@bactgudz I would find a store in the area to do the appraisal. Not sure where you are located, but thats a start. I assume there will be two appraisals anyway if the collection is substantial, one for spouse 1 and one for spouse 2...since ine probably wants a high appraisal and another wants low.
The card market has taken a beating in the last six months or so, with a lot of the Eternal format staples tanking in price. The set of NM/M German FBB Seas that I picked up in August for $4,100 in trade are probably worth about $3,300 now. The FBB Volcs I picked up for $3,000 are worth about $2,300 now. It has been a bloodbath.
I don't know how feasible it is overall, but I'd want to try and find a way to incorporate completed eBay listings in on the high-end items, if I were you. You shouldn't take the hit on what the cards were worth seven or eight months ago, you should be able to value everything at what it's all worth right now.
On the flip side, I'd also want to ensure that something like SCG prices weren't used as a benchmark, as they're astronomically overpriced on some cards (especially power).
Sorry to read this, it sucks. Good luck with everything.
You could try one of the valuation tools that collectinsure.com uses. Here is a link to their resource page:
You could also talk to Calvin over at BMG. I don't know offhand if he offers evaluations, but if I had to start anywhere, it would be with him. He deals in high value cards and large collections.
If you want to keep the cards, try to get a dealer buyout price and not just use their book worth. Or use buylist.
If nothing else, at least make sure to back out liquidation fees if you had to sell at auction or eBay (15-20%).
And make sure to use a replacement or real time value, not retail value. Neither you or your ex could ever sell at full retail value.
Sorry to hear of your situation.
Yeah, I'm trying to push lawyers towards dealers that have buylists substantial enough to touch a collection like this that would actually be eyeing properly for condition...it's a player collection...not a closet one. I don't want to go the collectinsure route because that is replacement value which is a higher standard of appraisal.
So I will note that ironically this represents the f**king danger of having collectors insurance. It wouldn't even have been on the radar if I haven't had a past policy lol. Like my wife's jewelry much of which has been conveniently lost over the past month...not insured beyond homeowners,ha.
I'll be honest with you OP, this is a tough situation.
Your Ex will know this collection has a ton of sentimental value to you and will overvalue it.
You'll want to keep the value low, so you'll be inclined to lowball it.
The fact that the Magic community is pretty incestuous makes valuation difficult, not to mention the extremely high variance of card prices (most cards can vary by 20-30% depending on where and when you buy them), and this doesn't even factor in trying to assess the condition of each card. Your lawyers are already salivating over the possibility of having to jointly value this collection.
Short of getting both lawyers to agree to maybe contact owners of two major companies (like SCG or CB) and try to get a true bid/value on the collection, I don't see you having a ton of options.
If I'm being honest, I think you might have to consider the possibility of not fighting for the collection. Unless you guys are super amicable, your Ex will know this is a place that they can really hurt you, so I'm guessing will not be inclined to be reasonable. If you insist on keeping the collection, you'll likely have to significantly overpay to do so. You might be better off declining to keep it and preferring a more liquid asset and rebuy your collection. Or try to jointly sell it to someone that will let you rebuy it (though I am guessing this would be a red flag for the lawyers).
I'm not saying this to be harsh, but I've witnessed emotional business settlements before and it's really tough to negotiate for something you can't let go of.
If nothing else, be careful with the lawyers. You can quickly lose the entire value of your collection, simply fighting for your collection. I've seen people spend tens of thousands of dollars, fighting over replaceable items worth hundreds. Fighting things on principal has a huge price during a divorce and a few months later the satisfaction will be gone. This is not hyperbole. As long as you are fighting, the meter is running.
@joshuabrooks thanks for the thoughts. I'm not emotional about it beyond anything else in the divorce...everything comes down to our child and we know this is noise. If I have to estate sale the collection so be it, it's just money but I don't think that will happen unless we end up with someone really dumb. There will be one mutually agreed upon appraiser, her side just wants to make sure they do what they're supposed to and aren't collaborating with me I'm sure, my side just wants to make sure it's not some damn idiot using tcgmid for a beat to shit lotus and stuff like that.
@bactgudz The insurance may help establish a date of purchase or time frame of ownership at least. How long was the marriage? Did she contribute to the cards in any way? Was there any misconduct on your part? It seems like, from what Ive read, that if you havent been married a long time, she contributed nothing to the cards and you werent cheating abusive etc. that you have a good shot at getting the cards.
@joshuabrooks makes a good point that the meter is running, but theres surely some minimum level of fighting that is economically viable
@rikter no it is an 11 year marriage. During that time there was about 4.5 years of magic playing with an amount of spending that can be quantified. And a significant amount of appreciation and trading...so it's a non trivial problem. Some of it is trivial-ish like if I had a beta sea and kept it and it appreciated x$ over 11 years is this mine? What if I started the marriage with a set of FBB tundras and traded them for a beta ruby that's now worth y$....there are a lot of non trivial arguments to be made
And when emotions are involved around custody of the kid, the Meter just runs...rationality is out the window. I mean look you've got a potential variable here that easily has some idiots pulling a number out of there ass close to half a mil and others short changing you at 40k. So even though there are some wicked high priced law firms involved they can spend a few tens of hours on this. I just hope they can agree soon. I thought maybe danial Chang did appraisals but I'm not so sure how I feel about him...never really dealt with him.
Well kudos to you for appearing to be honest about the contents. I think most guys would have made a midnight backpack delivery at their friends house.
"What black lotus? That was a lotus petal."
I kept thinking 'nono, it was a blacker lotus'.
Sorry to hear this, I've just seen a beautiful record collection of 30 years torn apart. Good luck.