Magic: The Gathering Card Sells For Record-Breaking $3 Million And Fans Don’t Believe It

Magic: The Gathering Card Sells For Record-Breaking $3 Million And Fans Don’t Believe It

You don’t have to have ever played Magic: The Gathering to be familiar with its mythical Black Lotus: a powerful card from the game’s first set that now routinely fetches eye-popping amounts in the collectible market. But no Black Lotus, no matter how pristine or rare, has ever sold for $US3 million. It’s such a ridiculous amount that some fans can’t help but shake their heads in disbelief.

“An Alpha Black Lotus, graded by CGC Cards, just fetched a jaw-dropping $US3 MILLION, making it the highest-priced Magic: The Gathering card ever sold!” posted Certified Guaranty Company (CGC)—the Florida-based grading company that was the first to reveal the deal—on Instagram yesterday. “Its sky-high price demonstrates the high value collectors place on CGC Cards’ Pristine 10 grade.”

While an incredible marketing opportunity for CGC, which has also been making a name for itself in the world of vintage video game collecting, the card’s buyer says the transaction is completely legit. “It’s really hard to price these high-end cards, but I feel like $US3m is about right,” Instagram user told Kotaku in a DM. The buyer, whose collection includes sought after “grails” from other card games like Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon, added, “Maybe I did overpay a bit, but I’m not buying to flip it. In the long run, it should do fine.”

He said he’s been buying high-end MTG cards from the seller, Adam Cai, for years now. One of those was a 9.5 rated Black Lotus he said he paid $US880,000 for. Some of the rarest cards in the game are what’s known as the “power nine.” The cards from the earliest three sets, of which the Black Lotus is one, are so powerful they’re often thought of as the most broken MTG cards in the game’s history. said he previously assembled a set of them graded by Beckett Grading Services (BGS) valued at over $US5 million, but has now decided to build another power nine set graded by CGC. holds several rare “grails” from other popular card games as well.
Screenshot: / Kotaku

Many fans on the MagicTCG subreddit are in disbelief. A thread about the sale has some calling shenanigans, either speculating that it’s part of a concerted effort to inflate the marketplace, or just a stunt to promote CGC. It used to be considered impressive when a Black Lotus fetched over $US30,000 at auction. In the past few years, however, amidst a covid-fueled boom in collectibles and the growing reputation of certain specialty grading houses, the 1993 cards have gone for north of $US500,000. The rapper Post Malone famously bought an artist-signed one for over $US800,000.

Prior to this $US3 million sale, the record price for a MTG card was $US2 million. That was how much Post Malone paid for the One Ring, a single-print variant included in the popular Lord of the Rings crossover set released last summer. Unlike Black Lotuses, there was literally only one of these cards in existence. It might not have had the aura of decades of collectible lore surrounding it, but that fact coupled with the eccentricity of a rich celebrity helped rationalize the absurd price.

That’s harder to do with’s $US3 million Black Lotus, although the 10 out of 10 grade from CGC helps. “In terms of alpha lotuses, this is the top two in existence,” he said. “There are only two pristines, a BGS 10 and this CGC pristine 10.” As for CGC’s involvement, said they asked him before disclosing his record-breaking private purchase. “I’m sure CGC is ecstatic about this transaction and announcing it helps them. They did ask me for permission to do it and I was fine with it. I do like CGC a lot and hope they do well.”

Update 5/8/2024 9:15 a.m. ET: The buyer has now confirmed that the $US3 million Black Lotus purchase was made with cryptocurrency. “The card was paid in [Bitcoin] with 2 payments,” told PC Gamer, “late last year and this year.”

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