- Kathy Ice. Card Collector Confidential, Scrye Magazine, Feb 1995.
Imagine if you will. Ireland, a game store in the late summer of 1994. Magic has celebrated its one-year anniversary. Players are cracking boosters from the newly released The Dark, dreaming about opening the legendary Leviathan. A couple of novice mages have just built their first decks from a few packs of "Gathering". Spells like Clone and the flavor of the Oi-Oi Troll capture their imagination, as they are yet to find out about Doppelgangers or Juzams.
|And Power Sink is an interrupt.|
|And Mana Drain gives mana burn.|
Summer Magic, or Edgar, is a set shrouded with rumors, legends and conspiracy theories. Wizards of the Coast officially denied the cards existence until October 1996, when they were described as "near mythical", stating that a few cards just had gotten misbordered. In 2003 they spoke of it again, then calling it a cancelled shipment of Revised. There's no official information about how many cards were printed, how many were released, or even why the set came to be. There are some theories though.
In April 1994, Revised was released to a rapidly growing base of Magic players. It was the most printed set of Magic by a wide margin. The set had some big issues though. People complained about the washed out colors, the "two-dimensional" edges, font issues (like missing apostrophes), and incorrect artist credits. The set had some more blatant errors as well, most famously that Serendib Efreet got printed with the art and green border of Ifh-Biff Efreet. Additionally, wizards had grown more concerned about the backlash suffered from occult references in the game. Something needed to be done.
|Like airbrushing the pentagram away from the demon's forehead.|
A popular theory states that Summer Magic was in fact no test print nor tiny run, but instead put the size of the run around 120 million cards. Richard Garfield reportedly confirmed this while he spoke at ConQuest in November 1994. When the cards eventually were shown to WotC, they deemed the quality of the set insufficient and burned the entire print run. Almost.
|A subtle hint on Summer Magic from the Magic the Puzzling book? If nothing else, it's very puzzling ;)|
|Pick your poison.|
The packs looked identical to Revised though, and somewhere along the line there was a mixup. A tiny amount of product, most sources state 4 cases, were accidentally released to the public under the guise of Revised boosters. The booster boxes were then reportedly distributed in Tennessee, Texas, and Ireland. One of the cases ended up at retailer Troll and Toad, who famously wrote a big green "E" on the boosters to distinguish them from Revised.
|E is for Edgar.|
Daniel Chang is one of the most acknowledged traders of high end Magic rarities in the world. If you want a booster box of Arabian Nights or mint graded Alpha Power, he'll get it for you. If you want Jesper Myrfors to paint a reinterpretation of Obsianus Golem for you, he can probably set it up. So when I wanted to know about the business of collecting Summer Magic cards, Daniel seemed like the go-to-guy. I sent him an email, and he was quick to set up a Skype meeting. So did anyone actually complete a set?
Well, he had a complete set himself for one. Daniel estimated that there were actually eight or nine in existence. As for how many copies of each cards there were, he could give some qualified guesses. "My guess, and it's more of a fact than a guess but I can't give my source, is that some cards from the common sheet are more rare than some of the rares and uncommons. And there are uncommons that are more rare than certain rare cards." Daniel stated that, as far as he had seen, the two main sources of Summer cards had been Ireland and Seattle itself. Many of the cards in circulation had come from employees at Wizards, and as such, they had been more prominent to pick up the rares. "Many collectors ask how many cards there are, but it's impossible to know. I would guess around 20-40, maybe even 50, of the rares. The uncommons are probably between 30-200, and the commons are about the same. That might sound like a lot, but even compared to Alpha which had 1100 of each rare and I don't know how many thousands of the uncommons, it's incredibly few."
|So this might be the most crazy set of duals in the world. First time they are shown on the web btw :)|
If we were to legalize another set in 93/94, Summer Magic would be at the top of my list. It would be pretty damn cool to get my Thunder Spirits destroyed by a blue Hurricane.
An extra thanks to Daniel Chang for the info on Summer collecting and the pictures of the graded Summer cards. Daniel will be launching the his vintagemagic website (www.vintagemagic.com) this Summer, and the crew will be attending their first Magic Grand Prix in Las Vegas May 28th to 31st. If you want to contact them, you can check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vintagemtg or email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org.