Hello there! I hope everyone's having a great week. I've mentioned on here that my fiancée and I were planning on moving recently, and we're pretty much all settled in at this point. With school finished and my responsibilities at work complete, I've had a lot more time on my hands to work on Magic-related projects.
One of those more immediate projects that I wanted to work on was trying out Card Kingdom's new buylist. Well, I say "new," but only because it's been a while since I last shipped cards to them. Their updated user interface for their buylist was really smooth, and it was a great experience. so what did I sell?
This was smaller than what I originally intended my order to be, because I wanted to lock in some of these buylist numbers before they changed. I wasn't 100-percent successful in that aspect (I missed out on getting $3.65 for each of my Diregraf Colossuses by a couple hours), but I managed to lock in some juicy buy prices. I couldn't resist a lot of their Shadows over Innistrad offers, as you'll see in the images below. Also, I didn't realize how many bulk rares and near-bulk rares that I had shipped to Card Kingdom until after I wrote that tweet. I guess "mostly" C/U and tokens is a bit of a misstatement, but I'll let you see for yourself some of the numbers that they're going to pay me on this stuff.
As someone who normally sells at TCGplayer low out of my display case (or TCG low minus 10 percent on Twitter), getting a buylist price of $5.00 a piece on Tireless Tracker when I normally sell it for $6 was crazy. There are a couple of other obvious cards on here: Purphoros, God of the Forge at $7.50, Thalia's Lieutenant for almost $2 a piece, etc. If we get those out of the way, though, the rest of the buylist order ends up being "stuff I found in bulk commons and uncommons." Remember that I paid less than a third of a penny on stuff like Sage of Fables, Sphinx's Tutelage and the emblem from Elspeth, Knight-Errant.
When all was said and done with this buylist order, it ended up being around 900 cards. I packed them up in an 800-count BCW box, and filled the remainder of the empty space with bulk basic lands, then used packing tape to seal the box. For those of you who are shipping from inside the USA and using USPS to mail cards, I highly recommend shipping with the flat rate boxes instead of just going by weight.
This might be old news to some of you, but it's worth noting that you can usually get at least four 800-count BCW boxes into a medium flat rate box. I missed out on some amount of profit because I wanted to lock in a smaller buylist order quickly and take advantage of some of the ever-shifting prices before they updated further. I just couldn't stall on offers of 80 cents for Fumigate, 50 cents for Fevered Visions, and 30 cents for Bristling Hydra, when each had been sitting in my display case for less that that over a long period of time. As long as you can accumulate a decent quantity of picks, you can also use the smaller 400-count BCW boxes.
Unfortunately, my lovely little $900 package is still in transit at the time of this writing, so I can't yet say how much I'm going to lose to grading. According to my previous experiences with Card Kingdom a few years ago, I can expect to lose at least 10 or 15 percent of my total number. Card Kingdom is up there on the Star City Games level of grading, so I can expect some of my NM cards to get nicked down to "EX", or Excellent, as they label LP cards. Even so, I'm fine with getting 90 cents for a bunch of extra Port Towns that have been in the case forever, and 20 cents for Nyx-Fleece Ram. I'll likely update my next article with the grading results.
However, the real insane margins were in the "bulk" commons, uncommons, rares, and tokens that I was shipping to Card Kingdom. Many of these rares were scooped up en masse at 10 cents a piece, or traded for when the player wanted to pick up a Heart of Kiran or Wooded Foothills. I'm used to trying to immediately flip stuff like Bristling Hydra, Whir of Invention and Electrostatic Pummeler at 25 cents each to less competitive players building budget Standard decks.
I've written a couple of articles about token finance before, and this really exemplifies the financial power of these cards that so many others toss aside or leave in bulk. You don't need to be pulling out ancient Sliver tokens or Unhinged tokens to be making money here. You'll notice that those Dragons from Return to Ravnica ended up being worth a huge chunk of money; more than enough to cover the cost of shipping the box that I mailed this buylist order out in, and those were free. I cannot emphasize that enough. I'm sure that you have some number of players at your local store who have extra tokens, basic lands, or commons and uncommons in bulk.
That being said, there are a couple of trends in #mtgemblemfinance that I noticed while doing this little project. The first and most important rule is that the emblems with the new post-M15 border are much less expensive than the pre-M15 border. You'll notice that I was paid 70 cents on my emblem for the old Kiora, but they didn't even want my emblems for Battle for Zendikar's Kiora, Master of the Depths. Even though both cards are pretty bad....
Alright, so let's wrap this up with some of the more obscure #breakingbulks from my buylisting adventures this week. This way, I get to explain my picking logic on some of the weirder casual cards that you might not be aware of, and have proof that you can get money out of them; not just in theory.
I was surprised that I would be able to buylist commons and uncommons for anything from Amonkhet, but here we are. CK paid me 8 cents each on a dozen of them. I got a free $1 by picking some very recent bulk for a card that, granted, was a four-of in a top-eight decklist at the Pro Tour, but it was also one of the least popular versions of Zombies at the event. I haven't had anyone asking me for Bone Pickers recently, but find solace in the fact that you can dime these out to buylists even if the Censors and Cast Outs have been picked dry.
I always see Assassin tokens left in bulk, and it's one of the few highlights of picking Return to Ravnica. I'm getting almost two bulk rares for every NM Assassin I pawn off to CK, and even the Duel Deck Assassins are worth 10 cents a piece sometimes. I know Vraska the Unseen gets a bad reputation for playability, but she's still easily a $4.50 sale on a TCGplayer store, or a $3 buylist to an eager vendor. Those vendors also need tokens, so here we are.
For some reason, I always see these in Modern Masters bulk right up there with Mulldrifter. I got 50 cents each for my Lorwyn copies, which I'm always happy to see. Those two sets are so full of pickable cards that I think Spellstutter gets a bad reputation for being worthless immediately after the reprint. It's climbed to $1 retail since then on the back of casual Faeries, so be on the lookout for either version.
So I've got an idea; hear me out. Would you guys be interested in a video series where you I pick bulk and commentate on it? I'd be going through and showing some of the bulk commons and uncommons, explaining my thought process while I dig through bulk. This would be another benefit to your Insider subscription, and I could even turn it into a series if there's enough interest.
You could watch me experience bulk commons and uncommons as I'm seeing them for the first time, and discuss price points on buylists while I sort them into their respective categories. There are also some cards that even I have to look up with the help of the ION Scanner (I had to check Summon the School and Kithkin Harbinger recently, and only the latter is buylistable). If you're interested, let me know in the comments below and I'll get started on figuring out the logistics of that.