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Home / Technology / Rare Alpha Black Lotus sells for $ 87,000

Rare Alpha Black Lotus sells for $ 87,000



A black lotus from the original version of Magic: The Gathering sold this week on eBay's online auction site for $ 87,672. That's a lot of money for a bit of cardboard.

There are three official prints of Black Lotus in Magic : Alpha, Beta and Unlimited. Alpha consisted of 295 Magic cards printed with black borders, Beta added seven cards and fixed some bugs in the Alpha Set, and Unlimited was a massive repressor of the Beta, but with white edges to keep up with the demand for the game. Each of these was printed in 1993, and Black Lotus was included in each one.

So, what makes the Black Lotus, which opened at Grand Prix Chiba last weekend, different from this $ 87,000 card?

The last week opened card was from Unlimited, the reprint set, and some Black Lotuses exist. You can now buy one for less than $ 8,000

By contrast, each "rare" card in the Alpha set printed exactly 1

,100 copies. This means that we know how many Alpha Black Lotus cards ever existed, and that also means that those available on the open market are pretty uncommon today.

Another critical difference is that Black Lotus is graded by the Beckett Collection Center at 9.5. Given the rarity of the map and the almost flawless quality of the map, it is certainly one of the best preserved copies of the world.

Chris Rahn's version of Black Lotus from the Magic Online Cube.
Image: Chris Rahn (Wizards of the Coast)

Why do people care about rarity? It was clear early in Magic 's story that Black Lotus was powerful. The game's design is based on mana, a resource produced by maps. Each turn, you can "untap" your land so they can produce mana again. The rules of the game say that you can only play one country per round, which means that each player slowly increases his power as the game progresses. It's a nice way to slow down the energy level and keep players equal.

Black Lotus is a card that can be played without mana and that adds three mana. It means that a player can have four mana (his land + three Black Lotus mana) in the first round of the game. Obviously, they should not have access to this resource level until the fourth round. You can see Black Lotus immediately conflicting with the math of Magic and Black Lotus was quickly searched for as a mighty card as soon as it was printed (along with some other ridiculously strong cards).

Black Lotus's ability to destabilize the game meant it was never reprinted, and the lure and disgrace of the card have been persecuting it over the years. Although played in only one format by Magic and limited to a single copy of the card in a particular stack in that format, the reputation of the card has made it an important collection object for games in general.

Should rarity and cultural prestige amount to $ 87,000? That may be a bit high for me, but if you want to drop a few bucks, there's another one for a cool $ 100,000.


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