A sealed box of starter decks from Magic: The Gathering’s second-ever print run, Beta Edition, has appeared at auction for a quarter of a million dollars.
The box of ten starter decks dates from the second printing of MTG’s original core set in 1993, which became known as Limited Edition Beta. Each of the ten decks contains a random selection of 60 cards from the 302 black-bordered cards released in the Beta Edition run, typically including two rares (there is a very small chance - around 3% - that a rare card will be replaced by a basic land in each deck). The starter decks were designed as a leaping-on point for new players, and were later replaced by bigger tournament packs.
The Beta set is especially notable for its inclusion of Magic: The Gathering’s “Power Nine” - a series of nine cards featured in the card game’s early Alpha, Beta and Unlimited sets that are widely considered to be the most powerful Magic: The Gathering cards ever made.
The Power Nine’s limited availability also means that they rank as among the rarest and most expensive Magic: The Gathering cards of all time. Most famous is the Black Lotus, considered to be the most valuable MTG card in existence - an Alpha copy of Black Lotus autographed by artist Christopher Rush sold in 2021 for over $500,000, but even standard copies can fetch tens of thousands at auction.
A similar box of starter decks for Magic: The Gathering’s later Unlimited Edition - with a similar chance to pull a Black Lotus or Power Nine card, albeit from the less valuable white-bordered Unlimited set - sold last summer for $150,000. There are approximately 20 chances to find a Black Lotus in the starter deck box.
Auction house Goldin has listed the sealed box of Magic: The Gathering Beta Edition starter decks with a starting price of $250,000 - meaning that the final sale price may be even higher. However, at the time of writing, no bids have been made. The auction will run until February 24th.