Over the past few weeks, I've gone over how to start trading and the techniques involved in conducting a trade. Now we'll begin to jump into the business side of it, actually making a profit off of your trades. You might be saying, “Well I don't want to sell my cards I just want to trade until I have everything.” That's all fine and dandy but if you actually want to see a return on your time invested than this is a good starting point.
My number one rule is to study every buylist you come across and by every buylist, I mean search every website you can find, see what they are buying certain cards at and compare them. Find out which websites are buying up commons and uncommons abnormally high. Write down the 1-2$ rares that are being bought and pick as many as you can up at a FNM. By doing this you are able to make some profit while still keeping your binder and good stock intact. This is how I make the bulk of my money off of Magic, by selling the little things and finding out the casual cards that sell high to specific buyers. It isn't about the big money cards all of the time, sometimes taking a stack of dollar rares in a trade can net you more cash than that single card would.
Now, if you are wondering which cards are good to sell and which you should hold onto as trade fodder, you need not worry. It all depends on how you want to go about it, but I like to keep the bigger cards that trade a lot in my binders and sell off the little things. By doing this I always have on me what people want and sell what they don't want. Take Mind Funeral, for example. It's a simple uncommon that was in a set drafted a ton and are just sitting in storage. I knew people who had stacks of these from opening boxes. By scouring the internet buylists, I found a website that was buying them up at $1.50 each. I immediately went and wrote it down in my notepad and kept in mind to ask for them as throw ins to make up gaps in trades, asking them at .25 each. After a week I had about $20 worth of Mind Funerals! Simple observation can save you having to toss in a big rare or multiples of $5 rares to a dealer to make a little money back; uncommons and commons fill that void nicely.
If you want to go the other route and cash in on big money rares every once and awhile, you have pay very close attention to the tournament scene and the Twitter feed. The information and inside word that comes across those channels can make you a lot of money in a very short time. The easy part is figuring out what to pick up and the actual process of getting those cards, the hard part is when and where to dump them. I love local game stores and I play at mine regularly, but unfortunately, the buy prices are just too low to make a reasonable amount back on investment and most of the time they are only looking for certain cards. Instead, I choose to dump my cards off at larger events such as PTQs or GPs because not only are the prices better, but sometimes a card suddenly spikes because it is seeing a large demand throughout the tournament crowd. Now when to do it can be tricky - take, for example, the State and Provincial Championships that had just passed. Channel Fireball was running a booth here in Las Vegas and on their list I saw they were buying Jace, the Mind Sculptor at 50$ cash. I knew that was way too low of a price for him because I felt that he hadn't hit his peak yet at that point, yet I was asked by many of my friends whether or not they should sell theirs. I told them all not to and I realized at that point that a regular player who only just buys their packs and pays their entry fee will see that price and think that it would be a good idea to sell as it is higher than their local shop will pay. Some followed my advice and still have theirs but some didn't and are now kicking the dirt when they see CFB are now offering 70$. The point is, don't pull the trigger unless you are absolutely sure that it is the highest price you could get for that particular card.
Under these rules I have gained an immense amount of knowledge of the buy prices of various cards and have been able to capitalize on that. Keep these techniques in mind when wanting to see a little bit of green on the other side of the trade and you will come out on top. Remember to look at every list possible, write down where you saw certain prices, and come back to them later. Even though the tournament scene will dictate price spikes in certain cards there are many other ways to grind out the trades and make some profit. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave comments. I'll leave you guys with a few secret cards I use to make a good chunk of cash to get you started.
Lord of the Undead – A big surprise to me when I found a website buying them at 5$ cash.
Felidar Sovereign – Seen it at 3.50$ and can pick them up as low as 1-2$
Immaculate Magistrate – Another card seen as high as 3.50$ on some lists and can be found in bulk boxes.
- James Trentini
@jtrentini on Twitter