Welcome back to my ongoing series on how to sell your Magic: The Gathering Collection.
If you missed part one, check it out fist by following the link below this paragraph. It covers the good (and not so good) reasons to sell your collection, attempts to answer the age-old question about whether to sell your collection as a whole or part it out, and goes into detail about the best methods and platforms for selling out.
The series continues (but does not conclude) this week, as we hit one of the most daunting aspects of selling your collection: sorting through your bulk. This is nearly always the biggest road block to moving on, and I can't tell you how many of my friends have simply given up when they reach this stage. I even know at least one person who filled a dumpster with their spare commons and uncommons, which is… not optimal.
Don't worry, though. I've got your back.
Emotionally, it's important to prepare yourself for the very real sense of loss you might feel as you disassemble your decks, tear apart your binders, and de-sleeve several years' worth of cards. Make sure you've got your "things to keep" binder close, and if you find yourself starting to feel overwhelmed, it's okay to step away for a bit. I'd also recommend starting with cards that you don't care all that much about—your draft leavings, maybe, or your trade binder. Save your beloved Commander decks or your Vintage collection for last.
You're likely to become overwhelmed during this stage. You probably own more cards than you think you do, and you're going to run out of table surfaces and storage space quite quickly once you start collecting everything in one place and start going through it. For this reason, I prefer a multi-stage sort. Think of it like panning for gold—each time you go through your cards, you're getting rid of more and more chaff.
Step one is simple in theory, but hard in practice. You're going to try to separate all the cards in your collection that might have value from those that definitely don't have value.
In order to do this, I recommend getting at least one cardboard five-row box for your "good" cards. You should get a few of these if you think you'll need them. All your rares go in here—even ones that you know are bulk. All your foils go in here, too. So do all the uncommons that you think might be worth more than 10 or 20 cents. At this stage, you should default toward putting things in this box. When in doubt, it goes in here.
Don't worry—we're not going to list all of these cards as singles on TCGplayer. Everything under $2 is going to end up heading off to a buylist—more on that next week. For now, all you need to know is that the difference between picking your bulk vs. simply selling it all unpicked could be several hundred dollars, if not more. If that kind of money isn't trivial to you, pick through your bulk.
As for the "true" bulk that's left over after your pick, I like jamming everything into USPS Large Priority Flat Rate Boxes. There's a few reasons for this: first, they're free. Seriously—the post office will deliver them to your door for no cost if you follow that handy link I provided. You are only supposed to do this if you're using the boxes for shipping purposes, but we're quite likely to be doing that a bit later on. If you end up not needing these boxes for shipping your cards, you can always re-use the flat rate boxes for shipping your holiday gifts. Heck, your local USPS is often out of stock on these boxes during the holiday season, so if you end up with any extras, you can take them to your local post office and turn them over. Your mail carriers will likely be delighted to have extras on hand.
Second, USPS large flat rate boxes are reasonably easy to lift, especially compared to a giant plastic tub or 50-100-pound box of bulk. You can tape these flat rate boxes up and stack them in your closet until you're ready to do something with them. Also, once you establish a rough idea of how many cards you've fit into one of these boxes, you'll know roughly how many bulk cards you have in your collection by simply counting the rest of your boxes. You can generally fit between 6,000 and 7,300 cards in a large FRB, depending on how you do it. I recommend packing them in neat rows, as tight as possible, so that you essentially have a solid brick of MTG bulk in each box.
Unfortunately, it won't be long before you realize that even this initial collection sort is more difficult than it looks. You'll be able to separate most of your rares out easy enough, and I'm sure you have a good sense of what the good commons/uncommons are in recent sets, but do you know what commons and uncommons are valuable in Legions or Invasion? And what about cards from the pre-Exodus era, when rarity isn't even marked on cards? This work can get difficult pretty quickly, especially if your knowledge of cards isn't comprehensive or it's somewhat out-of-date. I know that there are dozens of cards that ping as "valuable bulk" in my head even though they've been reprinted in Masters sets and are no longer worth picking out. If you're not constantly sorting through collections, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
What's the answer here? It depends a lot on how much time you want to put into squeezing every nickel out of your collection. Personally, I feel like any common or uncommon I can buylist for at least $0.10 is worth pulling. You don't want to have to look up every single card, though—what you want is a short list of every buylistable common/uncommon from every Magic set that you can glance at while you're pawing through your collection. I tried looking everywhere for one of these that was easy to see at a glance, and I came up short. The best I could find was Dawnglare, and oh boy is it hard to make that interface do what I actually want when I've got thirteen stacks of cards in front of me.
So I made one for you myself.
I based this list on two buylists: Card Kingdom and ABU Games. Not only are those two of the better stores when it comes to buylisting low value cards, but they also had the most easily searchable buylists. The bigger stores tend to be pickier about buying low-value cards, they tend to offer less, and their buylists are hard to search by, say, set and rarity.
It's possible that there are other cards worth picking out of your bulk that aren't on either of these two buylists right now, especially from more recent sets, but assembling this list took quite a while already. If you see a card in your bulk that you think might be worth something but it's not on this list of cards, pull it anyway—you can always toss it back into your bulk later on.
So yeah. What follows is list of all the commons and uncommons in each set that are currently buylisting for at least $0.10 at Card Kingdom and $0.15 at ABU Games. While you'll be able to buylist some cards for $0.05-$0.08, stores only tend to buy these in small quantities and you might see them on the buylist one day, but not the next. Because of that, I try to limit myself to the $0.10-$0.15 and up range. I've also put a little asterisk after each card that is currently buylisting for more than $1, just so you know you've found a good hit when you're sorting through.
The cards in each set are organized alphabetically, and the sets are organized by year. I've done this because when you're sorting through bulk, cards form similar eras are usually all smooshed together. That should mean less scrolling for you as you paw through your collection. If you really get lost, though, you can always just do a CTRL+F search for the card that you're trying to look up.
Please note that I've included all Magic expansions from 1995 and newer. Cards from pre-1995 expansions are all worth looking up individually due to their age, with the exception of Fallen Empires, which I've included here. If you have cards from Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, The Dark, or Revised, pull them out and look them all up individually. Ditto for any cards from Portal: 3 Kingdoms.
I've also left out all cards from box sets—Beatdown, Garfield vs. Finkel, all the Duel Decks, and all the Commander pre-cons. A lot of these commons and uncommons have surprisingly high buylist prices, and you should simply pull all of these cards out of your bulk for now as well. I didn't want to choke up the list with a bunch of cards from Commander 2018 that are worth $0.15 despite all the other versions of that particular card being worth less than a penny.
Now that you've picked the hidden gems out of your bulk and set them aside with your foils and rares, it's time to get rid of everything else. At this point, you probably have several USPS large flat rate boxes filled with bulk cards, and if you're anything like me, you don't ever want to see them again. If you have a rough idea of how many cards you were able to pack into a single box, you can now estimate how many bulk cards you have in total. The first time I did this, I realized that I'd had more than a hundred thousand cards stacked up in the back of my closet.
At this point, you've got two main options for how to proceed. Option #1 is a multi-quantity eBay listing, which allows you to sell your bulk boxes one at a time online. Come up with a low estimate for the total number of cards in a single box, and create a listing with a title like: "5,000+ Magic: The Gathering MTG Cards Commons/Uncommons BULK COLLECTION!" The idea here is that you're going to be selling these boxes one at a time, and you can just input the number of boxes you have in the "quantity available" field on the listing you create.
Make sure that you are clear in your listing that this is bulk from your personal collection. This will attract more buyers, as many are wary of buying bulk from stores like StarCityGames and Channel Fireball, who sometimes sell off their bulk in lots on eBay. These stores tend to be more careful in cherry-picking their cards, so the folks who buy bulk are generally looking at picking up personal collections.
While you do want to sell these cards and make your listing seem exciting, it's crucial that you are completely honest in your listing description. Don't attempt to deceive the buyer or insinuate that they might be able to pick this lot for value themselves. eBay will side with the buyer over the seller in 99% of disputes, and you're in trouble if the buyer opens an "Item Not as Described" case on you because they don't like the selection of cards you've given them. Not only will you be forced to refund their money, but you'll also have to refund them the $20 you spent on shipping—and you'll have to decide whether it's worth spending an additional $20 getting your bulk back. This is one of the biggest downsides of eBay, and it's why I try to avoid selling heavy items with a low profit margin on that platform.
If you decide to sell your bulk on eBay anyway, you might have to open your boxes back up and make sure that there aren't any weird veins of basic lands or places where there are virtually no uncommons. Buyers probably aren't going to like seeing 20-30 copies of the same card in a given lot either, and you should try to avoid this if possible. There's no need to waste your time being perfectly granular with this, but do your best.
Another possible option if you want to go this route: separate your commons from your uncommons and sell the uncommons separately. Uncommons tend to have more value, and an entire box of them would likely outweigh the money you'd make selling your bulk commons/uncommons as a mixed lot. I've never done this myself because I always run out of patience at this point in the sort, but if you're dedicated to making every last dime count, it's not a bad play.
When your listing is done, make sure you sell via "Buy it Now" and not an auction. Nobody has the time or patience for eBay auctions in 2020, and your sales price will be far worse. I would also suggest that you either use calculated shipping charges (there's a way to input that you'll be shipping in a USPS large flat rate box) that the buyer pays, or sell with free shipping but make sure that you know you'll be on the hook for about $20 per box in shipping charges. You should be able to get $20-$30/box for your bulk on top of shipping, depending on how much work you want to do making your listing real nice and how far back your collection goes. As usual, older cards are more desirable than newer ones.
Of course, I prefer option #2: sell your bulk collection locally on Facebook Marketplace. Just stack up all the boxes, take a picture, and post the listing. You should still be able to get $30/box for your cards, and you might get more since the local buyers aren't going to be paying $20/box in shipping. Your mileage will vary a lot based on how big your metro area is, though. In a large city, selling via Facebook is pretty easy. In a smaller city or rural town, not so much.
Unlike with eBay, I wouldn't sell boxes individually on Facebook. Just advertise the whole thing as a "Magic Card Collection" and give it a lump price that you'd be happy with. I always make my asking price about 10% higher than the price I actually want, because people always want to haggle and you should let them. If they're willing to pay the asking price, it's a nice bonus.
Again, you want to be honest in your listing. You don't want to load all your cards up into your car, drive to a meetup, and then have the buyer back out because they thought they were getting a ton of sweet rares or something. You don't have to be quite as detailed about how much you've picked through your bulk in a local listing because buyers don't really have much in the way of protection once they've handed over the cash and accepted the cards, but I would suggest against lying if you don't want an angry buyer chasing you down on Facebook. Also, telling the truth to other members of the Magic community is the right thing to do.
Regardless, someone out there either wants your bulk to play around with or they think they'll have more luck picking through it than you did, even after your listing disclosures. Get it out of your house, collect a few hundred bucks, and wash your hands.
Next week, we sell the good stuff.
There weren't a ton of gainers this week, as Zendikar Rising continues its slow decline toward maximum supply. We did see a few Zendikar Rising-related spikes this week, though, starting with Omnath. No, not Omnath, Locus of Creation—I'm talking about Omnath, Locus of the Roil, from Core Set 2020:
Why is this Omnath spiking? Because Commander players are building Omnath, Locus of Creation decks, and the old Omnath plays quite well with the new one. The average copies/buyer for Omnath, Locus of the Roil is pretty close to 1:1 across the board here, which tells me that this is authentic Commander demand, not speculator attention. And since Core Set 2020 wasn't widely opened, expect this new price to hold for at least a few weeks.
Also up this week: Thieves' Guild Enforcer, a Core Set 2021 rare that slots right into Dimir Rogues and Dimir Control, two of the better post-Uro Standard decks. While this card looks like it has already peaked and begun to level off in the $4 range, it should stay above $2-$3 for a while. There's legitimate demand here, the card is quite good, and Core Set 2021 is also an under-opened set. If you want to buy a set of these now, go for it. Worst case, you lose a couple of bucks. Best case, this card ends up in the $10+ range after the pandemic.
Lastly, keep an eye on Rankle, Master of Pranks. Here's what this card's chart looks like over the past few weeks:
There hasn't been a ton of additional demand at the higher price point, admittedly, but this card is another Dimir Rogues staple that has nearly doubled in price since mid-September. Rankle can easily end up in the $20-$25 range if everything breaks right, so this might be your last chance for a while to get in around $12. While I still don't love buying Standard cards right now, this is one I'd be looking pretty hard at if I thought I had a use for it over the next few months.