Dear Squee Vol. 3
Our favorite Audio Engineer Squee McGee answers the Collective’s most burning questions!!
How would you suggest one begins the organization of a daunting amount of cards? Do you keep everything and work it in phases? Get rid of bulk and start with a smaller amount and hopefully keep up on it?
– James See (@Baynne720)
Dear Mr. See,
Thank you for the softball to talk about my box of gold… YET AGAIN!!!! 🙂
For those unaware I recently purchased a large lot of 20,000 cards and have spent a significant amount of time sorting through them. This couldn’t be more topical to my recent experience. Now… I am taking a liberty in thinking that the amount of cards you are talking about is in this range, but I believe the things I have learned from my experience will be useful across the spectrum.
Where to begin?
This certainly depends on how the cards are currently stored. If they are in boxes and binders, then I would say dive in and start digging. If they are jumbled about(i.e. In a bag, shoebox, etc…) I would first recommend getting everything into easy to look through stacks, and remove any damaged cards that you come across. On the same note as damaged cards, I would also remove any basic lands and set them all aside as you see them.
After finding(wayyyy too much value) in my collection purchase, I can’t recommend discarding bulk without taking a look through it. So often in MTG, yesterday’s trash is today’s treasure. Common cards like Thought Vessel are pushing 10 dollars right now.
Card Collections Meet Phasing:
While looking through my collection I came up with a 4 phase method to ensure you find everything that has value. This will also save you some mental anguish by the end of it all.
Phase 1 – Research: Do a quick scan and take note of what set symbols you see. From here, I highly recommend going to a site like mtggoldfish.com and researching the high value cards. This will serve two fold… it will refresh you on cards that you already know about and bring to light targets you weren’t aware of. Prices change so often it is always nice to get a refresher.
Phase 2 – High Value Scan: Now that you have a good idea of what cards are your high value targets it’s time to start digging! In this phase, you are doing a fast paced dig to find your high dollar mythics, rares, uncommons, and in some cases commons. Pull all of these aside and give them a separate box.
Phase 3 – Organize by Set: Once you have pulled all of the high value targets, it is time to organize your cards by set. This is about as simple as it sounds… take the set symbols and mash ‘em together!
Phase 4 – Organize by Color and Rarity: The last step is to sort the cards in each set by color, then by rarity. I think this is particularly important for bulk cards. If you have cards in the future that skyrocket in value you can easily come back to you cards by set, color, and rarity.
The second reason I like sorting cards like this is to increase the value of the bulk cards you own. It is much easier to negotiate a decent resale price when you take pre-sorted cards to a shop. It reduces their legwork, lets them know you have a good idea of what a fair price is, and builds confidence between you and the buyer. If I were a card shop and someone brought in 10k worth of bulk unsorted common/uncommon cards, I would likely decline to purchase them(The only exception here is if the cards are from pre 2000). There is far too much time spent organizing low potential cards to turn a profit.
Enjoy the Process:
There is something endearing about looking through Magic cards. Put on some music, grab a beverage, and dive in!