CGC-certified Alpha Ancestral Recall Pulled on "Pawn Stars" Hits the Auction Block
Posted on 11/22/2023
Matt Quinn, Vice President of CGC Cards™, recently shared his expertise on the Magic: The Gathering TCG during an episode of “Pawn Stars,” a popular History Channel series. During the episode, Quinn was present to authenticate the cards within a sealed Magic: The Gathering Beta Edition Starter Deck that Chumlee purchased from a customer and then opened on camera. To everyone’s delight, the opening revealed a pack-fresh Ancestral Recall Alpha Edition card, which is now being offered in an upcoming CertifiedLink auction.
In 1993, Wizards of the Coast released Beta, its second Limited Edition Magic: The Gathering set. The print run was reported to be around 7.8 million cards in total, evenly distributed between 60-card starter decks and 15-card booster packs. Beta contained a total of 302 cards, including 117 rares — nine of which were the coveted Power Nine.
The Power Nine, a group of nine rare Magic: The Gathering cards, were later banned for being too powerful in gameplay. The cards within the Power Nine were Black Lotus, Time Walk, Ancestral Recall, Timetwister, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire, Mox Pearl, Mox Jet and Mox Emerald. All of the Power Nine cards are very valuable, with none more so than Black Lotus. Ancestral Recall is not far behind, with CGC-certified examples selling for five figures at auction.
A little surprise
At the time when Wizards of the Coast was to begin distributing Beta, there were some leftover sheets of rares from the Limited Edition Alpha set, which ended up begin used in the beginning of Beta’s production run. Only around 1,100 copies of each Alpha Edition rare were printed in total, so to find one of the Alpha rares in a sealed Beta Edition product was an extremely uncommon event, and a nice little surprise!
Alpha Edition Magic: The Gathering cards can be differentiated from their Beta Edition counterparts by their corners. Limited Edition Beta cards have less-rounded corners than those in Alpha Edition. Due to this, there is a difference from the standard half-inch corner found on playing cards.
On the episode of “Pawn Stars Do America,” a customer approaches Chumlee with a sealed Magic: The Gathering Limited Edition Beta deck, looking to sell it for approximately $40,000. After asking Matt Quinn to look at the Deck, Chumlee and the customer agree on a price of $25,000 outright and, if a Black Lotus were to be pulled from the deck, they would split that card’s profit 50/50. Upon opening the deck, a Black Lotus wasn’t present — but a flawless Ancestral Recall was. To watch the clip from "Pawn Stars", click here.
“The Ancestral Recall is one of the top three cards you can pull from a Beta starter deck,” said Matt Quinn. “The centering looked amazing, and the only thing more valuable would have been a Black Lotus itself.”
After the deck was purchased, the cards were submitted to CGC Cards for authentication, grading and encapsulation. There, CGC Cards confirmed that the Ancestral Recall was a Limited Edition Alpha card that had been inserted into the Beta deck. It received a grade of CGC Pristine 10 and is pedigreed as Pawn Stars Beta Starter Break.
The CGC-certified Ancestral Recall, along with other cards from the Pawn Stars Beta Starter Break, are being offered in CertifiedLink’s Magic: The Gathering auction. Bidding is already underway and is set to end on December 7, 2023.
Note: At the time some of these cards were graded, they were encapsulated with the original CGC Cards label. Starting July 11, 2023, CGC Cards began encapsulating cards with the new CGC Cards label. In addition to the new label, collectors enjoy many other benefits with CGC Cards, such as the ability to submit without purchasing a membership and an industry-standard Gem Mint 10 grading Scale. For more information, go here.
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