Magic: The Gathering's most iconic card just sold for a cool $166,100 US dollars. A listing for an extremely well-kept Black Lotus on eBay ended just under a week ago, with the winning big coming in at the kind of price total usually reserved for people interested in buying a sports car or rental property.
Magic: The Gathering has been making waves online with the release of Magic Arena, but its tabletop presence remains a fixture of the game that is unlikely to go away any time soon. The popular trading card game has been around since 1993, and cards like the Black Lotus, which was available in the game's very first set, have seen their value increase as time goes on. The Black Lotus has been a pop culture reference many times before, even when it's price was more reasonable, but recent years have seen near-mint copies of the card skyrocket in price as collectors scramble to scoop up the precious few that remain in circulation.
That scramble resulted in a 9.5 (out of 10) graded Black Lotus selling for $166,100 on eBay last week, a sale that immediately rocketed that variant of the card's price to nearly double what it had historically sold for. Only seven months ago, a different copy that achieved the same grading sold for a paltry $87,672. That kind of price increase isn't unheard of for collectibles, but it is a remarkably fast appreciation for a card that only a select number of people are looking for in the first place.
The newest Black Lotus sale is an indicator of a collectible market that is exploding as more wealthy people with what used to be considered 'nerdy' hobbies begin to flex their financial muscle. The rise of cryptocurrency saw a number of people interested in games like Magic: The Gathering suddenly have enough money to indulge in the game's most lucrative secondary markets, resulting in price spikes across the board for cards that are protected under Wizards of the Coasts' Reserve List policy. That policy states certain cards can never be reprinted again, including Black Lotus. However many copies of that card currently exist, that's all there will ever be.
Of course, not all of Magic: The Gathering is about expense. Magic Arena has provided a huge boost to Magic esports potential, and is free-to-play with microtransactions for those who want to speed their collections along. There's no Black Lotus in Arena, and no secondary market to speak of, so if the idea of sinking six figures into a small, rectangular piece of cardboard made over 25 years ago doesn't appeal to you, at least there's always an alternative way of acquiring Magic cards instead.