I was scheduled to do a piece about misprints this week, but something big happened to me. Stay tuned for that piece in the future. Instead, I want to talk about what happened and share my thoughts and feelings, not only as a small private collector but also as a human being.
I was investing heavily in graded cards when I lost my job. I was investing not just in Magic: The Gathering, but Pokémon as well as a way to diversify. I was fortunate to end up with a bunch of nice slabs as a result, including finding a VG slabbed copy of Library of Alexandria in Europe, and some deals with local Pokémon collectors who have lots of graded material.
If I could see the future, I'd have been far less aggressive in my diversification, knowing I'd be losing my job. Long story short, as a direct consequence of this I had to sell nine of my beloved dual lands. I needed liquidity fast and could not go through the hassle of selling more minor pieces of my collection. I had no time to think about it.
It was hard for me to let them go. When I bought those duals I thought I was going to hold them forever no matter what. Life proved, once more, that nothing lasts forever and the only constant is change. Here are some thoughts I learned from this experience, with the hopes that they will be valuable to others facing similar ordeals. This article is about acceptance, letting go, and doing the right thing.
You Should Never Feel Bad for Making Money
I bought my ten duals, one of each, for roughly $2000 in three monthly installments. I sold all but a Foreign Black Border (FBB) Plateau for $1300 cash, plus a trade of four beautiful Force of Wills signed by Terese Nielsen and a sealed Double Masters booster box. The trades were valued at roughly $900.
So, essentially for $700 I bought a Plateau in very nice condition, a signed playset of Forces, and the booster box. Sure, in the traditional sense, "I lost" $700 that I haven't seen a return on, but we all buy and sell cards and I honestly believe this is a fine purchase. Not to mention that the $1300 cash really helped around the house.
If You Are Going To Invest in Collectibles You Need To Leave Emotions Aside
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from reading articles and watching famous YouTubers talk about these issues is leaving your emotions aside. You need to dismiss feelings in order to do what needs doing. I could have tried to jump through a lot of hoops in order to keep my duals, but this was unnecessary. Incurring risk is far worse than losing precious items of your collection.
A friend of mine put it perfectly: "you need to put a roof over your head first." I need to continue to pay my bank loan on my property and pay all the bills. It is an obvious statement, but these are priorities. It is important to keep that in mind, and this situation was a wake-up call for me.
You Can Always Purchase What You Had To Sell at Another Time
The mindset that leads to comments like "it is too late for me to invest in..." needs to be broken. Many times I thought that this was my last chance to purchase duals. Get on the train or be left behind forever. But as Rudy from Alpha Investments put it bluntly, "It is not too late."
I used to have that mindset, but I do not any longer. Please don't get me wrong, I really think these items are special and I was sad when I had to part with them. But when looked at in perspective, it is not the end of the world. There are plenty of duals out there. With patience, another good opportunity will present itself.
I firmly believe I will be the owner of dual lands again in the future, and this time will not be Foreign White Border (FWB), but Revised. Sometimes you need to take one step back in order to take two steps forward. I really hope this is the case.
Letting Go Can Be Cathartic
While I was sad when the transaction occurred, part of me also felt accomplished. It was a weird sort of relief. I could isolate myself from the emotion and do what was needed to be done and that was surprisingly gratifying for me. I was truly not expecting it.
"Acceptance" was the word that was floating around my head the whole time. It is what it is. This is true for other aspects of life as well. Sometimes things aren't meant to be in the way they were expected or desired. I had to make terms with the idea that selling these cards was the best for my current situation. I did not hesitate to do it once I came to this conclusion.
In the end, we learn as we walk this path. "Investing in pandemic times," as it were, has certainly been rewarding for me. While I am patient, I am also excited to see what happens with the markets once the pandemic subsides and the world goes back to something semi-normal.
Your Collection Is Still a Beauty, My Friend, and the Grinding Must Not Stop!
We hold on to what we can, and that is fine. As Massive Attack sing, you have to be thankful for what you've got. Cards are like money: they come and they go. A less-attached approach to the hobby could be beneficial for you financially.
Again: the only permanent thing is change. I turn the four Force of Wills from selling my duals into a full Jon Finkel gold-bordered deck (hello Grim Monolith!) and some beautiful promotional cards that I believe will perform well in the future. Plus, I get to play a lot of Premodern, too. You have to keep going. There is no way back.
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to sell something precious to yourself? Do you think that attachment can be an issue when investing in collectibles? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!