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It's not uncommon for rare trading cards to fetch a pretty penny at auction, but not many would pull in enough to just about buy a house outright. But that's exactly what happened this weekend when the rare Black Lotus Magic card sold at auction. The extremely rare, sought-after card pulled in $87,672 on eBay and, we presume, will be immediately locked away inside of a safety deposit box, never again to see the light of day.
While Magic: The Gathering is a massive game these days, it actually came from humble beginnings. The popular collectable card game first hit the scene back in 1993 and, as highlighted in a report from Kotaku, the first Alpha set consisted of 295 cards. The game started to gain momentum pretty quickly, though, and eventually a Beta and Unlimited series was released, adding a handful of cards to the set and changing the card borders from black to white.
Obviously, things really took off from there. New sets of Magic cards started rolling out on a regular basis and, nowadays, that includes a major new expansion every few months.
Since only 1,100 copies of the Alpha set were printed, though, that means there are only 1,100 copies of the card with the black border potentially available in circulation. That is, of course, not accounting for the fact that many of those copies have likely been lost, thrown away or damaged in some way or another. So, yeah, it's a pretty rare card.
What made it even more desirable as a collector's item, though, was the fact that its ability allowed the player to drop it into play without a cost and gain three mana (the game's main resource) immediately. That made the card a life-saver if available at the right moments and, as part of an opening hand, could even grant a massive advantage on the very first turn.
Super rare Magic cards can typically go for about $10,000 at auction, so that should give you some extra indication as to how rare the Black Lotus is, especially from the Alpha set. As noted in the original report, this particular copy of the card also boasted an insanely high rating of 9.5, meaning it was in just shy of absolutely perfect condition.
What's crazy is, I started playing Magic back in the mid-90s, just a couple years after the game first launched. I distinctly remember seeing copies of Black Lotus popping up from time to time and, even back then, it was a highly coveted card due to its strong ability. This is actually something of a painful memory, as these were the days when deck boxes and card sleeves were unheard of. If someone was playing the card, it was likely in a deck held together by a rubber band, shoved in a pocket and then played on surfaces like sidewalk cement while waiting for the bus. If only we would have known back then that the card may one day have been worth nearly $88,000, folks probably would have treated them a bit kinder.