Search found 698 matches

by hammr7
Thu Apr 22, 2004 7:58 pm
Forum: Card Structure and Integrity
Topic: Grading of Magic cards
Replies: 16
Views: 8931

Re: Grading of Magic cards

Part 1 of 2

Good Luck!  Unlike other collectibles, which have more rigidly codified grading, Magic items can be all over the place.  Magic collecting does have somewhat standardized grades, but these are abused by much of the eBay (and to a lesser extent, dealer) community.  When transacting these items in forums (such as eBay) where a grade description, with or without a detail-deficient photo, is given, a buyer has a right to assume industry “normsâ€￾ for condition.  

I recently tried to find some consistency in the madness, especially for the Near Mint grade, which seems to be the most abused.  There is a consensus among collectors that Near Mint (or better) is the desired condition for all but the oldest or rarest cards.  There are a large number of collectors who will not purchase cards below near mint.  Players are a little more flexible, but they still want cards that look decent.  The problem is an often-substantial difference of opinion, pitting collectors (who tend to have conservative grading expectations) against many sellers (who want their cards to be graded as high as possible, to maximize sales value).

To complicate things further, there are large numbers of Magic buyers and sellers who have abandoned the use of the term “Mintâ€￾, because it is so hard to defend.  Virtually any card can be shown to have some sort of minor flaw under careful (i.e. microscopic) evaluation.  This is a contrast with sports card collectibles.  These cards are not used to play a game, so more of them are kept in pristine condition.

This means that at the high end, “Near Mintâ€￾ is defined as equivalent to pack-fresh cards without any of the manufacturing flaws (such as miscuts, off-center, ink drops or smears, chipping, etc.) that can occasionally occur.  Please note that some collectors desire these misprinted and miscut cards, and will often pay premiums for them.

The problem with a “Near Mintâ€￾ designation is at the low end.  How much variance from that normal pack-fresh, new card is allowed?  Virtually everyone will agree that a card that has been carefully handled once or twice, or even played once in a sleeve is probably still a “Near Mintâ€￾ card.  At some point, with further handling or play, the card stops being “Near Mintâ€￾.  The current “Normâ€￾ can be taken from the published grade scales of major dealers and industry publications:

1.  Scrye Magazine describes these grades as follows:

MINT: “A card that is perfect in every way.â€￾

NEAR MINT: “This (probably) unplayed card shows almost no wear.  It may have a few minor scratches or slight marks on the edges.â€￾

FINE: “This card has obviously been played, but not heavily. It lacks marks that would make it easily identifiable.  It has some minor scratches or slight marks and / or less than perfect edges.  It will show less than 1/16â€￾ depth of white along one or two edges of one face [side] of the card.  It may have a minor crease that is only visible up close.â€￾
by hammr7
Mon Apr 19, 2004 8:35 pm
Forum: Searching, Buying, Paying, Shipping, Storing
Topic: PSA Grading.
Replies: 4
Views: 3538

Re: PSA Grading.

It seems like PSA has captured the trust and imagination of many Magic collectors.  Before people get too involved, monetarily or otherwise, you might want to look at issues iunvolving baseball cards.  PSA cut its teeth on older baseball cards, and has graded more baseball cardsthan all ot...
by hammr7
Fri Apr 16, 2004 5:17 am
Forum: Searching, Buying, Paying, Shipping, Storing
Topic: Rants on eBay and Paypal problems.
Replies: 3
Views: 2934

Rants on eBay and Paypal problems.

A NEW EBAY SCAM There were a number of eBay auctions last week for 10,000 rares and some Beta cards (a few said a Beta set).  While the auctions were from a number of different eBay sellers, they all traced back to a single person who had somehow contracted out with a bunch of eBay members as r...
by hammr7
Wed Apr 07, 2004 9:44 am
Forum: Promotional and Unofficial Magic Items
Topic: Metal Cards
Replies: 25
Views: 13414

Re: Metal Cards

I  certainly agree that the metal cards can be easily duplicated.  The Shivan Dragon, and perhaps the others, were marketing novelties at best and outright counterfeits at worst. Summer 4th, however is a completely different animal.  Not only does it have the UV coating (which could b...
by hammr7
Mon Apr 05, 2004 2:07 am
Forum: Member Information
Topic: What's the deal with summer/wyvern???
Replies: 16
Views: 8212

Re: What's the deal with summer/wyvern???

I'm sure you're familiar with FIFO and LIFO, but do you know what OSWO is? Sure, but the first two are accounting standards for costing inventory, while OSWO (Oh **** were out) is the "panic" response (emotional and otherwise) to underestimating the cost of stockouts in your Inventory (Supply Chain...
by hammr7
Sat Apr 03, 2004 3:49 am
Forum: Member Information
Topic: What's the deal with summer/wyvern???
Replies: 16
Views: 8212

Re: What's the deal with summer/wyvern???

What's your position in the industry, that you know all this? I guess some of this should go in the "real job" post.  My knowledge in collectibles, like my knowledge in printing, is a result of life experiences.   I have been a life-long collector.  I started as a kid with baseball c...
by hammr7
Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:00 am
Forum: Member Information
Topic: What's the deal with summer/wyvern???
Replies: 16
Views: 8212

Re: What's the deal with summer/wyvern???

As a veteran of the ups and downs with baseball cards, this trend can be either very healthy or very unhealthy for the MTG collecting community.   If you want the hobby to grow, you probably want the healthy alternative.  If you want to finish your own collection, you probably want the unh...
by hammr7
Thu Mar 11, 2004 12:00 pm
Forum: Standard Magic Products
Topic: Magic: Exact Rarities
Replies: 29
Views: 12790

Re: Magic: Exact Rarities

2.  In determining the number of cards that go into boosters vs. starters, there are a few basics definitions that need to be specified.  In calculating percentages for each type of package, do we consider total cards as the basis for percentage, or do we consider total number of rares in each type of packaging, or do we consider total units of boosters vs. total units of starters?  In your calculations you assume the latter, but I haven’t yet determined whether Crystal Keep’s memo writer also chose that basis.  It may be that your calculations support Crystal Keep’s conclusions, but with the two of you speaking different languages.

I am concerned that your attempt to determine these percentages was based upon complete utilization of rares, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary.  While I don’t necessarily put credence in such evidence, I am loath to contradict it.   Furthermore, I think that the Crystal Keep Alpha and Beta data gives us an indication that either Alpha rares were in excess, or there were less than 1100 original rare sheets.  If you review the ratios between the Alpha and Beta data, the uncommon and common Beta sheets are exactly triple the Alpha sheets.  However, for rares, the Beta number is 100 sheets less than triple the Alpha number.  

This can logically be explained by either of two scenarios.  The first is that there were excess Alpha rares, so less Beta rares were needed.  The second is that the Beta “rareâ€￾ run had exactly triple the sheets of the Alpha run, and the apparent numerical difference is a result of rounding.  The second case can only be true if the actual number of Alpha sheets is between 1050 and 1083. In this case, triple the number ranges from 3150 to 3249, which is rounded to 3200.  Coincidentally, the first case is true for approximately the same range of actual sheet utilization (1100 Alpha rare sheets made, but only 1063 to 1087 used).  Remember that the Beta run was not a different series of cards, but an improved continuation of the Alpha printing (to meet overwhelming consumer demand).  Wizards could have anticipated their leftovers of each Alpha rarity when the placed their supplemental orders for Beta.  The fact that Crystal Keep predicts maximums of 1100 Alpha sets and 3200 Beta sets (when rares are the limiting factor) makes me believe those were the numbers of sheets, and therefore there was an excess of Alpha rares to be matched with some of the Beta commons and uncommons.

Where you chose complete rare utilization for Alpha, there are many other possible models to evaluate.  These include:

a)      Minimizing the total of all remaining Alpha cards, regardless of rarity.
b)      Minimizing the total leftover commons and uncommons, so long as some rares remain.
c)      Maximize the leftover rares, less the sum of the other leftovers.

Each of these scenarios can be evaluated with an expectation of 1100 rare sheets.  The first two scenarios (plus yours) can also be evaluated with expectations of 1087, 1070, and 1050 rare sheets.  Optimal solutions to these scenarios will provide a number of feasible solutions (some of which should be boundary solutions) to the actual distribution of boosters and starters.

There is one more constraint that I believe is necessary.  Your calculations implicitly predict optimality down to fractions of a card.  In the real world, cards must be integer (whole).  Furthermore, cards must be grouped into packs, packs into boxes, and perhaps boxes into cases.  Therefore any solution must anticipate full boxes at the least, and full cases at the most. These constraints can be incorporated into a linear programming model, which can be implemented through the Solver add-in on Excel.  According to Crystal Keep, Alpha had 36 boosters per box,  and 10 starters per box.  I don’t know how many boxes of each were in cases.  If you can supply me with those numbers, I will run the different scenarios and provide the calculated results.  The results will be provided in boxes (or cases) of boosters and starters, and leftover amounts of commons, uncommons, and rares.
by hammr7
Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:58 am
Forum: Standard Magic Products
Topic: Magic: Exact Rarities
Replies: 29
Views: 12790

Re: Magic: Exact Rarities

I have had the opportunity to review your numbers, and have come to the following conclusions. 1.  I think that your analysis of Alpha basic lands is  correct in determining the larger number of lands, but it is not necessary to modify the original numbers of Alpha sheets to explain their ...
by hammr7
Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:52 pm
Forum: Promotional and Unofficial Magic Items
Topic: Uncut Vanguard (Series 2) sheet
Replies: 5
Views: 3336

Re: Uncut Vanguard (Series 2) sheet

I've got an uncut Vanguard 1 sheet that was a prize given to the winning store in a UK National promotion (in early 99, for most active players and formal competitions).  It is a 7 x 7 sheet (like the Vanguard 2 sheet) but has all 49 slots printed with cards.   Four of the cards got 7 prin...
by hammr7
Tue Mar 09, 2004 10:24 pm
Forum: Standard Magic Products
Topic: Magic: Exact Rarities
Replies: 29
Views: 12790

Re: Magic: Exact Rarities

mintcollector, I am also a math junkie.  When you have three different "variables" (rares, uncommons, and commons) you can never guarantee that you will have a perfect fit of ratios between the starter and booster packages.  Your analysis above starts with the premise that all rares go int...
by hammr7
Sun Mar 07, 2004 10:08 am
Forum: Misprints and Packaging Errors
Topic: Goblin Grenade misprint question
Replies: 3
Views: 2788

Re: Goblin Grenade misprint question

The two main printing processes work the same way, with slightly different shapes.  Either a "plate" or a "roll" contains small depressions in the pattern to be printed.  The plates or rolls are immersed in the particular ink color being applied, with excess ink is scrapped off (typically ...
by hammr7
Fri Mar 05, 2004 12:07 am
Forum: Misprints and Packaging Errors
Topic: What is this??(DRY-CEREAL, WATCH THIS!!)
Replies: 46
Views: 18084

Re: What is this??(DRY-CEREAL, WATCH THIS!!)

[quote] It's easy, if you know how the packaging process works.  The packaging foil is a continuous sheet that may or may not have been already printed!  It is continuosly fed into a machine that also feeds stacks of cards.  When it works right, the cards are wrapped, then sealed by t...
by hammr7
Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:34 am
Forum: Standard Magic Products
Topic: Ante cards missing from some non-English sets
Replies: 18
Views: 9985

Re: Ante cards missing from some non-English sets

Regarding the Antiquities cards, I agree completely with the official listing.  For the Factories I have 16 Springs, but only 5 or 6 of the other seasons.  For the Strip Mines I have 12 of the "no horizon, no tower" version, but only 5 or 6 of the others.
by hammr7
Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:12 am
Forum: Standard Magic Products
Topic: Magic: Exact Rarities
Replies: 29
Views: 12790

Re: Magic: Exact Rarities

Don't get too concerned over the discrepency between the 1100 copies of each Alpha Rare vs. the 3200 copies of each Beta Rare.   If you check the Crystal Keep document, the author talks about rounding the numbers.  In fact the document states that the numbers were rounded to the nearest 50...