The Most Expensive Magic Card Ever Sold

While this one may seem like a different kind of “magic” than you normally see here, this is a popular request from our readers and commenters.

You’ve probably heard of Magic: The Gathering, a collectible card game born in the early 1990s and the first trading cards game ever created. It was created by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast.

As expected, almost all trends of that time have now been replaced with technology and online games. However, Magic: The Gathering, also known as MtG, is still popular to this day and has its own league of devoted fans, reaching twenty million players by 2015.

The game has actually become popular to the extent that its collectible cards often come with expensive price tags. One, in particular, is the most sought-after of all time.

It’s also the most expensive magic card ever sold, and it’s the one we’ll be discussing today.

The Black Lotus

The Black Lotus card is one of the rarest and most important cards ever to come out of Magic: The Gathering.

It’s one of nine cards in the Power Nine set, which is a collection of powerful cards that were printed only in the game’s early history. Black Lotus is the single rarest card of them all.

The full Power Nine set includes:

  • Black Lotus
  • Ancestral Recall
  • Time Walk
  • Timetwister
  • Mox Emerald
  • Mox Ruby
  • Mox Sapphire
  • Mox Pearl
  • Mox Jet


Magic: The Gathering has had several decks printed since its inception, and they all include many differences. The Black Lotus has been featured in almost all decks.

The first print of the whole set of 295 cards with black borders was called the Alpha deck and it featured 1,100 Black Lotus cards.

A Beta deck was released soon after, which included 3,300 Black Lotus cards. It also added more playing cards and corrected errors on some of the originals.

The following deck included the same cards as the Beta print, except it featured white borders instead of black. The Unlimited deck is being printed to this day!

Printing of the Black Lotus was halted permanently soon after, due to the sheer havoc it could cause during a game when played.


The Black Lotus magic card is expensive for a reason. Besides being the rarest card to come out of the game, it’s also a very powerful one.

Last year, a mint condition Alpha-deck Black Lotus card with a 9.5 Beckett score sold for $166,100 on eBay, which is more than double what a similar card sold for two months before.

The card’s value also increases drastically as time passes. Seven months before the sale of the 9.5 Black Lotus card, another Black Lotus card, with a Beckett score of 9, sold for just $87,672.

That’s almost a 100% increase in value, further proving that the Black Lotus’s popularity is steadily increasing as competition grows.

Of all the types of Black Lotus cards ever made, the Alpha-deck ones are the most expensive due to their scarcity.


This card offers the player a great jumpstart in the early stages of a Magic game by granting three mana.

If you haven’t played the game before, mana is used to power spells and summon creatures, making it your primary resource in the game that allows you to move forward.

The card is also played at zero cost, meaning there are no downsides to playing it.

In fact, the card is so powerful that it’s been banned from all official Legacy tournaments. However, its use in Vintage tournaments is allowed, although restricted.


Of all the magic cards ever printed, the Black Lotus is the rarest. At the time when it was being printed during the game’s earlier days, 1,100 cards were made in the Alpha deck.

Black Lotus cards continued to be printed in the Beta and Unlimited decks. However, in 1999, the card was deemed too powerful for the game, which is when its print was permanently stopped.

To put the limited quantity in a better perspective, two billion cards were sold by 1997. Black Lotus cards make a tiny number of that total. The number of Black Lotus cards since then has grown smaller, considering they’re no longer being printed like their more common counterparts.

Although a small number of Black Lotus cards are available in the world today, replicas have been made by unauthorized makers not affiliated with the game’s creators.


The Black Lotus card is the most recognizable playing card in today’s world.

It features an illustration of a black lotus in the foreground with green vegetation in the background. It was painted by artist Christopher Rush who was an employee of Wizards of the Coast at the time.

Richard Garfield, the game’s creator, favored the concept of strength being contained in a flower and its delicacy. He thought it gave it a more unique look when compared to other items that signified power, such as rings.


Magic: The Gathering is a game that requires dedicated and passionate players who are willing to spend plenty of time and money on this activity.

As with all collectibles, the cards are meant to be treasured and kept in excellent condition so as not to ruin their value. Even if you owned an original Black Lotus, it wouldn’t sell for much if it’s in any condition less than mint.

If you’re looking to get your hands on a Black Lotus, keep in mind that the Alpha-deck versions are the most expensive and that the competition for it is fierce!

It’s also a highly replicated item, so be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Here’s an interesting video to watch that’ll give you some clues as to how to spot the differences between a real Black Lotus and a fake one.

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