As we all know, mothers are the #1 enemy of valuable collectibles. In their quest to remove clutter, nothing is safe—not even a coin collection. In the case of a mother in Japan, disaster was narrowly avoided when she attempted to sell her son’s “Various Old Cards” on Yahoo Auctions with bidding starting only at 1,000 yen (US$9). Unbeknownst to her, the collection included one of Magic the Gathering’s rarest cards—the Black Lotus.
The Black Lotus card (white border) is from the Unlimited Edition, and is worth around $5000 (an alpha deck Black Lotus card with a black border can be worth up to $30K).
Not surprisingly, the bidding climbed quickly.
With five days left to go, the auction reached 601,000 yen ($5,475). At that point the mom knew something was up.
“I apologize to those who placed bids,” she wrote on the auction page, “but I put these up without knowing they had this much value.”
She contacted her son, who no longer lives at home. He didn’t take the news well.
“With my family on the brink of collapse, I’m calling off this auction.”
She added that her son would be picking up his cards immediately. He should have never left them in the first place.
And that brings me to my point. As far as I’m concerned, the mother is (mostly) blameless in this incident. She could have told him first of course, but she could also have simply tossed the cards out. Besides, the auction was going well—the son should have let it ride to see where it went over the last five days.