Guy opens old Magic: The Gathering deck, stumbles on $27,000 card

What was a routine opening of an original Magic:The Gathering deck turned into an accidental discovery of one of the Holy Grails of Magic cards.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Black Lotus Magic card

This card is quite the find.

openboosters; video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

One of the joys of playing Magic: The Gathering is opening up a fresh deck of cards, never knowing exactly what you might find inside. There's always hope you might come across something rare and powerful, but you never really know. A Magic collector recently unboxed an old alpha starter deck, one of the very first decks ever made for the game. Fortunately, he captured it on video, because he uncovered one of the rarest cards in existence: the Black Lotus.

For non-Magic fans, this would be the equivalent of finding an original Mickey Mantle Topps baseball card. Only 1,100 Black Lotus alpha-deck cards were ever printed. The same card sold for $27,302 on eBay last year. Currently an ultrarare beta-deck Black Lotus is up on the auction site with an asking price of $100,000.

The deck opening starts off normal enough. Our friendly and knowledgeable Magic fan delicately breaks the plastic packaging with a sharp knife, slides the deck out and just as carefully unseals the cards while humming. He wears blue gloves and takes the job seriously, like a surgeon going to work, careful not to cause any collateral damage.

Common cards are first up, including scathe zombies, circle of protection and a mountain. The list continues, a catalog of cards that aren't crazy exciting. Then, among islands and unicorns, magic happens. The final card elicits a yelping combination of happiness and surprise along with "That's the freaking Black Lotus!" The discovery is followed by a laughing celebration and "I did it. Holy mackerel. It's right there. It's an alpha Lotus!"

The unboxing video is one of a series of similar videos in which a Magic fan with the YouTube username of openboosters opens up old decks from his personal collection. A later close-up video of the rare card shows some minor creasing from the wrapping along with some minuscule imperfections, which could impact any eventual sale price.

Openboosters replied to a query from Crave, noting that the card is now in the hands of Beckett Grading Service, a company that authenticates and grades cards. "Some day I may sell the Black Lotus, but for now I will keep it. It is very hard to part with something that you open yourself," openboosters tells Crave.

Update 2:45 p.m. PT: To include response from openboosters about plans for the card.

(Via Kotaku)