In the Magic: The Gathering card game, each trading card contains a picture created by an artist. The card artwork is often commissioned by Wizards of the Coast for newly created cards. WOTC hires artists from all over the world to create beautiful scenery, mystical creatures, heroes, and other pieces of fantasy art. The pieces are created with various methods and materials. Some artists also create their work digitally. Artists can keep their original paintings once WOTC is done transforming it into a trading card. These paintings, along with related sketches, are often sold to the public.
There are multiple platforms available for purchasing original artwork related to MTG. A quick search on Ebay will display multiple pieces available to purchase. Many artists have a personal website where original artwork is listed for sale. Another website with multiple pieces for sale is the Original Magic Art Store. The most active community centered around buying and selling original MTG related artwork is a public Facebook group called the MTG Art Market.
The MTG Art Market contains over 7,000 members. Sketches and original paintings are sold each week. Often, artwork related to new MTG cards is exclusively sold through the group. The three most common types of artwork available to purchase are sketches, color studies, and paintings. Sketches are preliminary drawings of artwork found on MTG cards. Color studies are preliminary paintings to decide on the final color profile and lighting for a painting. Some artists create a color study as a reference for digital creations. Original paintings are the final pieces selected to display on MTG cards.
Artwork is sold through the Facebook group as an auction or BIN (Buy It Now) price. Final selling prices vary between sketches, color studies, and paintings. Prices also vary based on the popularity of the card that contains the artwork, the size of the piece, the artist, and other factors. Each artwork has its own unique set of characteristics that can impact a final sale price. While estimating the value of a piece can be difficult, there are general price ranges depending on the type of artwork.
Sketches are the cheapest option to own original MTG artwork. Their prices generally start around $200. It is rare for a sketch to sell for over $800. There may even be multiple sketches of an original painting. Color studies are the next level in pricing between sketches and original paintings. The floor price for a color study is about $400. Prices for color studies can increase to between $1,000 and $2,000. If a physical color study was done for a digital piece, the price is typically higher than average since a painting does not exist. When purchasing original paintings, the lowest starting price is around $1,500. More often, paintings sell between $3,000 and $6,000. On rare occasions, paintings can sell for over $10,000. There are always exceptions to ranges and general rules of thumb. For example, the original painting for Lotus Field from Core 2020 sold for $40,000. In addition, the sketch sold for $1,400. There are multiple reasons why these original pieces sold for a large sum of money.
Artwork is fun, beautiful, interesting, and inspiring. However, collecting artwork can become an expensive hobby. When purchasing any piece of MTG artwork, read the full description of the piece before placing a bid. Know when the auction ends and how to place a bid. Pay attention to any additional fees such as shipping, sales tax, and customs. Try to have a maximum bid amount in mind. In addition, avoid letting emotions drive bidding beyond a level of comfort.
The Mighty Meeple is a hobby store located across the street from Concord Mills at 8440 Pit Stop Court NW #180. They are open seven days a week with reduced hours on Sunday. Meeple sells board games, trading card games, miniatures, and other related tabletop gaming products. There is ample gaming space inside the store for playing all varieties of tabletop gaming. You can find a schedule of weekly events on their website or by contacting the store directly.
Meeple is known around the local area as a premier store for the Magic: The Gathering trading card game. They sell packs, singles, deck sleeves, and other related products. I regularly attend their Tuesday evening Standard format event. They also offer Friday Night Magic and special weekend events. I have gotten to know many local players by visiting the store.
In addition to gaming space for MTG, they offer multiple tables for other tabletop games such as Warhammer 40,000. You can find players using the tables every Saturday. Meeple sells painting supplies and miniatures sets for players to build their armies.
Meeple is well-staffed by employees with a passion for gaming. They are friendly, knowledgeable, and able to answer questions about many tabletop games. The employees also manage gaming tournaments held weekly. Events typically start and end on time without issue. In addition, I find the store and bathrooms clean each time I visit. This is hard to accomplish on a consistent basis. I would recommend anyone near Concord, North Carolina to make a visit to Meeple.
There has been a large resurgence in iconic brands, shows, and toys from the childhood era of Millennials. This time frame includes the 1990s and early 2000s. An article on the rise of adults buying toys and the obsession with television reboots are just two examples of this phenomenon. One large growth category has been retro video games. An interesting article on the psychology of nostalgia involving retro video games links positive feelings and emotion with past memories. Other forms of gaming like board games and collectible card games have also benefited from increasing demand over the last few years.
Rise of Retro Arcade and Gaming Bars
Charlotte, NC and multiple cities across the United States have seen a growth spur in local retro arcade and gaming bars. There are currently multiple options to enjoy a beer and play retro games near Uptown Charlotte including Abari Game Bar, Lucky's Bar & Arcade, and Palmer St. Arcade Bar. If you are more interested in board games, Carolina Tabletop Games is worth the trip to Pineville, NC.
Growth of Collecting Retro Video Games
It only takes a quick search on Ebay to see the current demand for Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and other retro video games. Individuals are paying large sums of money to collect and acquire rare video games. The popularity of the NES Classic and SNES Classic further reinforce the point that retro gaming is in demand. The memories of the playing 999 hours in Final Fantasy VII or earning all of the stars in Mario 64 are hard to forget. I find that Millennials, such as myself, enjoy reliving great gaming moments of their childhoods. The other week, a friend and I attempted to gold trophy every circuit in Super Mario Kart for the SNES. After winning the standard circuits, we were unable to earn higher than bronze on the 100cc Special Circuit. How we were able to beat Rainbow Road in the past is beyond my comprehension.
Demand for Other Vintage Games
You have may heard a news story about someone paying $87,000 to acquire one the rarest and most powerful cards in the Magic: The Gathering card game. It is hard for most individuals to understand why a person would pay so much money for a 25 year old piece of cardboard. While I would never pay that amount of money for any collectible, I do know what it is like playing with cards you had as a teenager. Recently, I put together an Old School deck of Magic cards printed between 1993 and 1994. Many of the cards in the deck were staples in the first competitive deck I took to Friday Night Magic. Playing them all over again brought me feelings of excitement and joy. I have fond memories of my brother and I playing Magic on the living room floor for hours.
Can You Make Money Selling Retro Games?
While there is a demand for retro games, not all of them are valuable. The value of an item is determined by its condition, rarity, and market demand for it. One way to determine if a retro game has seen growth in value over time is to apply the price paid against inflation. The price you purchased an item at is very important for determining long-term profitability. For example, I purchased Ogre Battle 64 in 2000 at Best Buy for $49.99 (I found the receipt). The purchase price of the video game in today's dollars is about $70.00. If I sold it on Ebay tomorrow, I could probably get $75 considering its condition and market demand. After accounting for seller fees and shipping, I would actually lose money when comparing my profits against inflation.
One example of making money off retro games is selling a Mirror Universe trading card from Magic: The Gathering. Considering the current condition and demand for the card, I could sell it on Ebay for about $200.00. My brother and I actually purchased the card on Ebay back in 2002 for $40.00. Why is the card worth so much more today? This specific card had a low print run and does a unique effect in the game. In addition, this card is on a special no-reprint list. Considering these facts along with a growth in demand for old Magic Cards, I could make a nice profit today.
The value of retro games and other collectibles can change over time. Had I sold the video game or Magic card in the previous examples three years ago, I would have probably made back only what I paid. Now is a great time to look through old boxes for retro games you would sell. The current market has a strong demand for Millennial related retro gaming.