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 Post subject: How do YOU determine value?
AgePosted: 2009-Mar-29 2:03 pm 

Joined: 2007-Aug-09 7:38 pm
Age: Drake
I will spare you my complete ‘Magic’ life story, but the topic I want to cover is how you trade cards. I played competitively, mostly type 2 from Mercadian Masques to Time Spiral before tossing in the towel because I wasn’t performing at a level I wanted to and didn’t want to take the time to get to that next level, i.e. the Pro Tour. When I was active, I had a very good grasp on what card were worth, and I’ve completely fallen off the wagon since Planar Chaos. Now, with the death of BOTH Inquest (or IQ Gamer as they called themselves for like, a year) and Scrye Magazines, how do you determine value of your cards/other people’s cards for trading?

In recent months, I’ve tried to balance eBay prices and another place on the internet that tracks prices of online card shops to try and find the median of the two, but it’s still hard sometimes to agree with someone on how much a card is really worth. Thankfully, the EDH players in my area are really cool when it comes to trading and try not to take things too seriously; it is after all a casual format. Your input is welcome!

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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-29 2:20 pm 
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Joined: 2007-Aug-22 6:34 pm
Age: Dragon
Location: Pennsylvania
Generally I price cards based on a combination of www.findmagiccards.com, www.magictraders.com, www.cardshark.com, and www.ebay.com . Usually I just estimate values, ask them what they think they are worth, ask others sometimes, and try to make the trades as even as possible. I have a pretty good idea of what most cards are worth. I use FindMagicCards most often.

norbert88

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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-29 4:08 pm 

Joined: 2009-Mar-08 1:02 pm
Age: Drake
We usually just go with the starcity prices around here.


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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-29 5:26 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Apr-09 1:32 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
my local store uses starcity, and my group's Human Price Guide (aka cmb_master) uses starcity.

Personally I have no clue when people started asking "How much do you value this card?" (Or at least, here in Toronto that is abundant, please tell me if that's not the case in your areas) It seems that people are obsessive about matching the exact value of the cards, making sure that, for example, they're getting $33 worth of cards in exchange for $33 worth of cards (in most cases even a couple dollars difference isn't enough, the guy lacking a couple dollars will demand that "something small" to be thrown in, usually a junk rare or a foil common/basic land). I can see that one does not want to get ripped off, but to that degree? It seemed like a trend that started overnight, because I do remember for a while when I did not have to discuss numbers.

Sorry for the rant. I hate discussing numbers. My own view is that if you are happy and I am happy and the price is about right, I'll trade. To keep things easy for me, I round up/down a lot, usually to the nearest $5, depending on the card's playability in decks. Cards that are worth $15 or above have pretty specific numbers, I don't round those. Still, because I am so sick of people who insist on getting dollar for dollar (or, implicitly, ripping you off by a couple dollars just because of card value), I prefer to let the other person calculate first, and then either be nice or be mean to them depending on how they want to trade.

ps. about "price is about right"...depends on the trade actually. When it comes to trading casual-playable rares, I go by number of cards involved in the trade because they're all worth the same anyway, ie. not much.

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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-29 6:17 pm 
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Joined: 2008-Feb-27 4:47 pm
Age: Wyvern
Location: Madison, WI
I use MOTL where it's best: cards of value <$5 which are popular. (after $5, the effect of shipping becomes less of a factor, and popular cards will have larger auction counts and better distributions of data for the average)

Outside of that, I tend to not care which store someone wants to use, as all I care about is the relational value of cards at that point, and there isn't a ton of variation (usually) between different sites in this respect.

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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-30 1:11 am 

Joined: 2009-Feb-12 5:15 pm
Age: Wyvern
the lowest possible price at that point and time, shipping included of course


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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-30 8:47 am 
EDH Rules Committee
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Joined: 2006-May-24 10:14 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
I hate it when people try to tell you their cards are worth Star City prices (high) and yours are worth Ebay prices (low). As soon as someone asks "How much do you value you that at?" I know they're trying to be sketchy on the trade.

The best trade is where both people are happy AND no reasonable third person would think one of them got screwed (like if some kid trades his Mox Jet for a Shivan Dragon).

Nothing will earn my wrath faster than some xp'd trader trying to rip off a newb.

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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-30 9:18 am 
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Joined: 2007-Sep-21 8:22 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I kinda just trade in my playgroup so I have no idea what the value of the cards are...I just hope they're giving me enough in return for what they take! LoL...okay seriously EBAY is decently accurate global market price because dealers constantly scrounge for deals there (it's their job...you can forgive them because it's their job...) To get a high/low feel for demand you can search the common card shops online (SCG/anycraze/randomsites) and see # available and then adjust according to that.

The most important thing to sustainable trade groups is assuring that you would be willing to undo the trade, so if someone comes back the next day and goes "dude you took my $20 card and gave me a $5 rare" you would be willing to undo it because you'd projected the $20 to go down to $10 and the $5 to go up to $10 so you were equivalent value in your mind and you don't care. That's how we solved the trade value dilemma in my small town growing up, because too many people would try to rip off people so we just removed them from trading altogether. If you find a guy who's willing to do a trade either way, you've found a good trade partner and you don't really have to worry about value. When you're dealing with assholes who obviously are distorting value to give themselves an advantage I would walk away from the deal EVERY TIME. I mean...obviously this isn't from an income and growing your investment perspective...but anyway...

Oh, and the best absolutely the BEST way to trade evenly is to get valuations for ALL cards individually, for both sides, and then to selectively remove cards that are valued incorrectly to balance the valuation of both sides. Thus, when you cut a card he claims is $5 and he cuts his valuation to $3 you achieve the sort of trade-off that is natural, so it's an extremely easy method that you can use to achieve these value trade-offs. Now if you're telling me you can't tell an approximate price for the card with ebay/starcity/anycraze/motl prices and working with a guy who is doing singe card valuations and willing to perform the trades either way...that would be a pretty difficult environment to perform trades in.


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 Post subject:
AgePosted: 2009-Mar-30 9:34 am 
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Joined: 2006-May-24 10:14 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Tampa, FL, USA
I also consider *now* value with *later* value, at least on stuff I'm trading away. I thought that foil Sol Ring (which I believe will maintain nearly its current value forever, since it's out of print) is a good straight-up trade for foil Bitterblossom, since the latter will definitely lose value when it rotates out. I appreciated that the guy didn't want to make the trade, but I considered it a fair deal, regardless of what "book" value is.

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AgePosted: 2009-Mar-31 3:20 pm 

Joined: 2006-Jul-14 12:02 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Wherever I may roam
I agree with Sheldon's assessment of now value vs later value, I'm always reluctant to part with e.g. real duals unless I'm after cards I feel will retain their value in the same king of way (just like $20 bills will, really)...

At the heart of it I'm a firm believer that both parties should come out of a trade feeling happy with what they got.


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 Post subject:
AgePosted: 2009-Mar-31 4:29 pm 
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Joined: 2008-May-04 6:05 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Wisconsin
I go by my personal price guide. I keep up enough with local and major events, including every format, so I know when to get rid of cards like Reflecting Pools, Mutavaults, Cryptic Commands. The reason I go by what I think a card is worth is because I can gaurentee I'll come out of the deal ahead or I won't bother trading. Like Sheldon, I agree. You must understand how rotations and metagames will effect card value.

Here are tips when trading with someone you don't regularly trade with:

A. Ask what they want first. If you have cards they want you can automatically price them higher.
B. If they ask if you are looking for anything, they answer is ALWAYS no. This allows you to price things lower.
C. Let them look first. Through your binder/box first.
D. When you look through their stuff, look through everything they have. You never know what gems are hiding.
E. Never act interested. Point at the card and see if they want to trade it. If they hesitate, don't bother they'll price it higher because they are not as interested in trading it.
F. You make the first deal. Start very low, to show that you aren't very interested.
G. Let them counter offer, and don't be afraid to walk away from a deal, even if there are cards you really want.
H. Never get personally attached to a card. If you are given an awesome deal for a $50+ card, do it.


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 Post subject:
AgePosted: 2009-Mar-31 5:44 pm 

Joined: 2008-Jun-20 7:38 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I trade pretty much the way Sheldon does, with the exception of Standard legal cards, but that's pretty much because Standard is the only thing people play here besides EDH among the over 20 crowd.

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 Post subject:
AgePosted: 2009-Apr-01 5:01 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-02 10:17 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Doraemon wrote:
Personally I have no clue when people started asking "How much do you value this card?" (Or at least, here in Toronto that is abundant, please tell me if that's not the case in your areas) It seems that people are obsessive about matching the exact value of the cards, making sure that, for example, they're getting $33 worth of cards in exchange for $33 worth of cards (in most cases even a couple dollars difference isn't enough, the guy lacking a couple dollars will demand that "something small" to be thrown in, usually a junk rare or a foil common/basic land). I can see that one does not want to get ripped off, but to that degree? It seemed like a trend that started overnight, because I do remember for a while when I did not have to discuss numbers.


everybody has easy access to online price guides nowadays. The problem is that most stores have a huge profit margin (buy goyf @ 15, sell at 30-50), and prices are a reflection of what THEY have available, not what IS available.

For this reason i use ebay as a guide on what cards are worth, as this is an open market, though ebay isnt very practical for trading (takes to long).

American_Kid wrote:
Here are tips when trading with someone you don't regularly trade with:

A. Ask what they want first. If you have cards they want you can automatically price them higher.
B. If they ask if you are looking for anything, they answer is ALWAYS no. This allows you to price things lower.
C. Let them look first. Through your binder/box first.
D. When you look through their stuff, look through everything they have. You never know what gems are hiding.
E. Never act interested. Point at the card and see if they want to trade it. If they hesitate, don't bother they'll price it higher because they are not as interested in trading it.
F. You make the first deal. Start very low, to show that you aren't very interested.
G. Let them counter offer, and don't be afraid to walk away from a deal, even if there are cards you really want.
H. Never get personally attached to a card. If you are given an awesome deal for a $50+ card, do it.


I think these are some good tips. I dont want to rip anyone off (well part of me does :twisted: ), but i REALLY dont want to get ripped off. A guy at the store once said to me during a deal: "I always ask what people think their cards are worth, because some say their duals are worth 25 euro and mine 12,50". Weirdly enough it turns out that my Reanimate is worth 1 euro at best, and his 4th Strip Mine is worth 3 euro's, laughing when i say its probably the other way around. **** YOU!

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 Post subject:
AgePosted: 2009-Apr-02 2:10 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-25 3:51 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
I try to trade based on personal value with starcity to back me up on prices. I use starcity as a baseline but if I really need a card and the other guy is reasonable it's fine. That's my general attitude I have towards trading, particularly when I'm in a good mood.

I think as a newer player/player with a smaller collection you're more protective as the amount you care varies. I have a relatively small collection of rares so I'm a little bit more stingy on prices especially when trading up (more cheaper cards for fewer expensive cards.) I don't do the whole "my cards are higher prices than yours thing though," just try to be fair.

Recently I've been paying attention to format rotations etc. I'm waiting to invest in shocklands after they rotate out of extended so I can buy them for cheaper/trade for them after the rotation. Then again for other cards, such as ewit and sundering titan that I just plain want...my personal preference takes over :lol:

I do try to approximate value and find it pays off a lot. Picking the right time to trade is nice as well especially when you don't have the most money or biggest collection. This backfires sometimes (aka trading doraemon x2 Ajani Goldmane before kithkin exploded in standard... tripled in price on starcity...) Another example is knight of meadowgrain. I picked up x3 playsets when they were .50 appiece... I think starcity is selling at 3 bucks each now which is a nice profit. The ultimate example is tarmogoyf I guess.

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AgePosted: 2009-Apr-03 9:17 am 
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Joined: 2009-Feb-21 9:31 am
Age: Drake
Sheldon wrote:
I hate it when people try to tell you their cards are worth Star City prices (high) and yours are worth Ebay prices (low). As soon as someone asks "How much do you value you that at?" I know they're trying to be sketchy on the trade.

The best trade is where both people are happy AND no reasonable third person would think one of them got screwed (like if some kid trades his Mox Jet for a Shivan Dragon).

Nothing will earn my wrath faster than some xp'd trader trying to rip off a newb.


I agree with this entirely when both people are happy is when it is best. However I also agree that a third unaffiliated party should kinda oversee things to make sure newer players don't get taken advantage of. As far as my pricing goes I go some based on ebay, but mostly I look at play value not only in the current T2 environment but in extended as well as T1. If I feel something has potential in older and current formats I value it higher than if I think it will only be good in current T2 formats.

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