One-of-a-kind trading card discovery attracting $2 million offers

Collectibles

A one-off Magic: The Gathering trading card depicting the “One Ring” from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings series has been found, graded and is soliciting offers as high as $2 million from card collectors around the world, following a frenzy to find the one-of-a-kind card that’s expected to soon become one of the most expensive trading cards ever sold.
Magic the Gathering game items on the table duirng a game at Endgame in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images.
Key facts

Hasbro released the Lord of the Rings trading card set on June 20 and announced a singular “One Ring” card—described as a “traditional foil card printed in the Black Speech of Sauron”—was among the new releases.

Just as the ring in Tolkien’s fictional universe drove men mad, the card launched a worldwide search among Magic players and collectors, with the owner of one Spain-based card store promising 2 million euros, about $2.2 million, plus a trip to Valencia in exchange for the one-of-a-kind card before it had even been found, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Dave & Adam’s Card World in Buffalo tweeted it would pay $1 million for the card, after pro football player Cassius Marsh offered half that, which was authenticated and received the second-highest available rating for its condition from grading company PSA.

The person who found the card (the odds of which were below 0.00003% the Wall Street Journal said) has not been publicly identified.

Key background

Magic: The Gathering was considered the first trading card game when it first came out in 1993 and has tens of millions of players, according to creator Wizards of the Coast, which was acquired by Hasbro for $325 million in 1999.

Twenty billion magic cards were printed between 2008 and 2016, in which time the game enjoyed a surge in popularity.

Before the One Ring card, the most expensive Magic card was the rare Black Lotus, which is listed for sale online between $500,000 and $620,000. The card was released in Magic’s very first 1993 set and only about 1,000 were ever printed.

Tangent

If the One Ring card manages to sell for $2 million, it will be ranked among the most expensive trading cards of all time.

A Mickey Mantle rookie card became the most expensive card ever sold last year for $12.6 million, and a list compiled in the aftermath by Yahoo! News suggests the One Ring would be among the top 20 most expensive cards ever sold.

Only one non-sports card is said to have topped the offers for One Ring, according to a list from KX News—one of the only 41 existing Illustrator Pikachu Pokemon cards sold in July 2021 for $5.2 million.

Big number

22,630. That’s how many Magic cards existed with their own unique name as of 2021.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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