Pawn Stars Only Offers $6,000 For Ultra Rare MTG Prototype Cards

The latest episode of Pawn Stars saw something incredibly rare drop right onto Austin “Chumlee” Russell countertop: a bunch of Magic: The Gathering prototype cards. The potential seller, Harrison, apparently found these playtest cards in a box owned by his uncle, and had come to the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop to see if he could pawn them for $25,000.

Austin certainly seemed interested, but he wasn’t about to drop 25 grand on an unverified set of prototype cards. Instead, Austin sought out Don Lewis, owner of Darkside Games in Las Vegas, to see if these cards are legit.

Lewis explained that Harrison’s cards are “Gamma” playtest cards, the very first set of playtest cards ever produced. These are the cards that would eventually become Magic: The Gathering’s first Alpha printing. Only around 40 people ever received these Gamma playtest cards, and according to Lewis, most of them were just chucked in the garbage. Lewis himself has one playtest card, an early version of Time Walk, and said that Harrison’s set of 27 Gamma playtest cards seemed authentic.

Lewis priced each card at roughly $400, meaning Harrison was potentially sitting on $10,800 of paper. But as is always the case in Pawn Stars, Austin came in low so he could make a bigger profit. An offer of $6,200 was refused, and so was the $7,500. At that point, Harrison decided he was better off selling the cards on the open market himself and the two shook hands.

​​​​​​​A $10,000 find is already pretty great, but the general manager of one of the biggest online Magic retailers said that Harrison could potentially earn much more than that.

"The cards featured on Pawn Stars were ungraded. The $400 price would be the lowest price that an ungraded, medium-condition Gamma card would sell for – and even that is probably a titch too low," explained Star City Games’ Ben Bleiweiss. "The more desirable cards from this batch (such as Sinkhole or Giant Growth) would be more in the thousand-dollar range. If these were to get graded and authenticated, they’d likely pull $1,000 minimum for the bad cards and several thousand for the good ones, assuming the grades came back at a 7 or higher!"

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