If you’re a Magic: The Gathering player or just vaguely aware of the game, you’ve probably heard about the game’s most expensive card selling for over half a million dollars. While that’s an eye-catching number for Black Lotus, the other members of “The Power Nine” also fetch a hefty price. That pricey Black Lotus is certainly the most expensive MTG card, but it wasn’t always that way. 

When Magic: The Gathering first debuted in 1993, you could buy a booster pack, potentially containing a Black Lotus, for the low, oh so very very low price of $2.45. That would be $5.02 today adjusting for inflation. Still a bargain. The other cards in The Power Nine are Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, Timetwister and 5 Moxen, one for each color. Even early on in the game’s history people knew these cards were sweet, hot, fire and wanted to pay a premium for it. According to TCG Player, you could nab a Black Lotus for about fifteen bucks in 1994. The most expensive cards are all from the original set, Alpha. As the game picked up steam, so did the prices. In 1995 Black Lotus was going for $150, and the second most expensive cards were all the Moxen tied for second place for a cool $80. Not bad, not bad. 

Wizards of the Coast

Timetwister is the only Power 9 card allowed in Commander. But please don't play with it, you have bills to pay.

But in July 1995, Wizards of the Coast released the Chronicles set. It was all reprinted cards. Suddenly, some of those super valuable cards became a lot less valuable overnight. And players were furious. Folks were so mad that it caused Wizards of the Coast to create the Reserved List, a list of cards that they pinky promised with a cherry on top to never reprint. And they probably never will, because collectors would file a class action lawsuit against Hasbro.

Sometimes people’s stupid parents would throw out their collections, sometimes cards would be irreparably damaged by heavy play, but the prices kept rising a card rarity increased. By 2010, you could get an Unlimited edition (a later printing from 1993) Black Lotus for four grand. After that, the prices for the Power 9 begin to grow exponentially. After folks began to recover from the Great Recession and the rich started to get way, way too rich, a few folks had the big bucks and disposable income to push MTG prices into the stratosphere. Let's blame this one, and everything else in our current economic hellscape, on Reagan. 

 

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