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Proxy MTG Black Lotus sells for $5,000 at auction

A copy of Magic: The Gathering’s 30th Anniversary Black Lotus sold for a premium at auction - despite not being legal in MTG tournaments.

MTG Black Lotus art by Wizards of the Coast

While many Magic: The Gathering fans took issue with the 30th Anniversary MTG Black Lotus card, one collector saw its value – and paid $5,125 (£4,222) for a copy at auction. A grade 9.5 reprint of Magic’s most expensive card was sold via Heritage Auctions on October 26.

The MTG Black Lotus is widely admired for its power and rarity. Printed for the first-ever MTG set, only 22,800 copies are estimated to exist, with only 1,100 copies of the coveted ‘Alpha’ version in circulation. These Alphas are among the most expensive Magic cards in history – with the priciest sold to Post Malone for $800,000.

Wizards of the Coast reprinted the Black Lotus as part of its 30th Anniversary Edition set. Priced at $999, each set includes 15 reprinted cards from the original Magic set – though they had unique card backs that prevent legal tournament play and stop Wizards from upsetting the MTG Reserved List.

MTG Black Lotus 30th Anniversary Edition sold by Heritage Auctions

Magic: The Gathering fans angrily criticized the product when it was first announced, lamenting the price and accusing Wizards of the Coast of printing MTG proxies. It seems this criticism hasn’t deterred bidders at Heritage Actions.

The card sold uses a modern border rather than the alternative, ‘retro’ borders that were also available in the MTG 30th Anniversary Edition set. A retro border would only have pushed up the price – as retro reprints are sometimes valued higher than the original card, and a retro 30th Anniversary Black Lotus is estimated to be worth $15,000.

For more of the latest Magic news, here’s all you need to know about the MTG 2023 release schedule and what’s coming up on the MTG release schedule in 2024. For digital trading card game players, we can also recommend the best MTG Arena decks and MTG Arena codes.