Friday, May 1, 2015

Sorting Magic Cards

It's just one box of old Magic Cards. How hard could it be to sort them all and price them?

Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahahahahaha!

The art is pretty cool on many of these.
Taste of Paradise--old Alliances card
(as seen on StarCityGames)
No, actually, it's not all that rough once I figured out the basics; I haven't played Magic since middle school, and this foot-long box of cards (the remnants of my brother's and my collection, and mostly his) isn't exactly the wildest of collections. Assembled back in the ages when mass-printing nearly ruined the game (all our cards are 3rd or 4th edition, with a few packs of Ices Ages and Alliances thrown in), they're for the most part not particularly valuable--and for that matter, many of them had to be culled for having our initials on the back.

Yeah, there was at time when the company recommended kids do that. Not so much, anymore.

The time has come to sell the set, since these decades we're more into other things--my geekeries are more video games and D&D and wedding planning; his being a dad and working and Ultimate Frisbee. Time stop letting the cards go to lonely waste in their box in the attic.

Binding Grasp is pretty
cool, too.
(Image from StarCityGames)
But going through the box has brought up a few good memories, and sharing the too-played and damaged rejects with friends has brought out good memories for them. Plus it's a good way to excuse a Netflix marathon, because a task as mind-numbing as "search the name of the card online and then enter it into the spreadsheet" really doesn't have much else going for it.

I've discovered a reasonable strategy for this process:

Sort by color first.

Then take a handful of a color and alphabetize it.

Separate the alphabetized stack into many stacks, one pile for 3 letters.

Take another handful of the same color. Alphabetize it. Then stick into the appropriate stacks. Continue until there's no more of that color remaining.
Wall of Air, one of the cards I have--
as seen on StarCityGames

Then, one stack at a time, go through StarCityGames, identify the edition and the type of card, and write down the price. Keep track by color, card name, and edition. If needed, note the illustrator/design of the card.

Move on to the next color.

So what is there to learn from this process? Mostly, patience. Don't rush; dropping cards and letting them get out of order throws off the whole process. And whatever you do, don't forget to make sure you're working in the correct cell.

Also, the art on the old cards is pretty fun. 

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