This Day in MTG History: Collectors' Edition

This Day in Magic History: Collectors’ Edition (Dec. 10, 1993)

Jacob LacknerLegacy, Products

Welcome to another edition of “This Day in Magic History!” Today, we’re going to take a look at the December 10, 1993 release of Collector’s Edition. This set contained every single card from Beta, but they featured a different card back and they were not tournament legal. This should sound very familiar to you as it bears a striking resemblance to the much-maligned 30th Anniversary Edition, which came out on Nov. 28 of this year!

The original gold border Magic card.

Breaking Down Collector’s Edition

Collectors’ Edition was a special release product that could be obtained just in time for the 1993 holiday season. For $49.95 ($102.10 adjusted for inflation), you received a box that contained a single copy of all 302 cards from Beta. The cards it contained had to be from Beta rather than Alpha, because Alpha was actually missing several cards, including the very important Volcanic Island!

In addition to having a different card back, the cards also looked slightly different on their face, featuring some slight differences in coloration. Collectors’ Edition cards also featured square corners, while the Beta printing of cards featured rounded corners.

When Collectors’ Edition was announced, demand for the product was higher than Wizards of the Coast anticipated. Around 9,000 boxes were shipped in the United States, and around 5,000 were shipped to Europe. The sets sent to Europe featured “International Edition” on the back instead of “Collectors’ Edition,” but are otherwise identical. 

While 14,000 boxes was a huge number in late 1993, it does mean the cards from this set are actually quite scarce. And despite not being tournament legal, the cost of obtaining these cards today is fairly high. 

The Legacy of Collectors’ Edition

Collectors’ Edition marked the first time a gold border was used on a Magic card. This is something Wizards would continue to use on the later World Championship Deck series. From 1997 to 2004, Wizards printed special preconstructed decks that had finished in the Top 4 at the World Championship. 

As with Collectors’ Edition, these cards featured gold borders to signify that they were not tournament-legal. There is one key difference though — World Championship cards feature the gold border on the front.

The 30th Anniversary Edition was inspired by Collectors’ Edition, with both containing nearly all the same cards. However, it is much more difficult to obtain a complete set of 30th Anniversary Edition

With Collectors’ Edition, you paid $49.95 to receive a single copy of every card. Meanwhile, 30th Anniversary Edition is only available in booster packs of randomized cards.The price tag of $999 for four of these booster packs played a major factor in the community panning the set. If 30th Anniversary Edition was released in the same way as Collectors’ Edition, the community would have viewed it much more positively!

End Step

That does it for this week. I’ll be back next week with a look at another important event in Magic history!