The most sought after Magic: The Gathering card looks relaxedly dignified to people who don’t play the game, displaying a stretching flower the same color as an overripe blueberry and its name in muted gray text: “Black Lotus.” A novice could appreciate the card, the art provided by deceased, renowned Magic illustrator Christopher Rush, but a collector can look at the understated flower and know its expensive truth. How expensive? Well, it broke two public auction records this month.
Right in a row, too. On March 16, a PSA 10 Gem Mint Alpha (Alpha means it was part of the initial print run in 1993) Black Lotus sold for $540,000 at a PWCC Marketplace auction, along with a case signed by Rush, and then an Artist Proof (a white-backed card printed solely for the artist) Near Mint/Mint+ 8.5 copy, also signed by Rush, went for $615,000 on Heritage Auctions on March 24. Both destroyed Black Lotus’ previous auction record, $511,100 in 2021, and all three prices look obscene next to fans’ personal anecdotes about buying the card for a couple hundred dollars twenty years ago.
According to Professional Sport Authenticator’s website, there are only six Gem Mint 10 condition Black Lotuses in existence, and 41 Near Mint/Mint 8 copies. Though, that number is much smaller for signed, Artist Proof Black Lotuses, which rapper Post Malone admitted in 2022 to purchasing for $800,000.
“It was an artist print, Chris Rush-signed Black Lotus,” he reasoned.
In the case of this month’s most recent record-breaking auction, the Artist Proof card also came from Rush’s former agent Jeff Ferreira’s personal Magic collection.
Heritage Auctions boasts about it in its description of the Black Lotus: “The rarity of the card cannot be understated, as the copies known to exist in the community is incredibly small,” the auction house says, “and for any copy, much less a signed copy, to come up for public auction is unheard of.”
“Do not miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of Magic: The Gathering history,” Heritage continues. Ominous.
The card’s owner is currently accepting offers over $922,500, if you’re interested. Otherwise, some other items from Ferreira’s collection are still available for bidding, including a Near Mint 7 Black Lotus (accepting offers above $22,500) and an acrylic Black Lotus painting made and signed by Rush in 2014 (accepting offers above $11,250). Who even needs to buy a house?