What determines the value of a card?

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In commemoration of the new trading forums out (which you can check out here: CLICK ME), I am taking a step out of the YuGiOh realm and making a general statement about trading.

When trading, I encourage you to take extra precaution so you don’t get ripped off.  The best way to do so is educate yourself about value.

There are two major influences on how much a trading card costs:

  • Supply – How many copies of the trading card are available?
  • Demand – How many copies of the trading card are desired?

Take a lesson from economics.  When demand goes up, the supply of a product goes down.  Unless that supply gets replaced, the price of the product will increase.

Consider the real-world example of Magic the Gathering cards.  With the recent change to the reserved list reprint policy, cards on the reserved list will no longer be reprinted.  The effect this has over the prices of staple cards can be seen already.   While some of the basic landtype duals (Volcanic Island, Savannah, etc) were only $25.00, they are currently going for $40.00 and up.  With no worry about the supply going up to devalue the cards, the prices for the cards can safely be increased.

What are some ways to prevent getting ripped off when trading?  Using the concepts of supply and demand, consider the following:

  • The value of the cards traded: Are you trading a Black Lotus for a Morphling?  Or giving a player Umezawa’s Jitte for some Hammers of Ruin?  Before you trade, consider the market value of both parties.  Is one card worth more monetarily than the other card?
  • The availability of the cards traded: How available are the cards to the players?  Are there a plethora of card shops being sold out with the product?  Are the cards out of print?  If the supply is low and the demand is high, then the price will rise.
  • The rarity of the card:  Rarity dictates how much of the card is printed.  A common card is more available than a rare card.  While rares are generally more expensive, don’t forget demand ties in to the value.  There are some rare cards (Mudhole, One with Nothing) that are not worth a lot of money despite their rarity.

Take note of how to determine the value of Magic cards from you own viewpoint.  Also, use sources such as other people and the Internet to help determine if your trade is fair.

Again, don’t forget to check out the forums here!
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