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A sealed Magic: The Gathering Unlimited Starter Deck from 1993 just sold for $150,000

Unopened box could include a Black Lotus or another Power Nine card.
Image: Heritage Auctions

A sealed starter set from the earliest days of Magic: The Gathering recently sold at auction for a whopping $150,000.

The Magic: The Gathering Unlimited Starter Deck box dates from MTG’s Unlimited set - a second edition of the card game’s original core set released in late 1993.

Starter Decks served as something akin to an oversized booster pack, containing a random selection of 60 cards, divided into 45 common cards, 13 uncommon and two rares. As the name implies, Starter Decks were designed as a jumping-on point for players new to the game, allowing them to pick up an instant collection of cards along with the rules. They would later be rechristened as tournament packs, with the number of cards increased to 75 - equal to three standard booster packs - typically aimed at those played in Sealed tournaments.

What makes the Unlimited Starter Deck especially sought-after is the chance to pull one of Magic: The Gathering’s rarest cards, as the set contains the 302 cards that made up the game’s previous Beta set - except with white card borders, instead of black.

The makeup of cards in the box apparently means that there are 20 chances to pull a Black Lotus - widely considered the most valuable Magic: The Gathering card of all time - or another of MTG’s “Power Nine”, which earned their name by being the most powerful MTG cards ever produced. As well as the Black Lotus, the Power Nine includes Ancestral Recall, Mox Emerald, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire, Timetwister and Time Walk.

Each of the Power Nine cards is alone worth significant money - albeit not quite as much as their earlier Alpha and Beta set counterparts - with an Unlimited Black Lotus fetching up to $22,750 according to price tracking site MTGGoldfish. Earlier this year, an Alpha Black Lotus autographed by original illustrator Christopher Rush became the most expensive Magic: The Gathering card ever sold at auction after selling for over $500,000.

The sealed Magic: The Gathering Unlimited Starter Deck in “Very Good” condition sold at auction on July 24th for $150,000, with auction house Heritage Auctions remarking: “It is difficult enough to come upon a still sealed Unlimited Starter Deck, but even more amazing to find a full box still sealed.” Time will tell whether the buyer is lucky enough to make their pricey investment even more valuable.


Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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