack of 494 cards.
You're wondering about whether a card is worth its weight in gold, right? Of course. A magic card, made of gold, would cost you approximately $72 dollars. So that Jace, the Mind Sculptor really is worth his weight in gold.