So you want to sell an entire Magic collection. Maybe you’re getting out of the game completely. Maybe you acquired a great collection at a steal (not literally), and you want to gain maximum value from it. Sometimes you just want the cash quickly and to avoid the hassle.
Moving a lot of cards while balancing opportunity cost and value can be tricky. I can speak from personal experience, as I recently sold a large collection myself. Today I'd like to offer some tips on how to approach the process to make it painless and profitable.
The Brute Force Method
This is the method I personally chose, as I needed to move the collection quickly and painlessly. I needed the cash and I didn’t want the cards anymore. I found a private dealer who offered a bit more than what I could get buylisting everything to an online shop. Plus, I saved on significant shipping costs, since the collection had a lot of bulk and basic lands.
Before you go to the private dealer or local storefront, you'll want to get an estimate of value to inform your initial asking price. Consider pricing everything over $3-$5 at buylist prices, which can waver over or under TCGPlayer Low value. There are many ways to go about this, including Quiet Speculation's Trader Tools, or even a simple Excel spreadsheet with values entered by hand.
Price your bulk by the monster box (or five-row box). The rule of thumb is that the largest monster boxes hold 5,000 unsleeved cards, and most online shops pay $3 per 1,000---so a stuffed monster box is worth $15. If that box instead contains all bulk rares, since most shops pay $0.10 per rare, it would be worth $500.
Once you come up with a nice round number, approach all the private dealers and reputable shops in the area. Most private dealers can be found by their classified listings on Craigslist. Meet in a neutral location, give the dealer time to inspect the cards, then enjoy your cash! Maybe play on Magic Online or Magic Duels to get your fix from now on.
The Buylist Method
If you're selling strictly rares, mythic rares and foils, and not a lot of heavy bulk that ships for ridiculous amounts, consider buylisting your collection to an online shop of choice. This Reddit thread is written by a collector with significant experience working with a number of the most popular buylists. Me, I prefer the one at Cape Fear Games (insert Sideshow Bob groan here) because their online buylist storefront is really easy to use. Just input the cards, then mail away.
Keep in mind that most places will want you to send the cards in the order the receipt specifies, unsleeved. If you must sleeve them, stuff them several at a time into a wide penny sleeve, the kind that a shop will use when selling you multiple cards at once.
If you have something like an SDCC Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound, like I did until recently, this is probably a good idea. What you don't want to do is send each card in individual Dragon Shields, as that just costs the shop time and effort to desleeve everything.
Once the shop gets your collection and matches the condition and quantities to your receipt, they will send you the money via your preferred method. Note that hot cards from new sets, recently unbanned cards, and cards that are discovered as part of some new tech will cause buylist prices to rise, giving you more money for your efforts.
The TCG Player / PucaTrade Method
If time is not a factor, you have a massive stack of toploaders, stamps and envelopes, and you'd like to dive into individual card sales or trading, consider opening a store on TCGPlayer or an account on PucaTrade.
If you've never sold a card on TCGPlayer, you'll start at 0 reputation and will be competing with dozens of reputable shops. Therefore, price will be your best advantage. Price the key cards at slightly less than the lowest listing for your card's condition.
There are limits in place at first for new sellers, but these restrictions will ease in a short amount of time. For example, Level 1 sellers can only list 10 items at a time, to a maximum of $400, and 20 items total per day. Ship a couple orders successfully with good feedback, and you’ll get to Level 2, which lets you list 50 items.
At some point, you can also be invited to participate in the TCGPlayer Direct program, where you ship cards directly to TCGPlayer who then sells them on your behalf to the buyer.
Remember to grade your cards strictly, and remember that reputation is everything. Pack cards in toploaders securely and without damaging them. Ship promptly. Any sort of slackitude on your part will get you drummed out of TCGPlayer quickly.
If you don't need the cash but want the maximum trade value from your collection, PucaTrade is the way. Say you want to turn the whole thing into a piece of Power 9, or a few black-border Beta dual lands. PucaTrade will get you maximum trade value for everything, but it'll take you a lot of time to move each individual card and collect your points.
Plus, selling PucaPoints is now against the terms of service, so this is a way to trade equal value for equal value only. If you have a lot of current Standard staples that will eventually drop in value, and you'd like to trade for something eternal that holds value better, this is the best method.
It's Not Over
Whichever method you choose to rid yourself of paper Magic cards, remember recidivism is high among former Magic players. There may be a point where you'll buy back in with a hot Standard deck, and next thing you know you've got a closet full of cards, you're buying booster packs from Wal-Mart and you've applied to the Judge Program. It's inevitable.