$60,000 Worth of Lost Magic: The Gathering Cards Returned to Owner Through Reddit Post – Faith in Humanity Restored
When Magic player Tom Grayson travelled to New York Comic Con a few weeks ago, he never anticipated that it might become one of the worst weekends of his life.
While attending the convention, a binder containing the majority of Tom’s Magic: The Gathering collection went missing. “I’m not exactly sure how I lost it,” Tom said later. “I only took it out of my case once and put it back in after sharing with some of my friends.” In a panic, Tom visited the convention’s Lost and Found and did not find the binder.
“I was extremely devastated,” Tom recounted.
Lost amongst the crowd
Tom started playing Magic in 1994, just a year after the game was created. He eventually stopped playing the game, but continued to grow his collection as the game progressed over the past two decades.
“Just to give an idea of how much the binder … was worth,” Tom said, “it has a Beta Black Lotus, Alpha Mox series (except for Mox Sapphire), Alpha Time Walk, a playset of each of the original dual lands from various sets, at least one of each foil planeswalker, one of each Zendikar Expedition and more. The total price of this binder comes to approximately $60,000.”
“I honestly can’t even describe how upset I was,” said Tom. “I had just about given up in tears.”
Found by a boy
It was the final day of Comic Con. Andrew, a teenager from New York, was making his final rounds around the exhibit floor booths while he waited for his mom to pick him up. Then he saw something unusual.
“At the corner of the floor of one of the booths was a binder that I could kinda tell was a trade binder,” Andrew said. The nearest booth was a t-shirt vendor, so Andrew correctly assumed the trade binder did not belong to them. When he picked up the binder and looked through it, he was shocked at what he found.
“The contents of the binder were ridiculous,” Andrew recalled. “I saw a lot of the Power Nine, lots of foils of expensive cards… I was just really confused at what I should do at the time and since my ride home was almost there, I just ended up taking it home with me.”
As Andrew wrote in a Reddit post a few days later, when he got home he still hadn’t decided what to do with the binder. “I just stared at the binder for a good 30 minutes thinking what to do,” he wrote. He spent that time thinking about his current circumstances, his parents’ recent divorce, struggles in school, and difficulties with finances.
“I didn’t know that the collection was worth $60k, but I did know it was worth a lot, more than the amount of money I’ve made working at the library,” Andrew said.
Then Andrew thought about the person who had lost the binder, and how they must have been feeling. “I knew that whoever lost the binder would probably be depressed about it for the rest of their lives.” Andrew wrote, “as compared to me who would be temporarily happy getting a lot of money.” He later recalled, “When I compared the value of the binder to me and the value of the binder to [its owner], I knew what I had to do.”
At that moment, Andrew made up his mind.
The Reddit post
“Someone dropped a binder filled with ridiculously expensive cards such as a playset of foil Liliana of the Veils, most of the power 9, and other amazing cards at New York Comic Con.
Whoever (and I hope they see this post) knows about this, please send me a PM and we can work things out.”
Over the course of the afternoon the Magic community began to comment on the post, which eventually received 366 upvotes. Over the next few hours Andrew made some edits to the original post, clarifying that he was no longer at the convention but lived close by, asked that the owner of the binder provide a description in a private message, and expressed the intention of turning the binder in to the police the following day if nobody spoke up.
Comments on the post ranged from admissions from people who would have kept the binder, to a comment that accused Andrew of stealing and received a great amount of upvotes. The comment was later deleted by its author.
The good news
Meanwhile, Tom Grayson was unaware that his binder had been found. He had returned home, and while he had told a few friends about the incident, he had all but written the binder off as lost.
Later that day, one of Tom’s friends contacted him and told him there was a post on Reddit describing his binder and saying it had been found. “I don’t go to Reddit very often and have never bothered making an account,” Tom wrote in his own Reddit post. “The amount of emotions of relief, happiness and strength that flowed into me was something I’ve never experienced before.”
Tom quickly created a Reddit account and sent a private message to the person who made made the post, whose account was called “Lolhentai4ever”. (“It’s basically … a joke between friends,” Andrew said of the username. “I was never really expecting to become this known.”) Tom described his binder and its contents, and they arranged an exchange the following day.
Trains, taxis and a blueberry tart
The next day, which also happened to be Columbus Day, Tom a took train and a taxi to Andrew’s home, carrying a blueberry tart and a thank-you card. The teenager’s mom answered the door. Tom was worried she would think he was a “weird stranger in his 50s randomly showing up on Columbus Day,” but she knew why he was there and called Andrew to the door.
After confirming that Tom was the binder’s owner and viewing his driver’s license, Andrew expected that he would return the binder and Tom would be on his way. Instead, his mom invited the man in to join them in eating the pastry he had brought. “We spent a good time talking about the collection, Mr. Grayson himself, and Magic in general,” Andrew said. “He tried to give us a thank-you card with money in it, but [we] rejected it.”
After talking about Magic, Tom and Andrew played a game using two of Andrew’s Standard decks, Atarka Red and GW Hardened Scales. Before he left, Tom told Andrew he could pick two cards out of the binder. The first card he picked was the Wooded Foothills Expedition so he could use it in his Atarka Red deck. Then he picked a Glorious Anthem promo that looked cool. “I didn’t even think it could be that expensive because the normal card goes for around a dollar I think,” Andrew said (the average price for a non-foil Glorious Anthem is $1.50).
Little did Andrew know, the promo was worth far more.
“I know I couldn’t have accepted it if I had known,” said Andrew, “and I think Mr. Grayson gave it to me without telling me because he knew I would.” After he discovered the card’s worth, he decided to hold onto it and put it in a family member’s safe.
In the days following the incident, Andrew has received many messages on Reddit offering to send him gifts, most of which he has turned down. Among the offers he accepted were:
- A personal gift from a Wizards of the Coast representative.
- A play-mat from Magic artist Noah Bradley.
- A game store owner offering to send Andrew some cards for an EDH deck he is building.
“With accepting gifts, I think I drew the line at… actual money,” Andrew said. “I’m really happy that I made the right decision and… contributed to the Magic community in a positive way.”
Thanks for reading,