Saturday, November 29, 2008

Give the gift of Magic!

It's the holiday giving season, and you know you have friends or loved ones who are either:
  1. as into Magic as you are, or
  2. clue-free on what to give you, their Magic-loving friend/child/spouse/whatever.
Have no fear! Don's Magic and Sundry is here to help!

Over the last few weeks I have finished the "great relisting" project, and now pretty much all Uncommon cards from Core Sets Revised through 10th and expansion sets The Dark through Shards of Alara are available at, joining the Commons and basic lands from those sets. Cheaper (under $1) Rare cards from these sets and cheaper foil cards are also available at this "branch store." There are literally tens of thousands of single cards waiting for your wishlists and purchases.

My eBay store continues to hold most of the Rare cards and foil cards. In fact, I recently added over 1000 new foil cards and complete common sets from many different Core and expansion sets. I still have a great selection of pre-constructed decks and starter/tournament decks. And I've got booster packs for all sets from Revised through 10th, and from Legends through Shards of Alrara, including Unglued, Unhinged, Portal, Portal Second Age and Starter 1999.

Finally, for the true die-hard, I have a complete, Near Mint, Collector's Edition for sale. This set reprints the entire Beta Edition, including the power nine (Black Lotus, Mox Emerald, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and Timetwister) as well as all 10 original Dual Lands. It's a must-have for the avid Magic collector.

Here are quick links for you to use (or share with whomever might be stuck trying to figure out what to get for you [nudge-nudge-wink-wink]):

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Guess what? I'm DONE!

I actually finished the great relisting project! It's amazing! I don't know what I'll ever do with all of my free time now...

Oh, that's right - catch up on all my new backlogged inventory - that's what!

You really should have seen my happy dance yesterday afternoon when I got the last of the cards put up in the branch store. I'm sure I mortified my whole family. But this thing has been keeping me busy every night for ~3-4 hours, most days on weekends, and any other available free time for the last several months. I am SO relieved to finally have it done!

Now pretty much all of my uncommon cards are now available at along with the commons and basic lands, and quite a few cheaper rares as well...I have a much decreased single card inventory available at the eBay store compared to just three months ago.

Oh, by the way - the solution to my inventory limit problem (see my last post) was to pay ProStores more money every month and upgrade my store level. I now have an inventory limit of 50,000 items, which I hopefully won't hit for quite some time!

I can now get back to listing a whole bunch of foils I have sitting around ("Lot 46") as well as some new cards I've never had available before (so they need the full photo-taking treatment). Then I need to tackle the remains of "Lot 47" which is now nothing but basic lands and common cards that I want to make Complete Basic Land sets and Complete Common Sets out of.

Then I have a large number of non-English cards that will need to get processed - a bunch of Japanese, Russian and Portuguese in particular, but many French, Italian, German, etc...including a lot of 4th Edition cards in Japanese that should prove popular due to their black borders (reminiscent of the Chinese 4th Edition I wrote about long ago).

My biggest business lately has been in unopened packs. I now have booster packs available for every expansion set except Arabian Nights and Antiquities (which sell for ~$200 and ~$50 each, respectively), including the almost as popular Legends boosters that I have listed for $57.50. I'm hoping the demand on all of these will pick up as the holidays approach us. I can see the effects of the economy crisis in my sales - most of my really big purchases lately have been from outside the US, rather than in.

That's all the news that's fit to print right now...more as it happens. Hopefully I'll now have some free time to right a few more Blog entries focusing on individual cards and the like soon...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I may have a MASSIVE problem

Just a quick one today...

I have gotten up to the Mirrodin block of cards in the great relisting project, and hit a major snag. As I was uploading the Uncommon cards for Mirrodin, only 14 of the 84 cards I was uploading were processed.

When I read the report to determine why the others didn't load, I was greeted with the message: "Reached maximum number of Products (10,000)".

Holy $#!+ - I'm not sure what surprised me more...the fact that I have a limit to the number of cards I can put up, or that fact that I've now got 10,000 cards listed!

I have an email in to ProStores, the company that hosts my store. I vaguely recall a message in the opening documentation from them that said there was a limit (which I never thought I'd reach at the time), but that I could contact my ProStores agent if I would need a higher number. Hopefully something can be done here, or else I don't know what I'm going to do with the remaining cards I still need to list from before, not to mention cards in future sets.

Why is nothing ever easy?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Shards of Alara is up!

The newest expansion to Magic, Shards of Alara, has finally arrived. On Friday I received my pre-order of one case of booster pack boxes and one box of tournament decks. I opened up all of the decks and 4 of the 6 boxes worth of boosters.

All of the regular basic lands, commons and uncommons are up at and the rares, mythic rares, and foils are up in my eBay store.

The best card I opened was perhaps the most popular card in the whole set: a foil version of the most popular Mythic Rare card, called Sarkhan Vol. Here's what the card looks like:

Copies of this card have sold for as much as $70+ at auction recently (some were available before the release date), and there was only one available in an eBay Store when I went to list mine. They were asking $69.95 for theirs. I had listed my non-Foil version for $32.50, so I doubled the price to $65, keeping mine under the other seller's.

You may be wondering why I haven't included a link to the listing for this item, as I usually do. That's because it sold less than 12 hours later to a customer in Greece!

What makes this card so popular? Well the card itself is very useful, as you can use it to add a nice dragon Creature to your side of your magical battle. But from a rarity standpoint, look at it this way...the card is a Mythic Rare. Mythic Rares shows up in 1 out of every 8 booster packs. There are 15 different mythic rares, so based on odds, you'd need to open 120 packs to be sure of getting a copy of Sarkhan Vol.

But now consider the Foil part. On average you'll get one Foil Rare in every box of booster packs (or 1 in 36 packs). If a Rare is replaced with a Mythic Rare every 1 in 8 packs, this means (theoretically) that you'd need to open 8 boxes' worth of boosters to get a single Foil Mythic Rare. To get the specific Foil Mythic Rare you're looking for, then, you'd need to open 15 x 8 or 120 boxes of boosters.

Essentially - I got VERY lucky! First of all that I got a Foil Mythic Rare in only the equivalent of 5 boxes, and that the one I got was the most popular one.

Well, now it's back to the great relisting project. Wish me luck on that one!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

And the results are...

...not quite what I had expected.

The From the Vault: Dragons cards did turn out to be quite popular. The grand total raw sales came to $91 - a good deal more than the $53 I paid for the set. Once fees are taken out, I still should show some profit, which is of course always nice!

One person ended up winning 7 of the 15 cards, another got 5, a third got 2 and a final person won 1. The person with 7 had a total of around $49, so they are clearly the winner of the special spin-down life counter promised to a winner of 5+ cards. Strangely enough, since no single person won 10 or more, no-one won the box, or the free shipping. I really thought that last one would be a big draw - buy your 15 Dragons cards then go crazy buying booster packs or something really heavy, and get it all shipped for free....but I guess not!

Anyway, I certainly can't complain about the results. It was just not quite what I thought I'd see. I felt for sure someone would try to get 10+ so they could get the box. It's really cool. So I guess I get to keep it :-)

On the great relisting project, I am up to the Invasion set, and should finish getting those done tonight. That leaves only 19 full expansion sets and then various piddly boxed sets, plus some non-English stuff (Italian Legends and Chinese 4th Edition being the biggest two problems). And all of this will be put on the back burner soon as the new set, Shards of Alara, is due out this coming Friday. I hope to get the descriptions of the cards typed up and ready before the cards actually arrive, if my usual source is as with-it as he was for Eventide. And maybe I'll get as lucky as I was with Eventide and get the cards a full day before the release date!

Oh, I promised to say a bit more about Shards of Alara in this post. The biggest deal is that Wizards of the Coast has decided to put a new level of Rarity into their cards. Since the beginning of the game there have been three levels of Rarity (4 if you count "Basic Land" as one): Commons, Uncommons, and Rares. These days a typical booster pack will contain 1 Rare, 3 Uncommons, and 11 Commons (or 10 Commons and a Basic Land for a Core Set like 10th Edition).

Starting with Shards of Alara, they are replacing the Rare in roughly 1 out of every 8 packs with a "Mythic Rare" - so this small set will be even more difficult to find than (and consequently, in theory, worth more than) a regular Rare. And a Foil version of such a Mythic Rare should be insanely valuable. Again, in theory.

Also, they plan to replace one of the Commons with a Basic Land in booster packs for all sets, not just the Core Sets. The theory being that since you essentially must have basic Lands to play, then not having them in boosters makes it more difficult for new players to get started.

The final big change being made is that this set (and ones to follow) will be smaller than the sets in recent history. There are simply too many cards in the game to reasonably expect someone to be fluent with all of them, and lowering the number in newer sets will help with that. For me this means it should be easier to get my hands on all (or nearly all) with the 5-6 boxes I plan on opening. That is one thing I appreciate a good deal.

Friday, September 19, 2008

From the Vault: Dragons

There's a new special boxed set in town, and it's name is From the Vault: Dragons.

This set is a reprint (or in one case, pre-print) set, bringing back to life in special Foil format 15 of the best Dragon (or Dragon-related) cards ever printed over Magic's 15 year history. The "pre-print" is a card (Hellkite Overlord) from the new expansion, Shards of Alara, that won't be released until early October.

And this boxed set is DAMNED hard to get your hands on! I pre-ordered my set from my usual seller about two months ago. At the time the pre-order price was about $23 for the 15 cards set, a discount over the MSRP for the product.

Then the set was sold by Wizards of the Coast (before its official release date) at a large sci-fi/comic book convention, limited to 100 copies per day, first come, first served. And then the distributors were shorted on their orders. And suddenly the pre-order price from my usual source went to over $100!

I was glad I had bought when I did.

Too bad my usual source got slighted by their distributor and my order got cancelled and refunded. So much for my great deal!

Anyway, I finally managed to get my hands on a copy from my local comic book shop. $53 with tax - not too bad given that the lowest I'd seen sell on eBay was for $51, with $8 shipping. Still, I feel rather crazy paying $53 for 15 cards!

So, I've decided to run a rather strange little experiment. This week (starting tomorrow, Saturday September 20) I will be auctioning each of the 15 cards individually. I'll start the bidding at a mere $0.99 each, and each bears this special deal text:
  • If a single buyer wins 5 (or more) of the 15 From the Vault: Dragons cards I have available this week, that buyer will also win the special spin-down life counter that came in the box with the cards, at no additional shipping cost. In the event that more than one buyer wins 5+ of the cards, the buyer with the highest over-all $ total for their From the Vault: Dragons cards will win the counter.
  • If a single buyer wins 10 (or more) of the 15 From the Vault: Dragons cards I have available this week, that buyer will also win the special spin-down life counter AND the original box that the cards & counter came in (complete with inner plastic case and paper insert), at no additional shipping cost.
  • If a single buyer wins all 15 From the Vault: Dragons cards I have available this week, that buyer will also win the special spin-down life counter, the original box (with everything in it), and their total order will have FREE SHIPPING! Even if you then go on to buy more cards or booster packs from me. That's free shipping on YOUR ENTIRE ORDER if you win all 15 cards!

My hope, of course, is that this will encourage someone to bid like mad on the cards trying to get all 15 - and then go shopping at my store to maximize on the free shipping deal. We'll see how it goes, and I'll report back afterwards to let you know. If you want to follow the fun yourself, you can watch these items over the next week (this link won't produce any items until I list these cards after 2 p.m. EDT on Saturday 9/20). Hopefully I'll at least be able to recoup my $53!

In other news, the great relisting project (see my last post) continues. As of this writing I have completed all 10 Core Sets (Alpha Edition through 10th Edition), all 5 Starter Sets (Portal through Starter 2000) and 23 expansions (Arabian Nights through Exodus, and Coldsnap through Eventide). This does, however, still leave 24 regular expansions (Urza's Saga through Dissension) as well as the two Un-Sets (Unglued and Unhinged) and several boxed sets and the promo cards. I had hope to have this grand project finished before the next expansion, Shards of Alara, is released on October 3 - but as that is a mere two weeks away, things are looking grim. Therefore I still have over 2000 card listings (likely representing over 6000 cards) that still need to be made at the "branch store" at Oy!

Next time I report in, I'll let you know how the From the Vault: Dragons experiment went, and talk a little about the new set, Shards of Alara, and explain why Rare isn't the rarist kind of card any more.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I don't know where to start...

I have a GIANT task ahead of me right now.

As you may recall from a previous post, eBay recently changed their policy on Store listings. Items can no longer be listed for under $1. As a result, I have been adding more and more inventory to as I get in new cards that I would sell for under a buck.

However, eBay has allowed Store inventory items that were listed before the policy change to renew every 30 days, and therefore a lot of cards I had listed remained available, a feature I think many customers found appealing since no-one else could then newly list that item for my price.

That all changed last night. I awoke this morning to find over 4000 emails in my inbox from eBay, telling me of the items that had been removed from inventory. Roughly 50% of my entire stock (actually probably well over 50%, since I have more copies of the lower priced cards - let's say 50% of my listings) have been removed.

All at once.

No warning.

SO, now I need to go through 4000+ listings and decide whether to:
  1. Relist on eBay, upping the asking price to $1
  2. List the cards on the "branch store"

I actually had this task on my mental "to do" list for when I finished processing Lot 47 (which is almost done), but I had planned to spread the work out over weeks, taking one set at a time and adjusting the prices or closing the eBay item to list the cards on the other store. That way the bulk of the inventory would stay accessible, and there'd only be a few minutes between taking them down at eBay and putting them up at the other store where they wouldn't be available.

Now, instead, I have thousands of cards that people can't buy until I get this fixed. Ye gads!

Needless to say (although I will anyway), I have my work cut out for me. I will temporarily put a hold on Lot 47 (all that's really left is to take photos of Uncommons & Rares I've never listed before to get them up, and deal with all of the Commons). Instead I will bury myself in the daunting task of getting my inventory cleaned up. Woo-hoo. What fun.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to slink off and cry quietly in a corner for a while...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Eventide is now available!

The newest expansion to Magic: the Gathering, Eventide, is now available at Don's Magic and Sundry!

Eventide expands on the themes developed in the Shadowmoor expansion, and is the second an d final) expansion in the Shadowmoor "mini-block". It introduces the new keywords Retrace and Chroma, and makes more extended use of the Wither and Persist keywords introduced in Shadowmoor, as well as the untap symbol!

Eventide booster packs contain 1 Rare card, 3 Uncommon cards and 11 Commons. In addition, each pack contains either a Creature Token card or a "Tips & Tricks" card. In random packs a Common card is replaced with a premium "Foil" copy of one of the Rares, Uncommons or Commons.

There are 9 Token Creature cards (2 are reprints on the front from Shadowmoor), 8 "Tips & Tricks" cards, 60 Common cards, and 60 Uncommon cards in the set. As I write these words, all are currently available at Don's Magic and Sundry and ready for purchase.

The Rare cards are available at my eBay store, as well as the Foil cards that I got from my opening spree after I received my boxes. Unopened booster packs are also available, as are Complete Common sets and complete Uncommon sets.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More Store update info

For those who are interested, here's some other updates besides the big headaches eBay has given me lately...
  • This week I have up for auction the last of my REALLY big ticket items, an Alpha Edition Plateau (one of the original 10 Dual Lands). It was originally listed in the store at $150, but had been there for over a year. We'll see how it does at auction. As of this writing it is up to $41.06 with 1 day and 19 hours to go...
  • I now have a full-time job on top of the Store, so I have been severely challenged to find time to do anything more than pull orders lately.
  • Ironically, business has been better than ever since I got the full-time job, so it almost seems that every spare waking moment is spent pulling orders.
  • I made many other collection purchases lately, so I am up to (I believe) Lot 45 now.
  • Another big change is that I have drastically expanded my inventory of unopened booster packs. I have bought entire boxes of boosters for almost every set from Alliances through Scourge so far, and have them listed at the Store and also put many up for auction every week. They have so far been immensely popular.
  • The last Lot I purchased, which I have mostly sorted now, includes many cool Promo cards, as well as a whole bunch of Foils and cards signed by the artists. In some cases they are signed foils, and of very popular cards in their own right. So, hopefully, they will bring in a pretty penny when put up for auction.
  • Morningtide, the second half of the Lorwyn block, has thus far been somewhat of a disappointment. The Lorwyn set produced several insanely popular cards, and generated a great deal of income very quickly. There were quite a bit fewer cards of that ilk in Morningtide, and of course I pre-ordered an entire case based on the popularity of Lorwyn! I should be able to turn a profit on the case eventually, but nowhere near as quickly as I had expected. Now I have to decide what to do for my Shadowmoor pre-order, as that set gets released in May...

And a follow-up to my entry from earlier today...I don't know if Fourth Edition is being treated somehow differently, but I was able to bulk edit those cards tonight without difficulty. These cards, at least, are listed under the "Other" subcategory to the chain I mentioned there, rather than being unclassified at all. Maybe eBay saw the error of their ways, and reclassified everything that was already listed so that at least the category makes some degree of sense?

Problems & good news with eBay

Well, there's good news and bad news to share thanks to some changes made recently at eBay.

The good news mainly consists of new lower listing fees for auctions and fixed-price items for Power Sellers. Since I recently reclaimed that exalted status, I share in these bonuses. Now I spend less to list my items every week when I make up my auctions. The biggest savings comes in the form of free Gallery photos for each listing (in fact they're automatic anymore - I don't even have to choose the option). That saves (if I'm remembering correctly) $0.20 per listing, and I typically list 30 or so items a week, so that's a savings of $6 or so per week. That can add up.

So, I'm happy about those changes. There's two major ones, however, that I am seriously less than thrilled about.

First of all is the new low limit on listing Store Inventory items. I (and other Store owners) can no longer list items in the Store for under $1. That constitutes at least 50% of my inventory! On a recent online help chat with an eBay agent, I was informed that as Store Inventory items came up for renewal at the end of their 30-day cycle, they wouldn't get renewed if they were under $1, and would show up in my "unsold items" page. So far this information seems to be erroneous, however, as just in the last 24 hours several under $1 Store items have renewed safely.

However, I can't list any new items at under $1, so as new inventory comes in, I have to decide what to do. As I've mentioned before, I usually run a price check on a card before I list, and try to price myself somewhere in the middle of the pack. If all other Store owners are in the same boat I am, then eventually there will be no under $1 does that mean we will all cease to list these items, or will we all sort of agree (without communicating with each other) to price anything that would normally have been under $1 at $1?

Personally, I think what's going to happen is suddenly my inventory at is going to be burgeoning as more than just commons will be listed there. Any uncommons and rares that would normally be under $1 are going to have to be listed there. Hopefully this will act as an added draw to bring more customers there.

The second, and possibly more irksome, problem is that eBay has just recently revamped the Magic the Gathering categories. In the past (for as long as I've been listing on eBay), the category that any given card would go in would be:

Toys & Hobbies -> Trading Card Games -> Magic the Gathering -> Individual Cards -> NAME OF SET THE CARD CAME FROM

I guess that the powers that be at eBay were getting tired of constantly having to add new options for the last subcategory, as new Magic sets came out (for example, 10th Edition, Planar Chaos, Future Sight, Lorwyn and the new set Morningtide never got their own listings), and they completely redid the last piece, so that the category now is:

Toys & Hobbies -> Trading Card Games -> Magic the Gathering -> Individual Cards -> COLOR OF CARD

So the final subcategory would be, for example, "Black (Swamp)" or "Multicolor" or "Artifact".

This means that every single one of my 7000+ listings now is uncategorized, as the category I had assigned to them no longer exists.

And to add insult to injury, I run into the same problem now with this that I had last year with the USPS "Airmail Letter is now First Class International" can't edit a listing once it's had a sale. So any item that's sold at least one copy cannot be changed to put it into a new category.

As if all that weren't bad enough, changing categories is not one of the options in bulk editing, so I would have to manually open up every single one of my 7000+ listings individually and edit them to give them a category.

I have decided that this is just too much work, especially given that if eBay lives up to its threat over half of my inventory will start not renewing anyway. I am hoping that not too many people shop for cards by searching categories anyway. And at least my own Store categories that I get to invent for my listings are unaffected by the eBay shift. So, as I list new items they'll get the new categories, but the old listings will remain unclassified.

Oh, and another pain-in-the-neck side effect of this shift is that when I use TurboLister (the free program from eBay I use to make my listings) to relist a card I had up before, I can't bulk edit there either because the categories are all wrong. So I have to individually edit each listing I'm interested in first and give it one of the new categories, then I can select them all and do a bulk edit for any other changes I want to make.