Welcome back, readers! Today's article will be on promotional reprints and their effect on card prices. The idea for this article came from our forum discussion regarding the promotional reprinting of Stoneforge Mystic as an upcoming GP promo.
I've previously written an article on the effects of judge promo printings on card prices (found here) and I got a lot of positive feedback. The latest announcement got me thinking about all the other, non-judge, promos.
Unfortunately, I ran into a pretty big snag---the site with the oldest pricing data has gone dark (given a cease and desist order). Most of the other sites only have data going back to 2012, and as you'll see below, many of our promos came out before then.
Even if our data is incomplete, we can still glean some information from looking at it. We'll try to get a general idea of how these promos affected the overall Magic financial market.
The Promos in Question
Below are the promos I'll be analyzing today. We're not paying attention to the low-value stuff like FNM promos of Standard cards, but rather limiting ourselves to the high-impact promos from GPs and invite-only events.
There are plenty of other promos that don't appear here (some of them extremely valuable), but their value is most often tied to extreme rarity. These include older FNM promos, some JSS promos, and some Champs promos.
Today I want to focus just on the cards that were reprints of highly-in-demand staples at the time.
- GP Promo - Spiritmonger
- PT Promo - Eternal Dragon
- GP Promo - Call of the Herd
- GP Promo - Crystalline Sliver (Originally FNM promos that were stolen and sold on eBay. Most were later recovered, but WotC decided to distribute them as GP promos in the summer of 2008.)
- PT Promo - Mirari's Wake
- GP Promo - Chrome Mox
- PT Promo - Treva, the Renewer
- GP Promo - Umezawa's Jitte
- PT Promo - Avatar of Woe
- GP Promo - Maelstrom Pulse
- PT Promo - Ajani Goldmane
- GP Promo - Goblin Guide
- GP Promo - Lotus Cobra
- GP Promo - Primeval Titan
- GP Promo - All is Dust
- WMCQ Promo - Vengevine
- GP Promo - Batterskull
- WMCQ Promo - Geist of Saint Traft
- GP Promo - Griselbrand
- WMCQ Promo - Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- RPTQ Promo - Liliana of the Veil
- GP Promo - Stoneforge Mystic
- RPTQ Promo - Snapcaster Mage
The (Incomplete) Data Set
As I stated earlier, due to the site with the longest running database of prices going under, our data set is pretty limited.
For those interested, here is the full set we'd ideally be working with, replete with the lacunae. "OG" means the original, non-promo version of the card.
|Promo||Type||Date of Announcement||OG Value at Announcement||OG Foil Value at Announcement||OG Value 6 Months Later||OG Foil Value 6 Months Later||OG Value 12/6/15||OG Foil Value 12/6/15|
|Call of the Herd||GP Promo||11/16/07||-||-||-||-||$0.75||$3.42|
|Crystalline Sliver||GP Promo||05/30/08||-||-||-||-||$5.36||-|
|Chrome Mox||GP Promo||12/01/08||-||-||-||-||$14.24||$40.90|
|Umezawa's Jitte||GP Promo||11/05/09||-||-||-||-||$31.11||$246.74|
|Maelstrom Pulse||GP Promo||10/15/10||-||-||-||-||$10.56||$15.67|
|Goblin Guide||GP Promo||12/06/11||-||-||-||-||$29.90||$42.99|
|Lotus Cobra||GP Promo||04/06/12||$5.99||-||$4.99||-||$10.97||$19.49|
|Primeval Titan||GP Promo||12/10/12||$9.08||-||$7.88||-||$10.07||$19.58|
|All is Dust||GP Promo||04/25/13||$16.36||-||$17.98||-||$8.87||$27.44|
|Stoneforge Mystic||GP Promo||12/04/15||$22.03||$130.72||-||-||$22.78||$128.92|
|Eternal Dragon||PT Promo||09/02/06||-||-||-||-||$1.38||$10.92|
|Mirari's Wake||PT Promo||11/09/07||-||-||-||-||$7.11||$24.65|
|Treva, the Renewer||PT Promo||12/01/08||-||-||-||-||$1.14||$16.53|
|Avatar of Woe||PT Promo||11/02/09||-||-||-||-||$2.89||$18.71|
|Ajani Goldmane||PT Promo||10/15/10||-||-||-||-||$8.99||$13.00|
|Geist of Saint Traft||WMCQ Promo||06/06/14||$18.28||$58.50||$13.32||$50.00||$14.59||$39.57|
|Thalia, Guardian of Thraben||WMCQ Promo||03/30/15||$4.74||$32.08||$5.21||$29.38||$5.23||$27.36|
|Liliana of the Veil||RPTQ||10/11/14||$63.00||$275.32||$90.63||$220.00||$94.99||$249.95|
Sadly that's a lot of little dashes (meaning lack of data), but we'll just have to work with what we have. I have four full data points to work with and one partial (Batterskull).
First let's look at the prices of the original versions, at the announcement of its respective promo, six months later, and now. As we might expect, this yields an overall negative trend.
Here we see three promos causing a downward price drift six months after the announcement. (Note that in some cases, six months after the announcement there were still no copies on the market.)
Two others appear to have gone up. Thalia's price looks more flatline than positive, and could be an artifact of the way prices were calculated. Batterskull, however, showed true positive growth (followed by a decline once copies saturated the market.)
The general trend is down, but this is far from conclusive. The variation in the few viable data points we have make it difficult to make a blanket statement.
What if we look at the original foils' value though?
Here we go... In this chart every single item shows an initial negative trend (although Liliana of the Veil did recover subsequently).
This implies that for those who want to pimp their decks, enough demand is satisfied by the promos to cause a drop in price. The magnitude of the drop seems heavily dependent on the card, but the trend is at least somewhat defined.
In conclusion, these types of promo printings don't seem to terribly affect the original card's value, but they do seem to affect the original pack foil's value. It's also readily apparent that from the day of announcement to six months later, all have dropped in value. Whether they recover depends on the card's desirability and playability in various formats.
There are obviously lots of other factors that can play a role in these cards' value. This includes changes to the Banned & Restricted List, the announcement of a new format (Modern was announced in May of 2011), and new cards that interact with old ones in powerful ways.
All of these factors, and many others, can affect card prices. So while we seem to have uncovered a (relatively obvious) trend, without a good bit more data I don't feel confident calling it universal.
Hopefully I can dig up some better data for a future article and revisit this topic. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.