menu

Insider: Across the Atlantic – European Fundamentals

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Hello readers, my name is Gervaise Pechler. Besides being a motivated Magic player, I am a passionate speculator, professional poker player and a Bachelor student in Business & Psychology. I became exposed to trading card games at the age of eight when Pokemon took over the world, following up with Dragonball Z, LOTR, .hack//enemy, Magic: the Gathering and even Pirates. I will be mainly discussing my speculation and trades here in Europe.

There is a lot of Insider information about how to capitalize on cards, which American index to use, which decks and new cards T8’ed in a SCG Open and what price changes occur in dollars. But the Magic world is so much more than that! TCGplayer and StarCityGames are two of the biggest in the USA, but incidentally pose high costs for EU residents due to import tax, currency costs and the longer waiting time to get the actual cards.

I'll be using this first article to introduce you to Europe and Magic Finance. This is largely my view on where to get, sell and trade cards, because Europe has large submarkets like Spain (with its Spanish cards), as well as Italy and Germany. Still, those countries produce, play, sell and buy English cards. I am most familiar with the UK and Benelux (Netherlands & Belgium) market. I am discovering other markets as we speak by traveling and meeting people who can guide me in the right direction.

In Europe, there is no big retailer like StarCityGames that covers the whole continent and organizes big tournaments every week. The stores that I consider "big" are present at PTQs, GPTs and other major tournaments. For example, in the UK, you have Manaleak.com and MagicMadHouse.co.uk, which also covers Northern-Ireland and Scotland. These sites are ideal to pick up under-appreciated cards during the PTQs and by using their buylists. I bought Etched Champions at £1 each, which is a good price for me to speculate on when the Modern Season is starting again.

Community based card exchanges

Most Dutch card websites are based on a community where you can also trade cards with other users. This is particularly great because there is a lot of casual demand, which boosts the prices of cards you probably want to get rid of, anyway.

A prime example would be on Nedermagic.com with Havengul Lich. It is not the cheapest shop but has the most traffic & stock in the country. Havengul Lich is selling for €8 with a buylist price of €3. Black Lotus Project, on the other hand, shows this as selling for $2.64. Getting this card cheap from other markets and trading or selling it away to this website makes me want to participate in ‘community’-based retail sites, since most players will memorize the price at €8, allowing me the uptrade that I want.

Another use of these sites is their up-to-date buylists. There is a bonus when you trade in cards for other cards and a "penalty" if you simply want cash. I can automatically uptrade if I want, because the buylist is huge.

To summarize, these sites are great to trade cards with other players, selling or trading in your cards with the vendor, and utilizing their up to date card prices to supply some underpriced cards from other markets.

Marketplaces

Another type of site I frequent is user-to-user marketplaces. The most famous one is eBay, which I used to use a lot back when I was living in the Netherlands. I bought cards from the US and Asia when the Euro was strong and, being very lucky, never had to pay for import tax.

Nowadays there is a European marketplace for Magic players called www.TCGmarket.eu where you can buy & sell Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, WoW & spoils. It charges a 5% flat fee on every sale you make and the interface is clear and accepts PayPal for instant payment. The downside with using PayPal is that they charge an uncapped fee. It is the classical time versus cost debate. I mostly use this website to search for old EDH cards, still undervalued Standard cards and for looking up if a seller is underpricing his collection so I can actually make a profit.

Let’s use Restoration Angel as an example, as it is a popular card:

US Prices

  • StarCityGames: $12.99 - Sold Out
  • BlackLotusProject: $8.71
  • TCGplayer.mid: $10.89

Europe

  • Manaleak.com (UK): £8 ($14.8)
  • Nedermagic.com (NL): €8.95 ($11) - Sold Out
  • TCGmarket.eu (EU): from €5.5 ($6.77)

Since TCGmarket merges a lot of sellers together, there are common priceshifts. The sellers who offer the lowest prices mostly only have a single copy for sale and are often non-English, non NM. The following screenshot brings one to the page of Restoration Angel on the website:

For example, when I want to buy the cheapest Restoration Angel, I tend to look at the seller's other singles to see if I can combine cheap singles with others to ease the shipping cost per card.

Another use of TCGmarket.eu is for when cards are preselling. Several big sellers are offering the cards in presale just like StarCityGames. The advantage the buyer gets is that there is fierce competition between those sellers, so the prices are attractive. At the same time, when a card gets hot during presale, one has to be quick. You can buy up to 16 or 32 copies from a single vendor, which makes it very convenient for me to use TCGmarket.eu over the traditional retail sites.

I tend to avoid sealed products on this website as one is charged with a €20 shipping cost at the very least. Although cheap (Italian Counterpunch sell at €30 while it is $60 & sold out at StarCityGames ), it generally requires multiple units to cover the shipping cost and, even then, I have to put a lot of effort into finding potential buyers to buy from me.

To summarize, user-to-user marketplaces like TCGmarket.eu are an ideal place to find real bargains for direct resell value or to make your trade binder look more enticing. I do not have a sellers account yet, but I tend to only put cards up that are worth selling, which should mostly be cards that I can get more for than if I would be selling it to a vendor directly.

Off the radar

There are also a lot of small internet stores. They are pretty hard to find and sometimes I wonder if they are still operating. If I happen to find one, I usually check if they have the newest set as well. If they have it, they should still be operating.

I primarily use these shops for pure value, which means picking through each set to find underpriced/outdated cards. These small shops are may not use buylists and when they do, they mostly give low price quotes. It is basically grinding through their stock and evaluating whether this Sliver Legion listed at $7.00 is worth more elsewhere.

I am looking to write some more about this as it is a new and exciting experience for me, but know I can improve the methodology.

Local Games Stores

Finally there is the LGS that I frequent. They have three weekly tournaments, which are on Tuesday (Draft), Thursday (Standard) and Friday (Sealed).

Draft and Standard evenings are less popular and filled with more regulars, who are not terribly fond of trading. When they trade, they just need something for their decks, which I frequently have. It's fine but not a goldmine.

The Friday Sealed event is packed with more casual players as Sealed is considered a steep entry price for most regular players. I typically attend in order to perform trades and establish new EDH connections.

The LGS itself has binders from Lorwyn and the famous ‘2 for 1 euro’-bulkbox. I've found the most interesting cards in these bulkboxes. For example, I've managed to find a foil Student of Warfare and Preeminent Captain.

I know some local game stores have set prices, but I feel these are not set in stone. One can negotiate heavily about the prices and, if all else fails, you can trade overpriced cards in for a free draft or for other cards that they undervalue.

As this is my first article for QS, I would like to have as much feedback as I can to improve my writing and cover topics of interest. I am open to any discussion where we both can learn from as I am continuously perfecting my craft in the Paper Magic world. Thank you for reading.

- Gerv

Avatar photo

Gervaise Pechler

My name is Gervaise Pechler, a 22 year old Business & Psychology student, avid trader & I love playing Magic. I like to combine Psychological, Business & Economical aspects in my writings

View More By Gervaise Pechler

Posted in Europe, Free InsiderTagged , ,

Have you joined the Quiet Speculation Discord?

If you haven't, you're leaving value on the table! Join our community of experts, enthusiasts, entertainers, and educators and enjoy exclusive podcasts, questions asked and answered, trades, sales, and everything else Discord has to offer.

Want to create content with Quiet Speculation?

All you need to succeed is a passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to write coherently. Share your knowledge of MTG and how you leverage it to win games, get value from your cards – or even turn a profit.

13 thoughts on “Insider: Across the Atlantic – European Fundamentals

  1. Nice to see some european love going on there 😉

    Small note on TCGMarket.eu which I use since quite a few years now. I would give the advice to list *anything* even or their lowest bare value (including mass of leftover uncommons or commons for 5 cents a piece). Looking at some sales history on this site, you can see people buying bulks of common/uncommon or store trying to refresh their inventory. I've calculated that on 100 euros I grab on TCGMarket, 30 are easily bulk trades of 20-40 leftovers per order. Basically, you can gain traction from some kind of long tail phenomenon there. TCGMarket is also very volatile when a card spike. When Grim Monolith was unbanned, I litterally saw stock being emptied real time to be relisted asap with price inflated.

    1. Thank you that is an interesting insight that I haven't considered! Currently I am in the ''new seller status'' which means customers mostly have to buy products from me with insurance. So I am only selling the sealed products at this moment.

      Do you think that card spike happened because of sales or that the vendors were deleting their current price/item & then relisted?

      1. If you send me a link to your TCGmarket.eu account, I will buy some of your items, so that you will get one step closer to rising above the "new seller status". (I am always happy to help out any new TCGmarket.eu users)

      2. Sure, you need to get out of the n00b status to make it a small profit.

        As for the spikes, it's clearly hasty relisting. I tried to buy japanese foil gush the day before the unban just for the gigs as they were cheap and not even thinking os the unban. On my 8 orders 7 were "canceled" cause, you knwo, "the card were misplaced". Now they do it premeptively by removing the items from inventory to relist later.

        Also, lemme buy some stuff from you to get out of your status :p

  2. Great article, Gerv! Great to have you writing for QS!

    Although I'm not in Europe, I still found this article interesting and helpful! I trade and sell with European players frequently, and it's very useful to see where they are coming from on a particular card's price.

    For example, I once tried to sell a Restoration Angel to someone in Austria for $9 or so, and I was promptly told they were available for much less in Europe. I wonder if there is any way to use these price discrepancies in some sort of arbitrage trading?

  3. Because somebody mentioned putting low-value cards on MKM, like c/uc for a couple of cents each, let me add that this is something many casual sellers have been burned on before. The thing is that their system doesn't calculate the fee the way that most people think it does.

    Many people think that the flat 5% fee is calculated from the total of the order, but actually, it is calculated per card and rounded up (!) to the next full cent. That means that for every single card worth 20 cents or less, you're paying a 1 cent fee when you manage to sell it. If you sell a card for 5 cents, that's 20%, if you sell for 2 cents, that's a 50%(!) cut.

    So yeah, selling bulk as singles on MKM doesn't really work the way people want it to. Anything worth less than 20 cents, you're simply better of cashing out to a dealer, imo.

    1. Oh gee I didn't even realized that. The rake ( as poker players call it ) is then even more unbearable! I also noticed that eBay pays relatively more for the undervalued cards even though the Irish ebay charges 10c + 8% but the Dutch one charges only 5%..

  4. Great article, hope more will be coming!

    I've even had good luck with stores that seem to have been outdated years ago. But yeah, it seems like a gamble each and every time. Even bought singles from some weird charity shop. Unfortunately their €140 Alpha Bayou was gone before I received my first order (to confirm that they were actually legit), but they had lots of other stuff that was way underpriced. Even their bulk lots were good, nothing amazing, but you only need to pull out so many hymns and tides before it starts to become worth your time. I figure that if somebody is still paying for a domain name and hosting they are likely still around. If I have doubts I'll send them an e-mail before ordering.

    I've happily used high buylist prices on Nedermagic myself. Being located close to him I can generally go by in person and even negotiate a little. As far as negotiating with traders through messages is concerned, most I've run into seem decent enough and sticking with whatever they are indicating on their own page. I do tend to wind up trading with the more experienced people on there as I'm just not looking for recent cards that often and I stay away form small deals as they are just not worth shipping costs.

    1. The methodology you do concerning ''outdated'' stores is exactly the way I do. So far it works and I am looking to write some more about this as I have encountered some risks attached to it.

      I think Michiel/Nedermagic recently lowered his buylist in this time of year of some cards. Some were obvious (Snapcaster from 15 -> 10) though. I think I trap myself picking up undervalued cards that are overvalued at Nedermagic

      Thanks for the kind words1

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.


Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.