Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Nick. Your personal anecdotes give a human reminder to the craziness going on with Reserved List pricing.
As someone who has benefitted by your stewardship and role in the community, thank you for all that you have done. That Mox Ruby that you gave out in 2009 is always sleeved up and ready for a game. Like you, I think of all of the friends who bought in and later sold out -- not because they wanted to stop playing, but because the prices got high enough that they were uncomfortable retaining the cards. I'm sad that they weren't ever able to get back in.
For a long, long time -- at least 8 years, maybe more, I've had my heart set on buying a playset of Bazaar of Baghdad. Not because I ever want to play the card in a sanctioned Magic tournament, but because I knew I'd always be able to hand someone a deck to play at Eternal Weekend. Though, at each point in my Magic career, they were always slightly out of reach. In 2012, at NYSE, I remember that they were $300-$400 ish dollars. I had just started working, had only $5000 in savings, and was taught that I need to have a cushion to fall back on. So I didn't pick any up. There were always other things that seemed more important. Foil cards that were more affordable that I could use to play EDH or wanted for sentimental reasons (looking at you, Karn Liberated; I know you know something about that). Not wanting to take the vendor hit on all the cards I worked so hard for.
In 2018, when I came into an absurd amount of trade equity, it was Test Print Llanowar Elves because of their rarity. There were many more Bazaars in existence (I thought) than these oddities. When would I ever see them again? Bazaars were $600.
In 2020, during the pandemic, living in NYC and barely scraping by, I had another chance to buy Bazaars. But who knew what was happening with the economy? I could be frugal. And again I was afraid of taking that 30% hit on the value of my cards. I passed. Bazaars were $1200.
Now I don't think I'll ever have them. I should have prioritized them higher. That was my mistake, and I own it. (This is why I'm not in finance. lol). But it's just so painful that even being engaged in the format for so long, there are multiple pillars of the format (Bazaars and Workshops) that I'll never be able to play in a sanctioned event. And, moreover, now there will always be at least 1 person I can't help play in Vintage Champs. Not to mention the dozens or more who would have been interested otherwise, but can't pay-to-play.