Obsessive Collector | Illustration by Reiko Murakami
Wizards has produced unique Magic products created with collectors in mind over the years. Collector’s boosters have recently been released alongside nearly every set with art cards, Secret Lair drops, and all sorts of Masterpiece of From the Vault printings. WotC’s first foray into collector product appeared 1993 in the Collector’s Edition and Collector’s Edition, International box sets.
What exactly were these unique collections? What’s in the box? Let’s take a closer look!
What Is Collector’s Edition?
Lord Xander, the Collector (Streets of New Capenna) | Illustration by Martina Fackova
The Collector’s Edition cards are a collection of Beta reprints that aren’t intended for regular play. One of each of the original Beta set were released together as a complete set of 363 cards.
The cards have a gold border, and their edges are cut at square angles rather than the standard “soft” angle of a regular Magic card. The backs feature the words “Collector’s Edition” or “International Edition” in gold lettering, depending on which printing they hail from.
All the original misprints and errors from that original run are also present since the cards are all original reprints of their Beta versions. All cards with art from Douglas Shuler miscredit him as “Schuler,” and the diacritical marks were omitted from Tom Wänerstrand’s and Brian Snõddy’s names.
When Did Collector’s Edition Come Out?
Collector’s Edition was released on December 10, 1993.
What’s in Collector’s Edition?
Each sealed Collector’s Edition box contains 363 gold-bordered, square-cornered Magic cards. 302 cards represent each of the original Beta cards, plus 61 basic land cards.
The cards are arranged in six plastic-wrapped packs, three with 55 cards each and three with 66. Their order in the packs is based on how they come off the print sheet, which explains the rare Islands.
How Much Is Collector’s Edition Worth?
Collector’s Edition boxes originally retailed for $49.95. These days a sealed box will run you a cool $22,000 dollars. Collector’s Edition: International set is even more expensive at $25,000 thanks to its limited print run.
How Many Collector’s Editions Are There?
Two Collector’s Edition sets were released at the same time. Former Wizards CEO Peter Adkinson has said that there were originally only supposed to be 10,000 sets of Collector’s Edition released. The printer shorted them about 1,000 to 1,500 sets and the release took off in Europe much more than anticipated, so another 5,000 International Edition sets were printed.
Why Was Collector’s Edition Created? Who’s It For?
Collector’s Edition was one of the first products aimed specifically at collectors. The first reprint set early in Magic’s history, Chronicles, caused a lot of hubbub and discontent amongst collectors since it devalued many of their rare cards.
WotC introduced the Reserved List in response, a list of cards they promised not to reprint to preserve their value on the secondary market. A lot of these valuable cards were from the original Alpha and Beta sets, so Collector’s Edition made it easier for a player to collect these cards without breaking the bank.
Is Collector’s Edition Legal in MTG?
Collector’s Edition cards aren’t legal in sanctioned tournament play.
Why Is Collector’s Edition Not Tournament Legal?
Collector’s Edition cards can’t be used in traditional decks for multiple reasons. First, they’re gold-bordered on both the front and back sides. The backs are also printed with the words “Collector’s Edition” or “International Edition” in gold lettering. The cards’ edges are also sharp right angles as opposed to the soft edges on regular Magic cards.
What’s the Difference Between Collector’s Edition and Normal Cards?
Collector’s Edition cards are gold-bordered on both sides, have sharp edges, and have the words “Collector’s Edition” or “International Edition” printed on their back side.
Collector’s Edition Contents
Aspect of Wolf
Wheel of Fortune
Wrath of God
Two-Headed Giant of Foriys
Helm of Chatzuk
Gauntlet of Might
Wall of Brambles
Goblin Balloon Brigade
Dwarven Demolition Team
Wall of Swords
Glasses of Urza
Wall of Water
Wall of Fire
Wall of Air
Circle of Protection: Green
Blue Elemental Blast
Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
Circle of Protection: White
Stream of Life
Circle of Protection: Red
Mons’s Goblin Raiders
Circle of Protection: Blue
Red Elemental Blast
Circle of Protection: Black
Wall of Wood
Howl from Beyond
Wall of Ice
Wall of Stone
Swords to Plowshares
Wall of Bone
Throne of Bone
Library of Leng
Rod of Ruin
Ankh of Mishra
Force of Nature
Roc of Kher Ridges
Lord of Atlantis
Word of Command
Contract from Below
Birds of Paradise
Lord of the Pit
Blaze of Glory
Sleight of Mind
Sunglasses of Urza
Is Collector’s Edition Worth Buying?
Collector’s Edition cards are an oddity among Magic cards. They aren’t tournament legal or even really playable alongside other cards, but they’ve only become more valuable with time. This is perhaps because of the comparatively limited print run, or because they’re some of the only non-Alpha, Beta, or Unlimited Reserved List cards available.
Singles from this set may interest you if you’re looking to invest in Magic cards like stocks. Take Mox Jet for example. An Alpha printing Mox Jet costs about $23,000, but the Collector’s Edition Mox Jet is only $850. These are both insanely expensive prices for a tiny cardboard square, but the Collector’s Edition version may make an easier entry point into the world of high-value Magic collecting.
It might be worth it to invest in a sealed Collector’s Edition or International Edition box and sit on it if you find yourself with $25,000 to blow on Magic someday. At $22,000 and $25,000 respectively, we can only expect to see these prices climb the more time passes from their initial release date in 1993. I’m confident there’ll always be whales out there ready to buy it off you.
But keep in mind that I’m not a financial advisor. Please don’t come back to this in a decade when WotC reissues the Collector’s Edition and cry that your box devalued.
Where to Buy Collector’s Edition
Luckily there’s no shortage of Collector’s Edition singles or sealed on the marketplace, you just need to know where to look! CardKingdom has sealed boxes of both Collector’s and International Edition available at market price.
You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled on sites like TCGPlayer and eBay, but sometimes you’ll be rewarded for your vigilance. A TCGplayer seller recently had a sealed Collector’s Edition box set up for sale at a $4,000 discount compared to CK’s.
Collector’s Edition singles can be bought through a lot of the usual online retailers. CardKingdom’s stock is usually the most complete, but TCGPlayer’s prices are usually better. Of course, eBay is never short of singles of various rarity from Collector’s Edition if you prefer to test your mettle against other bidders.
Tidy Conclusion | Illustration by Bastien L. Deharme
WotC began a line of products that would cater to Magic collectors rather than players for years to come with the release of Collector’s Edition. Its initial success and sustained value mean it achieved its goal of being a valuable one-time purchase for collectors.
Will you be scouring the web for some sealed Collector’s Edition boxes? Or maybe you’re just interested in picking up a few singles of your favorite Beta cards? Let me know in the comments or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and have fun collecting!
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