The War Report: Cataloging

I’ve made mention before of the utility found over at MTGGoldfish, and it has become my go-to utility for deck building. I still use sites like EDHREC and Tapped Out to build my decks and theorycraft, but when it comes time to actually posting my decks online (and as a byproduct, I’m contributing to the EDHREC database) this is where I have called home for the year. It turns out that not only can you build and share your constructed decks with their system, but you can also catalog your entire collection if so desired, and I decided that was something that I wanted to do recently.

It’s frustrating when you begin to amass a large collection of cards and realize that you have copies of what we call “staples” but can’t seem to find them. Knowing exactly what you have on hand at all times so that you don’t order another copy of that staple is good for saving some cash. Though I am pretty diligent about organizing my collection into boxes by set/color, I still found that I was ending up with extra copies of things I shouldn’t have ordered. This past weekend I spent some time painstakingly entering hundreds of cards, and each is distinguished by its print set. I managed to go through all of my EDH decks that are completed and those that are in various stages of construction, along with all of the mythics/rares I keep in a binder. This is where the collection stands currently:

As you can see, the larger played-with portion of my set is worth a couple grand. That was surprising, as I know I haven’t spent that much on the hobby, though I know I’ve spent a pretty penny over the course of the last year. You get value when you pull things like Masterpiece series cards (see Cryptic Command and Sword of Body and Mind above) as both of those single cards we worth more than what I paid for the packs they came in. In some cases cards I purchased spike and end up being worth more later, but generally most cards start high when a set releases and drop later on. This is also the case with reprints, they tend to bring the cost of a card down, particularly if it’s the first time it’s been reprinted and it was a high value/rare card.

This still isn’t taking into account the boxes of commons/uncommons that lie unused. I’m hoping to get those cataloged this weekend so I can see a total value for my collection, but I’d guess it will hit somewhere around $3,000. That’s not bad considering I probably spent half that amount. The only problem, is that just like most collectibles, they’re only worth that amount to someone who knows their value and/or wants them. In this case, it’s highly unlikely that I’d be able to pack all of my cards into a box and sell them for $3,000, but I might be able to sell them for a grand or so and make some money back. Not that I’m thinking about selling, but it’s interesting when you pay attention to the financial side of things.

Considering I’ve probably spent $3k in a year on video games easily, it seems that I’ve actually saved some money by putting more focus onto this hobby. That isn’t to say it’s an inexpensive one — you can definitely spend much more than I have on cards, I just made myself some rules to keep from going too crazy. The big one is trying not to spend more than $10-15 on any single card.

What would you say you spend on your hobbies in a given year?