Welcome back readers! Today's article will be focused on looking at sealed product (something my friend Sigmund loves to invest in). What we want to look at is not only the current value of said product, but also to compare that with the sum of the cards inside it.
After all if a sealed product is selling for $30 but so are all the singles inside it than it's likely not that great of an investment as we typically want a premium for keeping it sealed. That being said there are several types of sealed products one can invest in.
- Event decks -- Printed in a relatively large quantity, these often contain 1 or 2 chase rares. Up until recently there were typically 2 decks at each printing and one was usually much better than the other (value-wise).
- Boxes/Fatpacks/Tournament Packs -- This is the product you can buy throughout the set's time in Standard at MSRP as the print run is usually only limited by the demand from the player base.
- Specialty product -- Usually a couple times a year WoTC releases a specialty product (FTV, Commander, Holiday Box, Modern Masters, SDCC, Planechase) which has a very limited print run.
Looking over this list we immediately jump to specialty product as the most obvious sealed product with profit potential. The reason is that everyone understands the concept of supply and demand. The more limited the supply, the more likely it won't meet demand.
We need to establish our ground rules. We will use eBay for selling price of sealed product (as that will most likely be how you sell it) and TCG mid price for the individual cards (as that's the price most people trade at.)
So without further ado, let's do some quick checks.
From the Vault Realms
Current eBay Selling Price: $69.99
- Maze of Ith - 28
- Grove of the Burnwillows - 19.50
- Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - 20
- Ancient Tomb - 9.15
- High Market - 4.11
- Cephalid Coliseum - 2.97
- Boseiju, Who Shelters All - 4.79
- Desert - 1.87
- Forbidden Orchard - 4.50
- Dryad Arbor - 5.75
- Glacial Chasm - 1.19
- Shivan Gorge - 0.75
- Murmuring Bosk - 2.53
- Vesuva - 11
- Windbrisk Heights - 5.47
Summation of the Parts: $121.58
This tell us FTV: Realms is worth more pieced out and people aren't paying a premium for the actual sealed product. What's more interesting is that the summation of the parts (SoP) is worth considerably more than the eBay selling price.
This means one of two things. Either a lot of people don't realize that they could buy a bunch of sealed product, crack it, and resell the singles at a decent profit, or most of the stores on TCG are asking too much and the cards aren't moving.
If you wanted to do a quick sale and the demand existed you could take the TCG Mid Prices, sell at 80% and still come up with a $30 profit, but what would most likely happen is that you'd sell the high-dollar cards immediately and the rest would languish.
It is interesting to note though that if you were able to sell just the first 3 at TCG Mid you'll have just about broken even with your investment cost, thus any below those 3 would be profit.
Let's check another "Specialty Product" to see if we see a similar pattern:
Current eBay Selling Price: $180
- Chaos Warp - 6.50
- Command Tower - 18
- Desertion - 9.25
- Diaochan, Artful Beauty - 6
- Dragonlair Spider - 3
- Decree of Pain - 11
- Duplicant - 12
- Edric, Spymaster of Trest - 9
- Kaalia of the Vast - 22.50
- Loyal Retainers - 25
- Maelstrom Wanderer - 11.81
- Mind's Eye - 9.50
- Mirari's Wake - 15.27
- The Mimeoplasm - 6.25
- Rhystic Study - 8
- Scroll Rack - 23.90
- Sylvan Library - 47
- Vela the Night-Clad - 3.50
- 10x Oversized cards - 22
- Spin Down Life Counter - 30
- Counters - 5
Summation of the Parts: $304.48
This data continues the trend that these specialty products seem to be worth more pieced out, however, again I caution that what tends to happen with these is that a few cards are very valuable (highly in demand) and many others aren't. The prices of the desired cards reflect actual demand, whereas the prices of the undesirable cards tends to be inflated.
Current eBay Selling Price: $460
- Chandra, the Pyromaster (Black) - 118.50
- Garruk, Callder of Beasts (Black) - 118.50
- Jace, Memory Adebpt (Black) - 125
- Ajani, Caller of the Pride (Black) - 90
- Liliana, of the Dark Realms (Black) - 90
Summation of the Parts: $542
Again we see a SoP more valuable than the sealed product. It's important to note that the prices for the individual cards off of TGG player are very limited as there were only 2-5 stores offering them, so there's not a large set of data to get average value.
Given the extremely limited run of these (at least for SDCC) it would seem perfectly safe to sell the cards individually, as even the limited demand on the ones that see little play in Standard or EDH will not be satiated by the small number available. A word of caution on this one, there is talk of another print run as WoTC heavily underestimated the demand on these, though this is an unconfirmed rumor.
I did not delve into the holiday box, because it contains a lot of packs (which is predominantly where its cost comes in) nor the Commander decks as the value on those tends to be heavily based on the few "Commander-only" cards. However, it is important to note that all of the Commander decks have stabilized in price with Heavenly Inferno as the most valuable at around $90.
What we can take away from this is that when it comes to specialty products it seems there is no premium to be had by keeping them sealed. This implies that "collector" demand is considerably lower than "player" demand.
In fact, all data points to the player demand being high enough that it's more profitable to crack them and sell the cards individually. Even with the risk of getting stuck with the cheaper cards, it's completely possible to break even selling just the high dollar cards.
I would suggest before cracking all your sealed specialty products that you head over to eBay and filter the cards by "sold" as that may give you a better idea of what the current prices are. Then determine at that point whether cracking them is more valuable.
Last but not least, for those who may have guessed it, this will be a three-article series. (I will delve into the other product in the future).