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Selling Your Binder

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Welcome back to the Revenue Review, where this week I hope to shed some light on the process of selling off some of your stock.

I figured the best way to walk you through this topic was to clean out some of my own stock, something I’m overdue for. My girlfriend and I got a pretty sweet Black Friday deal for a TV (42 inches, $400 for a name-brand plasma set), which dovetailed nicely with my decision to sale some cards. My goal when I set out thumbing through my binder was to sell enough to pay for my half of the TV, something I should be able to do.

Cleaning out your binder


The first step I took was going through my binder and pulling out everything I knew I could sell off for a decent price, such as my extra Vengevine and Aether Vial. Then I pulled out cards I have tons of extras of that are a little higher than bulk rares, such as Oran-Rief, the Vastwood and Devastating Summons. I also grabbed cards like Grim Monolith that I’m unlikely to be able to trade off in my area.
I left a number of cards in my binder. For starters, I decided to keep my bulk, because I don’t have enough to justify shipping it off. If I’m going to sell cards in bulk, I’m going to do so in person rather than mail it off. The shipping costs on the bulk makes it rather unappealing, regardless of whatever small profit I could make. Keeping those cards in my binder gives me some opportunity to trade back up, as I talked about last week.

Where to sell


The next question I faced was where to sell off my cards. First of all, I consulted this website. Looking over the Nutt Draw by Chris McNutt gave me a great place to start. Once I realized that I was going to be using Ebay for a number of my cards, this article by Doug Linn was pretty useful while setting up my sales.

One of the first major decisions I made was to choose one buylist to sell to rather than spread my cards around. Even though I inevitably lose some profit this way, I did this for convenience. It can become pretty convoluted to sell to three or four buylists and keeps track of all of that on top of Ebay sells. I chose Star City Games as my buylist of choice because it was simple and easy, as well as being a reputable source. I don’t have enough experience with other buylists to compare, but you’ll be fine as long as you choose a reputable store.

My (awesome) girlfriend happens to be a whiz with Excel spreadsheets, so she started a list comparing Ebay and Star City prices as we chose which source to sell individual cards to. We compared prices and divided the cards into piles as we made each decision. I chose to sell a number of cards to Star City even though I could fetch marginally higher prices on Ebay because there’s other costs associated with Ebay, such as Ebay fees, shipping fees and, most importantly to me, my time. With finals coming up in a few weeks in addition to my usual hectic life, convenience was a big factor for me. With all that in mind, I decided to Ebay only those cards that I either couldn’t sell to Star City or that represented a large difference in profit.

Here’s the sheets showing the cards I decided to move and the prices we estimated for them, based on completed sales.

Card                                                  Ebay Price

Oran Rief, the Vastwood 4x      $4
Promo Krosan Grip 2x                  $5.50
Indomitable Archangel                $1.50
Devastating Summons 4x           $0.99
Thornling                                        $2.00
Survival of the Fittest                  $35.00
Ball Lightning 4X                        $4.50
Consuming Vapors 4X               $8.00
Eldrazi Monument 4X                $61
Cunning Wish 1X                        $4
Stoneforge Mysticp 4X                  $30
Tinker 1X                                        $4
Gideon Jura 2X                             $30
Frost Titan 1X                               $14
Avenger of Zendikar 1X              $7
Sensei's Divining Top 1X            $4.50
Misdirection                                  $10
Vengevine                                      $26
Grim Monolith                             $9
Aether Vial 2X                              $15
Steel Overseer 4X                         $7.00
Total $283

Card Name                     SCG Buy Price      Number of Cards       Total $
Grim Monolith                       $8.00                               1                                           $8.00
Sensei's Diving Top            $3.00                               1                                           $3.00
Ball Lightning                       $1.00                                4                                          $4.00
Goblin Guide (FOIL)           $8.00                                1                                          $8.00
Awakening Zone                  $0.50                                 1                                          $0.50
Consuming Vapors              $2.00                                4                                          $8.00
Elvish Piper                           $1.00                                 1                                          $1.00
Elvish Champion (Ninth Edition) $0.75                  1                                          $0.75
Avenger of Zendikar           $6.00                                 1                                          $6.00
Warren Instigator               $1.00                                 2                                          $2.00
Cunning Wish                     $2.00                                  1                                          $2.00
Frost Titan                            $12.50                                1                                          $12.50
Grove of the Burnwillows $0.50                                 1                                         $0.50
Blood Crypt                           $4.00                                  1                                          $4.00
Trinisphere                          $0.50                                  1                                          $0.50
Nevinyrral's Disk, 4th Edition $2.00                        1                                          $2.00
Boseiju, Who Shelters All $0.50                                1                                          $0.50
Total $63

Factoring in Ebay fees, we estimated I can make at least $240 from my Ebay sells, and with the $60 from my Star City sales, I’ll easily cover my half of the TV, and have a bit to pocket after that.
Since I’m selling off relatively few cards, I still have a solid collection to work from. It’s nice to see the money I’m making here because it’s a direct reflection of months of solid trading. I have a few cards in particular I want to touch on.

Frost Titan
This card may not have actually peaked, but I think it’s pretty close to it. I have no problem unloading this now, because I don’t think it has much farther up to go. The metagame is likely to shift as people find ways to answer the Titan. He is powerful, yes, but he only locks down one card at a time. I’m not saying it’s definitely time to sell Frost Titan but it’s way past buy time.

Grim Monolith
This card has done nothing but come down in price since its unbanning, so I’m getting rid of the one I picked up now. It’s possible this card gets broken and I regret it, but it seems rather unlikely.

Steel Overseer
Much like Eye of Ugin, speculation on the Overseer did more for its price than the cards it was designed to work with. No reason to hold on to these anymore, so it’s an easy sell.

Survival of the Fittest
Doug Linn wrote an excellent article on this a few weeks back about whether it’s worth holding on to your Survivals right now, and I’m of the opinion it’s time to let go. The downside on this card massively outweighs the upside right now. Basically, If it gets banned, you’re screwed. If it’s not, there’s not much higher it can climb. I listed mine on Ebay and set it to expire tonight, so I’ll beat the Dec. 2 banlist update.

Eldrazi Monument
I’m not about to miss an “I told you so” moment, and this is it. Monument has risen steadily since I wrote about picking them up more than a month ago. Now’s a pretty good time to cash out, because the Monument is holding steady at its current price while seeing play in a Tier 1 deck (Elves).

Tips for selling cards


- When in doubt – do it. Cash in hand is better than cards in binders. It’s easy to develop an emotional connection to your collection and be hesitant to sell it off, but you will almost always be better served doing it.
- Know your underrepresented cards – Elvish Piper and Elvish Champion are cards it’s very easy to classify as bulk if you don’t know better. Make sure to check buylists for all your cards before bulking them out.
- Choose only a few outlets to sell your cards. Grinding out every possible penny is great, but unless you have tons of time on your hands it’s probably a more efficient use of your time to use just two or three outlets for your cards.
- Bulk in person. You will lose a ton of potential profit if you try to ship out bulked cards, especially as your number grows. Bulk prices don’t change, so just hold onto them and sell them off at your next PTQ or Grand Prix.

Since an important part of cleaning out your binder is having the ability to rebuild it, I made it out to my first Scars draft Saturday night (working on Fridays sucks). At least, I thought I did. If you don’t know, I live in Oklahoma, and Saturday was the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game, otherwise known as Bedlam. Bedlam pretty much trumps everything but Christmas in this state, so only six people showed up to the event. We weren’t able to draft (so I’m still a Scars draft virgin), but I did get in a trade with an EDH enthusiast before everyone cleared out to watch the game (Go Pokes!).

His: Eldrazi Monument ($18)
Isochron Scepter ($6)
Wanderwine Hub ($2.50)
Scion of Oona ($3.50)
Glen Elendra Archmage ($4)
Bloodghast ($6)
Total: $40

Mine: Oracle of Mul Daya ($3)
Primal Command ($1.50)
Foil Stalking Vengeance ($2)
Fire-Lit Thicket ($4)
Dread Return ($1)
Total: $11.50
Net: $28.50

My partner actually priced this all out on Star City as we were making the trade. I told him I valued the filter land at $8, because of the fact Jund is the real deal in Extended, which I think is true. He threw a lot of it in because he really wanted the cards for EDH, including the foil Stalking Vengeance, which I’m pretty sure is literally the first rare I ever opened. Nonetheless, it’s a good trade to start rebuilding my binder.

That wraps up this week’s column, as well as my series on building, organizing, and selling your binder. I hope you found this series useful. I’ll make sure to touch on this again in a few weeks with an update on how much I ended up making from the sells. Come back next week, when I’ll check in with an update to Extended and the cards to pick up now. I’ve been doing a good amount of testing and brewing with the format, and I have some solid tips heading into the season. I'll give you a hint - The boogeyman is back (and it's not Faeries).

Until then,
Corbin Hosler
@Chosler88 on Twitter

25 thoughts on “Selling Your Binder

  1. Are we sure when that ban list is comming out? With the notable exception to the changes regarding extended ban lists have been published on the 20th for the last two years.

    I agree on selling Survival even if it doesn't get banned, because I think the hype is built in. The loss potential Doug Linn talked about is greater even if it doesn't get banned. Plus if you're decently quick on the draw you can buy them back before they go higher.

  2. If you want, I'll give you $26 for the Vengevine right now; I need it to trade to someone else. My AIM is ThaGunslingaMOTL, or you could email me at crimpedmiscut at gmail dot com.

  3. @the_cardfather You may be right. I had heard Dec. 2 somewhere and got it stuck it in my head. Either way, I sold the Survival yesterday for $37, so I'm happy. I hope to write an article in a few weeks detailing all my completed sells and updating the story.

    @Ben I appreciate the thought, but surely you don't think me that poor a trader. BlackLotusProject, which provides our excellent ticker at the top, tracks completed Ebay sells, where the average selling price of a Vengevine is currently $32.32.

  4. When valuing trades, it would be interesting if you listed the SCG Buy List price, instead of their Sell price. While Sell prices do offer a level of equivalancy to both sides of a trade, the Buy price puts in no uncertain terms specifically how much you could monetize a trade for, and know precisely the cash-in-hand advantage you generated via the trade.

    It may not be feasible, as not every single card is on SCG's buy list, but it would be an interesting metric to establish your gain in value, to contrast to the subjective value gained as determined by Ben Bleiweiss's clarvoyant, yet still arbitrary, pricing.

  5. @Lackey It's an interesting thought, and it would be pretty cool, though many cards aren't on the list. But I'll look into it for sure.

    @Ben

    Good catch. My girlfriend originally pulled prices from Ebay, and I went over them afterward to double check. Guess I missed that one. Thanks! And the sarcasm from my first reply was meant humorously, not negatively. I would have made the same offer you did had I noticed the discrepancy. Good work!

    1. I took a moment to figure it out:

      SCG Buy List prices for the cards in your trade:

      His:

      Eldrazi Monument $10

      Isochron Scepter $2

      Wanderwine Hub $0.25

      Scion of Oona $0.50

      Glen Elendra Archmage $1

      Bloodghast $2

      Net SCG buylist price: $15.75

      Your:

      Oracle of Mul Daya $1

      Primal Command $0.25

      Foil Stalking Vengeance $0.25

      Fire-lit Thicket $1

      Dread Return $0.10

      Net SCG buylist price: $2.60

      For your original numbers of the SCG Singles purchase price, the total value gain you listed of $28 ($40 in total value) is a 348% increase over the $11.50 value you traded away.

      However, the realized sell value to SCG is a net gain of $13.15 ($15.75 in value is a 606% increase over the $2.60 in value you traded away).

      While the raw amount of money you'd be able to realize from this trade, the PERCENT VALUE of the trade is much, much greater than you thought.

      Again, just another interesting metric, but in this case, it can be instantly monetized. If you do a high enough volume of trades, you make out roughly twice as well as you had first thought!

    2. My numbers are slightly off.

      Your $28 singles value gain represents a 248% gain

      A $13.15 buylist value gain represents a 505% gain.

      Even so, it still indicates a roughly double the realized value gain over singles value gain, in raw percentages.

  6. @Lackey

    Yes, that does make it seem quite a bit better. When I trade, I try to keep in mind sell prices rather than just buy prices. For instance, the Elvish Piper and Elvish Champion I sold were likely throw-ins to a trade because my partner didn't realize they sold for non-bulk prices and valued them at bulk. It's something to keep in mind while trading.

    Obviously this trade looks better on sell prices than retail prices (and I imagine most of mine do), but I'm sure if we looked at a large enough sample size some of my trades would look worse as well.

  7. I liked this article!

    One of the things we're working on here at QS is how to price cards in articles. I love Black Lotus Project but I have heard rumors that their info is choppy at points and inaccurate because MOTL has some glitches to it. Using just about any store's sell prices is kinda crazy, too. Input is welcome!

  8. For trade pricing, I think this would be useful:

    1. List what pricing source was used. If both people just used their own values, state so.

    2. List the prices the cards were valued at.

    3. Optional: List prices for the cards from a site such as MOTL. The prices people use vary because their system of arbitration will be different. for myself, MOTL and Ebay prices are best because I get my cards from both of those sources regularly.

    EXAMPLE:

    My trading partner agreed to use SCG prices.

    His:

    SCG: Card: MOTL:

    3.99 Reveillark 2.84

    4.99 Murmuring bosk 3.99

    3.99 Ranger of Eos 2.64

    =12.97 =9.47

    My

    SCG: Card: MOTL:

    1.99 Sunpetal Grove x5 .74

    1.49 Goblin Chieftain x2 .64

    =12.93 =5.54

    This shows that according to SCG, both partners received equal value and nobody was ripped off. But since you can pick up these cards on MOTL, you made about $4 using arbitration. Not only that, but the cards you picked up are more likely to go up in value than the ones you traded away.

  9. Interesting article. I don't know about your trade at the end. Sure you made profit, but you essentially rip the guy off. I don't like the way you went about it.

  10. As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Z above. I don't understand how your partner could have been pricing the cards using SCG and still end up with that trade. He literally ended up with $8 while you made out with $31. I would have def thrown in a few bilk EDH playables if that's what he was after to even this one out. A free Akromas Vengeance (worth $1) and a Genesis Wave ($2) after the fact would have gone a long way to having a repeat trade partner IMHO. ESPECIALLY if he didn;t ask for them, and you hooked him up with those decent (cheap) playables. It still doesn't come close to evening up the deal cash-wise, but a lot of players in my area value those kinds of cards high since they are basically EDH staples. A little goodwill goes a long way IMHO, and losing $3 to make (after additions) $20 seems more than fair ($11 vs $31 = 281% profit).

    Aside from that, I really liked this article! Great place to start when you're trying to get max cred out of your binder. I'm about to do a major sale of my collection and I'll be sure to use some of the tricks I've learned here when I do ;).

    Cheers,

    Carl Szalich

  11. @Z

    I'll walk through what happened in this trade to demonstrate why I don't consider that I "ripped" anyone off.

    He pulled out some of my cards, and I pulled out a bunch of his. I had to take a phone call (small emergencies at home and all), and he started pricing out cards. He lined up what he wanted and I told him I could trade everything but the Cryptic Command because I thought its price would go up soon (it will).

    I told him I valued the Thicket at $8, which he agreed to. After that, he literally set this trade up himself, with no pressure from me.

    You are right I could have (and probably should have) thrown something else in, but it's just another example of how a player of a certain type (in this case, EDH) cares much less about value than he does getting the cards he wants.

    So a player checks prices on the cards and sets the trade up himself, and I'm somehow ripping him off? I just don't understand this logic. In retrospect, I could have tossed in some extras to sweeten the deal for him, but he was happy with what we had. Either way, I'm certainly not acting unethical in this situation.

    Hope that clears it up for you.

    @Psilence6k

    ^^ Hope this assuaged your concerns as well. I don't know if you read my past work, but a common theme of mine is basically what you described, that how you trade is much more important than what you trade. I'm Glad you enjoyed the article!

  12. Corbin: I read all your work, that's why I was a little surprised at that particular trade… it seemed out of character for you! lol 😛

    One other thing I do feel worth mentioning in your reply however, is that it seems as though you've typecast certain traders. It's an excellent mindset to target cards you feel they'd be interested in, but value = value = value. I'm also an EDH player, but a $14 Mutavault is still worth $14 to me, regardless of my preferred format. Just wanted to throw that out there in case we were rationalizing as an "excuse", heh.

    Speaking of EDH… I think SOMEONE should write an article (*hint hint Corbin*)! With WotC now "quasi-supporting" it, I REALLY think it's going to start shaking up the MTG market!!

  13. I can understand getting a good deal out of a trade, it just seemed like the deal was too much in your favor. Seeing now that the other guy deciced the prices, I guess its fine. The part about your friend was kind of irrelevant then and changes the story.

    1. Since you gave advice, here are mine for you.

      From my experience:

      1. Artifacts are important. Usually when it comes down to a color card vs an artifact, it is usually best to take the artifact.

      2. Mana myrs are key. This one is debatable, but a lot great players support taking myrs early and going from there. They allow for metacraft and mana fix.

      3. Two main archtypes : metacraft and infect.

      metacraft: r/w most common, usually 15-17 artifacts needed

      infect: fast and aggressive, suggest only playing the archtype if you open a rare.

      4. Going off from advice #1, artifact removal is very good. I have seen people taking shatter pick one to show how good it is.

      5. Hope to open a bomb, this is always the case in draft, but scars can be swingy. Hope to open Contagion Engine.

      1. Thanks! I appreciate the tips. I do have a little better understanding of the format than I like let on, especially when I show up tonight for the first time in two months. I've watched/read a ton of Scars drafts online, so I think I feel pretty comfortable even if I've never drafted it.

        We'll see, of course, and I'll post the results from tonight.

        I think I'm going to avoid the gimmick decks (Celebration, Proliferate, etc.) and try to stick to a Metalcraft or Big Dudes strategy. I usually always end up drafting Blue/White (just can't help it) and I know LSV has been advocating going Blue fliers/no metalcraft, which I'm happy to draft. And R/G Dinosaurs seems fun.

  14. Went 3-1 at FNM. First-picked Argentum Armor and was clearly red and nothing else after Pack 1. Got a third pick True Conviction and Fourth Pick Arrest in pack 2. Ended up with a pretty bomb-laden R/W Metalcraft deck that had relatively few metalcraft cards, but was a ton of just good stuff while having 17 artifacts.

    Lost Games 2 and 3 of my first round to a few smaller misplays on my part, as well as some nice draws by him (in one sequence, Wurmcoil Engine, Arc Trail, Galvanic Blast in order). Still, if I play optimally, I probably pull one of those games out. Didn't lose another game the entire night. I liked the format, ready to play again!

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