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MTG Black Lotus Shatters Records in Staggering $3m Sale

A crown jewel of Magic: The Gathering was sold yesterday, as Adam Cai of Pristine Collectibles sold his Alpha Black Lotus to an unknown buyer for $3 million in a private sale.

The card, which was rated last year as a pristine 10 by CGC Cards, is one of the only ones that could possibly receive such a grading (in fact, it is the only one in CGC’s population report), and it beats out all previous known Magic: The Gathering card sales. That includes even the serialized one-of-one One Ring, which Post Malone bought last year. Talking with CGC about the trade, Cai said “This is one of the most amazing Alpha Black Lotuses I’ve ever seen. It would undoubtedly be the centerpiece of anyone’s TCG collection.”

The Vice President of CGC Cards Matt Quinn celebrated the sale as well, saying:

We graded this Alpha Black Lotus as part of a CrossOver submission in 2023, and now it’s become the highest-selling Magic card to date. I am honored to have been part of this card’s journey — and to see it sell with the CGC Cards Pristine 10 label. The tremendous amount commanded by this Alpha Lotus is reflective of the trust that collectors and dealers place in CGC Cards.

Also graded alongside it were three other cards graded as a Pristine 10: Time Walk, a Mox Ruby, and a Mox Pearl. All of these are part of what is known as the Power 9 in Magic: The Gathering, a group of 9 of the most powerful cards from the game’s Alpha release. Black Lotus, Time Walk, 5 Moxes (including Ruby and Pearl), Ancestral Recall, and Timetwister make up this exclusive group of powerful cards, which are banned in almost every format.

Why Did This Magic: The Gathering card sell for so much

Being from the original 1993 Alpha release, there is a very limited supply of the cards, and many collectors prize having an Alpha card in their collection. Compared to the Beta release which had more rounded edges, it is noticeable to collectors, and there are only over a thousand of each rare in Alpha printed. Being 31 years ago, and the lack of sleeves used to protect cards at the time, almost all of them have been scuffed, muffed, or destroyed in some way.

As the most famous, and arguably most powerful, Magic: The Gathering card, Black Lotus has generally held the spot of the most expensive card in Magic: The Gathering, with last year’s One Ring sale being a (mythic) rare exception to that.

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