Magic: The Gathering has had a major financial aspect to it for years. In the days of the Internet's genesis, people did not have ease of access to the price of cards, save for the occasional appraisal magazines by Beckett or others. Now that we as Magic players have sites like TCGplayer, the Magic financiers have sprung out of the woodwork.
Notably, a smaller, yet no less burgeoning community has sprouted: #MTGRarities, a Facebook group spanning no less than three groups deep with the main group containing over 44,500 members, thrives on the economy of buying and selling misprinted cards and other Magic: The Gathering rarities. However, this year, one particular find has shown above the rest.
The artwork for Mana Crypt from Eternal Masters. Illustrated by Matt Stewart.
Yesterday, Kalin McHale posted a very special find on the group page. This item was a factory-sealed stack of 55 copies of Mana Crypt, originally meant to be used as media insert promos for a line of books by HarperPrism. The company, an offshoot of major publisher HarperCollins, published 12 fantasy books based in the Magic: The Gathering multiverse which are regarded as early pre-revisionist work. The books, printed between 1994 and 1996, contained coupons that players could cut away as proof of purchase to exchange for one of a number of cards, including Arena, Bog Imp, and, of course, Mana Crypt. However, with so few of these cards actually in circulation, it's clear that the media insert promos are exceedingly rare.
Needless to say, the group instantly went wild over this fantastic, rare item being posted. The post currently has over 376 comments since last night, many helpfully explaining that the sealed item has value and ought to be kept intact.
An image from Facebook by Kalin McHale of the sealed stack of Mana Crypts.
When TCGplayer reached out to McHale for comment, he explained that he obtained the cards through a trade with a friend which today would be valued at over $15,000. By modern standards, today the Mana Crypts would likely be valued between $15-30k altogether. McHale has plans to sell them as a sealed item, but if he were to split the lot he would look into getting them graded first.
No doubt this is a difficult piece of trading card memorabilia to move at its price point. At an estimated value of $15-30k, the cards might take awhile to sell as a whole item. However, McHale says he'd "love if it connected with someone who didn't want to open it and sell it in pieces, but it seems more and more like that's the only way to get value from it."
As for what McHale plans to buy with any earnings he makes for this item? "I believe strongly in loving what you bought, so it's likely I'll buy more of my beloved Urza block-related cards and product (it's my favorite set)." We hope that this item finds a loving home and that McHale gets the value he is looking for!