Chronicling a Piece of MtG History

In case there was any doubt, I’ve been a nerd for a long time:

  • My first game of D&D was in 1984.
  • I’ve been playing Warhammer (in one form or another) since 1993.
  • I started playing Magic: the Gathering, well, I’m not sure about this one.

I know that Magic was released in 1993 and I graduated high school in 1994.  I know that Unlimited packs were still available for sale when I started playing, and I may have bought some of them at the time (though the frugality of my nature would’ve more than likely steered me away from them towards revised).  I also know that we spent a far bit of time playing magic in the hallways at school, which is where the dilemma lies.  If revised didn’t come out until April of 1994, and my last day of school was in May of 1994, it would seem logical that I played a bit before revised.

I did buy a lot of Antiquities back in the day, so it stands to reason that I was playing in March as well.  I guess then I must’ve had at least a few packs of unlimited (though I never recall opening any of the power 9, in case you were wondering).

I got out of the game on multiple occasions.  The first time was when Legends was released.

wh39kChronicles (4) (Medium)Can that be right?  I know that I pre-ordered a box of legends, and then wound up selling that back to the store for cost, and then a week later, realizing it was worth 10x that much.  That much I’m certain about, but did I really get out of magic completely at that point?  Something tells me that just wouldn’t have been long enough.  No, I think I just sold the box of Legends back at that point.  It would’ve been a few sets before I’d get out of magic completely.  My best guess would be that I lasted until about Mirage (so 1996), before I sold everything.  I don’t know what I had exactly at that point in time, but I do know at one point I’d owned 80ish dual lands, and my most power was I’d owned 9 moxes at one time, along with a time walk (which was my first piece of power 9, and the only one I never seemed to trade away).

I think I got about $1,000 when I got out of the game, which was probably a little more than I’d invested (monetarily) at the time.  That was long before I was keeping track of my frugal gaming goals (long before I even had such goals).  But I was pretty lucrative with trading back in the day, so it’s entirely possible I made some profit on it (I’d honestly guess I made quite a bit, but that was so long ago, it’s impossible to know for sure).  I did get back in once or twice, but never with that same passion.  I still collect cards, but mostly just commons and uncommons (who am I kidding, you can see my spending in my annual frugal gaming page).

I guess the point of all of this inane rambling is that I’m fairly old school, as far as gaming goes–and certainly as far as Magic goes.  Heck, I was once ranked the third best player in the state, and I was certified as a level two judge.  I’ve been playing, off-and-on, since essentially when the game was released.  I’ve had big money collections, played in tournaments, and played plenty of casual/kitchen table magic.

So, now that I’m a little more affluent than I was when I was younger, I have money to blow on frivolities.  I’ve been watching Ebay for a while looking for a classic set of magic cards in uncut sheet form.  These are collector’s items to some extent, and I guess I’m a collector, but I don’t see myself that way.  I just wanted a piece of artwork to hang on my wall.  Ideally, it would’ve been something from back when I first started playing, and something in black  border, but they’re pretty few and far between and, quite frankly, more than my budget-conscious mind is willing to pay.  I did find some sheets of Legends and The Dark at one point, but those went as high as $768 per sheet, so I walked away.

One seller had listed a sheet of Chronicles uncommons, which was white bordered, but essentially had cards from all of the other sets that I’d played with.  He wanted something in the realm of $700 for the sheet, but I wasn’t willing to pay that.  I did offer him $400ish, but he turned me down.  Months later, that same guy wound up putting the sheet up for open auction, and I wound up winning it for $213.50 (including shipping).

The sheet was damaged a bit in shipping, and I tried to work with the seller for some compensation, but the fact of the matter was, I got such a good deal, that I was going to keep it even if it was damaged.  I’m not a collector, after all, so some nicks in the sides wouldn’t lower it’s value.  Besides, I think he was really miffed that he left several hundred dollars on the table.  I also bought a frame for this at $224.61 (including shipping to Washington) and had a friend bring it up to me.  I didn’t count either of these purchase amounts against my frugal spending for the year, based upon the discussion we had about my card catalog.  This was largely seen as a piece of furniture/decoration, and I figured artwork fell into a similar category.

The frame, in case you were wondering, came from a company called American Frame, and they do great work.  It was pretty pricey, but the thing was ignormous.  It also came with some great cardboard in it that I’m going to use for priming/dipping models in the future.

wh39kChronicles (2) (Medium)So, here is a crappy photo of the sheet hanging in my painting room (that I never use for painting–it’s really just referred to as “the fourth room,” and more of a storage room).  I wanted to hang it in a position where it wasn’t going to be exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, so that it doesn’t fade over time (or at least, does so minimally).

So yeah, I spent almost $500 on a piece of art (which, is more than double what I’ve paid for any other piece of art I own), but it comes with memories, and was arguably quite a steal as far as price was concerned.  Not that I plan on selling it, but a big part of who I am is wrapped up in whether or not “I got a good deal.”   Sure, it’s nice to look at, but it’s also nice to have that thought racing around in the back of my head that I got a good deal when I bought it as well…


6 comments on “Chronicling a Piece of MtG History

  1. That’s a pretty awesome wall decoration. I didn’t even think about the sheets being an option (originally thought you made that yourself out of cards!). That’s a really neat idea!

    • Yeah, I’m pretty happy with it. Granted, I’d have loved it to be a more valuable set, but this works just fine based upon the price. Back when I played, I didn’t even know there were such things as uncut sheets available for purchase, and it doesn’t seem like many people know about it now. I guess they routinely give away sheets for current sets as prizes for big tournaments. I’m not as hip to the new cards as I am the old ones though.

      On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 6:57 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


  2. Thank you for sharing your Magic history. A good read and the new artwork looks good. I always think if something makes you happy and reflects your identity so nicely 500 Dollars is indeed a steal.

    • Thanks. I know they probably shouldn’t be, but reassuring words from relative strangers are oddly comforting. Thanks for taking the time to comment again. 🙂

      On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 11:20 AM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


    • Part of me wants to say “why not bring them back,” but the issue I have is that I own a fair number of decks, but have nobody to play with…

      On Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 10:46 PM, Warhammer 39,9999 wrote:


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