A good trade binder always includes rares, chase uncommons, and lately pauper staples, but tokens are often overlooked trade binder tech. They are seen as worthless and undesirable, but that may be far from the truth. Over 800 official tokens have been printed over the 25 year history of Magic: The Gathering. Let’s dive deeper into why some tokens are desirable as well as which types of tokens you should consider keeping in your trade binder and trade on Cardsphere.
There are two main reasons tokens are desirable: utility and demand. The most important reason in a trading card game is utility. Creature tokens play a visual role in keeping track of the boardstate. Some players prefer this visual over other trackers such as dice, glass beads, or a card flipped over, which often may be overlooked or sometimes even forgotten in crowded battlefields. Other tokens serve as great tracking tools for Poison, Energy, and Experience counters. Emblems provide reminder text for a Planeswalker that might be buried in a player’s graveyard or exile pile.
Tokens are also in high demand by collectors, especially the completists. These collectors are known not only to track down every card in a set, but the tokens and basic lands too! Demand for tokens is also met by players seeking tokens that accompany cards in their decks that see sanctioned play in the Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Commander formats. However, the supply is often lower than it could be as tokens are often thrown away as trash, draft chaft, or stored away and not included in trade binders because of the preconceived notion that tokens are valueless.
Here are five types of tokens you should keep in your trade binder and trade on Cardsphere:
Magic Player Rewards Tokens
Magic Player Rewards was ran from 2001 until it was discontinued in 2010. This program rewarded players with 2 tokens by mail whenever they attended 5 DCI sanctioned events. Due to the difficulty of obtaining these tokens and the time that has lapsed since the program was discontinued, the Magic Player Rewards tokens can fetch up to $21 dollars for the Saproling Token from Invasion. There are seventeen more tokens from the Magic Player Rewards Program that can net between $2 and $19 dollars, notable mentions including the Zombie Token from Odyssey ($15), the Sliver Token from Legions ($16), the Spirit Token from Planeshift ($19), and the Squirrel Token from Odyssey ($8).
Magic League & FNM Promos
Between 2013 and 2015 Wizards of the Coast offered promotional tokens to participants in Magic League play, 20 to each store. Similarly to the Magic Rewards Tokens, the difficulty in obtaining the League tokens paired with the fact that the League token’s layout and format resembled regular tokens from standard booster packs, has lead to Magic League tokens that have some serious value. The most prized of the Magic League tokens is the Monk Token from Fate Reforged which is worth $17 bucks! Nine other League tokens are worth between $2 and $12 dollars. Notable mentions include the Enchantment Soldier Token from Born of the Gods ($9) and both the Minotaur League Token from Journey into Nyx as well as the Soldier League Token from Theros can fetch $7 bucks each!
More recently, the Friday Night Magic promo during Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan was a double-sided foil token. Most of these promos run between $1 and $3 dollars each. The Illusion // Saproling Token can nab close to $3 and the Pirate // Treasure Token can pull close to $2. The FNM double sided Human/Wolf token from the Innistrad block can also earn over a dollar.
Sanctioned Format Play and One-Offs
Popular cards in Modern, Legacy, and Commander are affected by supply and demand and their accompanying tokens are too. This especially rings true with one-off tokens, which have a specific accompanying card that aren’t interchangeable with tokens from other sets.
Some examples are
Voice of Resurgence, and
Wurmcoil Engine which is popular in Modern has two tokens, Wurm Token (Lifelink) & Wurm Token (Deathtouch), of which both Scars of Mirrodin versions can pull in over $5 dollars each. The accompanying 8/8 Beast Token to Godsire, which is popular in commander, can haul in close to $4 dollars and is still one of the most valuable cards in the set.
Dark Depths which is popular in legacy, has a foil Marit Lage Token printed in From the Vault: Lore, is still worth over $2 dollars.
Voice of Resurgence which is popular in Modern, has a / green/white Elemental Token which once one of the most valuable cards in Gatecrash, can still gain $2.50. And the black/white Human Cleric Token that accompanies
Westvale Abbey, popular in Commander, can still fork over close to $2 dollars and is still one of the most valuable cards from Shadows over Innistrad.
Tribal decks have been around as long as Magic and close sources tell me the popularity of tribal decks were solidified with the printing of Didgeridoo for Minotaurs. Maybe not, however well over twenty popular tribal tokens are worth more than $1 and over ten of those can fetch between $2 and $4 dollars. An even higher premium seems to be available for tribal tokens from un-sets like Unglued.
Notable tribes with tokens from various sets that have high pull value include the following creature type: Elemental, Insect, Dragon, Cleric, Vampire, Spirit, Goblin, Wolf, Soldier, Squirrel, and Zombie. The Unglued Squirrel, Zombie, Soldier, and Goblin tokens can score between $2 and $5. Other notable printings of valuable tribal tokens include: Dragon Token from Return To Ravnica ($3), Cleric- Enchantment Creature from Theros ($2), Vampire Tokens from Dark Ascension or Innistrad or Khans of Tarkir ($2 each), and the Insect with Flying & Deathtouch token from M15 ($3)
Emblems serve as reminder text for a Planeswalker that may no longer be in play. There are over 10 Planeswalker Emblems that are worth between $1 and $5 dollars. Elspeth, Sorin, Kiora, Venser, and Dack Fayden all have Emblems that would be worth trading. Both printings of the emblem for Elspeth, Knight-Errant can net between $4 and $5. The emblems for Sorin, Lord of Innistrad or Kiora, The Crashing Wave can also pull in close to $3.
There are many other valuable tokens that weren’t touched on in this blog post but it’s worth noting that tokens from media promotions, magazine subscriptions, launch parties, and other various promotional giveaways may be worth between $5 and $15 dollars as well and worth investigating.
One of the easiest ways to identify if you have any valuable tokens is to do a TCGPlayer.com search for “Token” or “Emblem” and sort from “Price: High to Low” and browse until you flag a token you remember might be in your collection somewhere. Then it’s time to break out that old draft chaft or pile of discarded tokens and sort away. Once you find some of those valuable tokens, list them on Cardsphere and throw them in your trade binder.