Uncoding the value of trading cards

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
December 9, 2016

Growing up in the 1990s, nearly every birthday, Christmas or trip to a grocery store I pleaded with my parents for a pack of sports trading cards. Usually, they’d deliver, and sometimes I’d be lucky enough to score an entire box.

My parents always told me to hold on to them because they’d be worth money someday.

Looking back through those old cards brings a fun sense of nostalgia, and I’ve since come to terms that few sports cards made after 1980 are worth much money. That’s because today they’ve lost popularity, and so many were made post 1980 that anything made since isn’t very rare.

Financially, apparently I was collecting the wrong trading cards.

Of all the cards on the market, nothing is more popular than Magic: The Gathering. MTG, which was created in 1993 by Richard Garfield and published by Wizards of the Coast, has been popular since its inception and boasts 20 million players as of 2015.

Because of the large draw, there are plenty of buyers looking to collect the rarest MTG cards. Three years ago, arguably Magic’s most famous card—The Black Lotus—fetched $27,302 during an auction.

Obviously, Black Lotuses aren’t hanging out in every collector’s stack of cards, but if you want to begin playing MTG or want to bolster your existing collection with some rare cards, Seattle Goodwill has a treasure trove awaiting.

On shopgoodwill.com Magic card players or traders can find 17-pound boxes of cards for sale. That’s right, 17-POUND BOXES. Hand selected sets of 30-40 rare cards also are available and even some individual cards.

Pete Williams, who specializes in listing trading cards for Seattle Goodwill’s Online store, said he saw a dual lands Magic card sell for upward of $200 online.

Here are some things to look for when shopping trading cards at Goodwill:

Magic: The Gathering


  • Fifteen cards come in a traditional MTG booster pack. You’ll receive one basic land card, 10 common cards, three uncommon cards and one rare or mythic rare card.
  • The color of the expansion set symbol will indicate the rarity of a card. Black = common, silver = uncommon, gold = rare and orange/red/bronze = mythic.
  • Don’t forget about foil cards. They will also have a colored symbol and have a great chance of being valuable. Treat them as you would a rare card.



  • Look at the bottom-right corner of your card to determine its rarity. Circle = common, diamond = uncommon, star = rare, star H or three stars = special or extra rare.
  • Holographic cards have a shiny, foil layer and a rare holographic card indicates it is probably has some value.
  • Most Pokémon cards display the Pokémon’s level after the name on the top right. Some cards have additional symbols, and those cards tend to hold value. Symbols could include an ex, a star, LV.X, or SP.
  • Like most trading cards, Pokémon cards created early on often hold value. Any card that reads “Wizards of the Coast” at the bottom is from 1999-2000. Also, look for a first edition stamp.  

Visit Goodwill’s online or eBay store find all the MTG and Pokémon cards you’re looking for.

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DIY: Glittered Mason Jar Candle Holders

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
December 4, 2016

Glittered Mason Jar Candle HoldersGlittered Mason Jar candle holders look great as a table centerpiece, on the mantle, or guiding your guests up your pathway for your holiday party. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the most difficult DIY project that precipitates Pinterest failsand one being the easiest DIY project you’ve ever encountered—this project is about a two. Here are the supplies you’ll need:

From Goodwill:
Mason Jars
Candles that stand on their own
(I found two mason jars with hangars already attached, and a whole bag of white votives for a total of $4 at our Flagship store on Dearborn.)

From a craft store (or Fred Meyer):
Spray Adhesive
Glitter (finer glitter works better!)
Polyurethane Spray-on Sealant

Glittered Mason Jar candle Holders - SuppliesGiven that no one wants glitter tracked all over their house—and it involves spray-on chemicals—I advise doing this project outside or in a well-ventilated garage, and over a cardboard box or ground covering to make glitter clean up easier.

Step One: Wash and completely dry the mason jars.

Upside Down Mason JarsStep Two: Spray adhesive
With the jar upside down, spray the bottom, and part of the sides—where ever you spray, glitter will be.

Step Three: Glitter
Right after you spray the adhesive, while it’s still very tacky (like your best ugly Christmas sweater), sprinkle the glitter over the whole outside of the jar. If you’re not feeling like it’s glittery enough, spray it again, and roll it in the glitter mess you just made. Give it 15-20 minutes to dry.

Glittered Mason JarsStep Four: Seal
After you’ve given the adhesive 15-20 minutes to dry, shake off your jars (to remove loose glitter), and add a coat of the polyurethane sealant, and let it dry. If you can still brush glitter off your jars at that point, add another coat. Note: Polyurethane can stay stinky for a while. I advise giving your glittery candle holders a day before you bring them in your home.

Step Five: Add candles
Place your candles in your jars—wherever you may have placed them—and enjoy the glittery glow!

Like the paper trees in the photo, too? Here’s how to make them.

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Vinyl records making a major resurgence

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
December 2, 2016

Before MP3 files on iPods and Bluetooth capability, before CD players and audio tapes, vinyl records were the music industry’s king of sound.

For many music enthusiasts, though, whether it be collectors, DJs who want to stay true to their roots or people wanting the unique aesthetic of dropping the needle down and listening to that authentic record sound, desire for vinyl has never diminished.

Seattle Goodwill is an excellent option to find some of the most unique, coveted records available.

We regularly receive pallets of vinyls. Shopping in store gives customers a few solid options to choose from, but online at shopgoodwill.com or on our eBay store is where the rarest records exist and where the best deals await.

“A lot of lots go from $30-$40 and consist of six to nine records,” Seattle Goodwill Auction Lister Bennett Tiglao said. “That is good considering most could sell for $10-$20 each, so you’re getting great deals.”

Vinyl, in fact, is making a massive resurgence. Forbes.com reported vinyl record sales grew by 30 percent in 2015. Just under 12 million records were sold, up from 9.19 million in 2014. The Wall Street Journal reported the number of vinyl sales are the highest recorded by SoundScan since it began tracking in 1991.

So why are music connoisseurs going back to their old ways?

The answer is two-fold. One, many digital downloads don’t offer the same pristine sound quality records do. Vinyls supply a crisp, richer quality that digital music simply does not. Secondly, there is something to be said about physically holding and using a product.

“People also just really romanticize with vinyl,” said Bennett, who used to work as DJ. “With vinyl, you can actually see the music. You can see how big and long that song is just by looking at the vinyl itself. You can’t do that with CDs and stuff. Also, with a lot of vinyls it’s a relic of the past. The record covers themselves are highly collectible.”

Tips for collectors

  • Look at the label: While trying to identify the worth of a vinyl record, one of the first steps should be checking out what label the record derives from. For example, if you’re looking at a vinyl from Blue Note Records or Capitol Records, there’s a good chance it holds some worth.
  • Small labels matter, too: On the opposite end of the spectrum, many records on indie labels are valuable, too. For instance, take Sub Pop Records, which is rooted in Seattle. They produced music from Nirvana, Mud Honey and a lot of that 90s grunge sound. Because it’s an independent label, less records were made, making them rarer, which ultimately drives up the value.
  • Trust your instincts: Simply put, anything Beatles or Rolling Stones is going to be valuable.
  • Don’t forget quality: It all depends whether or not you’re collecting the record for the cover art or for the actual music itself. If it’s the latter, then you want to ensure the vinyl is free of deep scratches or mold. Surface dust or dirt is OK, because it can be wiped clean, but nothing can fix a deep blemish.

Top 10 vinyl sales of 2015 reported by Forbes

1. Adele “25” (116,00 sales)

2. Taylor Swift “1989” (74,000)

3. Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” (50,000)

4. The Beatles “Abbey Road” (49,800)

5. Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” (49,000)

6. Artic Monkeys “AM” (48,000)

7. Sufjan Stevens “Carrie & Lowell” (44,900)

8. Alabama Shakes “Sound & Color” (44,600)

9. Hozier “Hozier” (43,000)

10. Various Artists “Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack” (43,000)

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Goodwill Faces: Shak, Anja, J.C., & Asia

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
November 29, 2016

Catch up on Goodwill Faces with the four stories below. Tune into our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to follow our weekly #GoodwillFaces series! 

#GoodwillFaces - ShakShak moved from Hawaii to Seattle a year-and-a-half ago out of necessity, with no means of income. One of his three daughters needed a kidney transplant and had to be close to Seattle Children’s. Living out of a car for a year-and-a-half while his family stayed in Ronald McDonald Program housing, Shak discovered Goodwill’s free Job Training and Education Programs. He completed the Industrial Vehicles Training Program, among others, earned his Commercial Driver’s License, is now employed full time and is looking forward to moving into a place with his family soon, since his daughter recently received her new kidney.

“When I was in the van, I could see my kids at the park. There was a big park outside, and I would just come and see them at the park. But while I was in the van, I was like, ‘I need to do something.’ That’s when I went to the library, got a library card, and that is when I went online and I saw Goodwill and the programs they offered. It’s helped me to be self-sufficient, and it helps me to provide for my family, and it also keeps me busy. It’s hard to even just maintain a positive attitude, your daughter waiting for a kidney and living in a van. I’m not use to this weather, so I’m still getting accustomed to this rain. Being able to have (learned) a lot of the programs, man it helps a whole lot. Not only do you get job training, but you get more personal things that you can hang onto for a lifetime. The main thing, at least where I come from, the man should provide for the family. Not saying the lady can’t, but with the CDL, I can definitely provide more than If I wasn’t driving, and so it’s a blessing in every way.”


#GoodwillFaces - AnjaAnja found herself confined to her new home after leaving life behind in Germany in order to move with her husband and kids to Bremerton. She had no friends, no job and began experiencing depression. Anja sought help, she wanted to work and was directed to Seattle Goodwill where she took classes and earned her GED. Anja now works at Goodwill’s Silverdale location as Retail Supervisor following several job promotions.

“It was a little bit from everything, probably—no family here, not really friends. The first two years were hard. I got bored at home. I gained a ton of weight. Then I started this therapy group. I met a lot of people. I just kind of found my way through all this. The therapy, it helped. It helped going out, and it helped a lot being in this class. I liked being a material handler, too. It was like I was needed. The money you make, I mean it’s nice to have all these extra things. I could take my kids to places now and you don’t have to think about every dime we spend. It was nice to help support a family. I’m much more positive now. (Goodwill) helped me get out of my depression, helped me get a new start, feeling more confident in myself. Goodwill itself, working here, it’s fun. We have a great team. It’s fun to work for a company like that, that does such great things. There were people in my class that literally came from the street, and it feels good when they find a job. It feels good being a part of that and that is one of the main things that keeps me here. I like what we do and what we are doing it for.”


#GoodwillFaces - J.C. J.C.’s family has always had close connections to nonprofit and human service-type work. His mom recently retired as the CFO of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and his dad worked for the Urban League and other nonprofits. His aunt, Peggy Maxie, was the first black woman to be elected to the Washington State House of Representatives. J.C., though, spent 30 years working at for profit companies before discovering Seattle Goodwill. J.C. was between jobs and his family was encouraging him to look into nonprofit work when a friend alerted him to Goodwill’s Job Training and Education Programs. J.C. got hired on as an instructor and after teaching the retail and customer service course, he now serves as Goodwill’s Employer Liaison Manager, forging strong relationships with employers from Goodwill’s sector programs. He’s impacted countless lives through the work he’s done with Goodwill’s JTE students.

“Once you’re involved with (the students), it’s just like they love you to death, forever. Literally, I might not see a person for a year or something and I’ll see them and they’re like, ‘Oh, J.C.,’ and they know everything and are like, ‘How’s the wife and kids,’ It’s just so cool… I had a retail student who graduated from the program, just kind of middle of the road. She had a lot of anxiety and angst to speak publicly, but we kind of got her through it. She had never had a job before. The last week (of the program) we really focused on completing a lot of job applications and sending them out. She got three job offers. She was like, ‘I’ve never even had a job. Now I have three job offers,’ and so we asked her to come back, and I think we gave her an award at the graduation. But what I didn’t even know until the graduation was she said, ‘Part of my problem was people always telling me I couldn’t do it.’ And she said, ‘I have a learning disability,’ and I don’t know what it was because I never noticed it. She always just seemed a little shy, but she said for the first time in my life—she was probably 26—she said you guys really made me believe that I could do it. And she’s been working ever since. It’s that kind of stuff. It’s super cool.” -J.C.


#GoodwillFaces - AsiaAsia, a Seattle Goodwill Youth Aerospace Program student, spent her early youth in California before moving to the Philippines for high school. Asia moved back to the U.S. after high school and was directed to Goodwill’s YAP, where she’s underwent a major personal transformation while discovering a promising career path.

“I am kind of the home kid, because I don’t really explore a lot outside. I’m like the quiet kid who just sits up front and listens. Once I made friends thesecond day, that’s when everybody clicked. Once we made some friends, we became a whole family. I think the whole experience that I’ve had here has really changed all of us. At first we were all just kids that came from everywhere and didn’t know anyone. It changed me a lot. I was that kid who always locked up and ever wanted to show my true me. My mom sees it; I’m out going more. This program is just changing all of us from teenagers to becoming real adults.” - Asia

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Goodwill’s Cyber Monday Sale

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
November 28, 2016

This year there are a number of ways you can support Seattle Goodwill’s job training and education programs on Cyber Monday! Last week we launched #SparkleSale—which is open through November 30. Yesterday we told you about Amazon Smile and Give Back Box—today we’re giving you a little peak into some of the goods available in our Cyber Monday sale on eBay!

Today only, find designer and vintage clothes and accessories at discounts ranging from 15-50% with free shipping! Find a small sampling of some of the available products below.

Click here to shop Cyber Monday at our eBay store.

Marc JacobsJoseph Ribkoff DressIsabel MarantTory Burch JacketGucci BootsCoachKate Spade

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