Still Have Your Pokemon Cards? Some Of Them May Be Worth A Ton Of Money Right Now
In this day and age, it pays to keep your old, nostalgic items in good condition. Since it’s difficult to predict how certain items will appreciate over time, it’s a good idea to take care of all your belongings; just in case they become worth something in the future. Presently, one of the hottest commodities in the trading sphere today is something that you may still have in a shoebox in your attic or closet: Pokémon cards.
Among the overwhelming assortment of Pokémon merchandise available on the market, the Pokémon trading card game remains to be one of the franchise’s most lucrative properties to date, constituting a multimillion-dollar industry that thrives off of major tournaments and big-time trades. As of last year, the game has sold over 30.4 billion cards worldwide, and that number continues to grow with sales rapidly flying off the charts.
What was once a largely millennial practice has now become a multigenerational sensation, with collectors both young and old getting in on the “catch ’em all” action.
The unboxing craze: a hobby for rich nostalgics
Popular streamers on Twitch and YouTube have been buying into the TCG mania, which has reinvigorated the hype for Pokémon cards. American internet personality Logan Paul is one of many influencers who put a spotlight on the trend after he bought a $200,000 first-edition box set last October. On a live stream, he auctioned off the 36 packs from the box to bidders, then proceeded to open each one in front of 300,000 viewers.
Not only was the live stream an instant hit (it has brought in 11.6 million views since it was posted), Paul also donated all of the proceeds from the auction to charity, which was a nice touch.
Since then, other high-profile figures have joined the hunt for the rarest Pokémon cards. DJ Steve Aoki recently started his own unboxing live streams, while rapper Logic added a $220,000 first-edition Charizard to his collection just last year. Endorsements of the TCG from celebrities like these have resulted in Pokémon card prices catapulting to record highs, with some top collectibles over $50 seeing a 466% jump in value.
Of course, Pokémon card unboxings have been around long before Paul’s video. In fact, some YouTubers have even built entire careers around them. To think that the little pieces of cardboard that gave us so much joy and happiness when we were kids could now be worth a fortune—that alone is enough of a reason for people to dust off their binders and get back into the game.
And even if they aren’t interested in collecting, they can still tune in and relive their childhoods. To them, there’s nothing better than the sound of silver foil wrappers being unwrapped.
How do Pokémon cards increase in value?
The very first Pokémon trading card game was developed and released by Wizards of the Coast in 1999. The original base set, which consisted of 102 cards, had holographic versions of various staple characters, including Alakazam, Chansey, and Kangaskhan. First-editions of these cards are the rarest, and their prices will differ based on their printed run (Shadowless, Unlimited, or 2000).
While such cards have always been relatively pricey, it was not until the pandemic hit in 2020 that their value really started to skyrocket. With fans not being able to go out to capture pocket monsters on Pokémon GO, they began to seek other ways to satiate their nostalgic needs. Pokémon card unboxing videos ended up being the perfect solution, and as a natural result of the increased traffic, new life was breathed into the collecting craze.
John McDonalds, the Senior VP of Product at TCGplayer (a main Pokémon card reseller), says that his company has sold over 16.2 million Pokémon cards online throughout 2020. “We have a lot more serious collector money influencing the market than what we had previously. They have a little bit of spending money in their pockets, and they want the cards that reminded them of how fun it was to be 10 years old.”
Sensically, the more difficult is to find a certain card, the greater value that card possesses. In TCGplayer’s case, for example, their top-selling cards were all Charizards, which are very scarce in number (and thus also very rare). This relationship between scarcity and value is something that isn’t readily seen in other card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, where greater value is attached to cards that are actually useful in a game or tournament.
The rarest of them all
So far, Logan Paul has spent as much as $2,000,000 on first-edition box sets in hopes that he will find a gem to add to his expensive collection. But you may not need to go to the same lengths that he has to try your luck at hitting the jackpot. Somewhere in your own Pokémon card collection, there may be a card that will land you a whole lot of money online. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Note: The images are not first-edition cards and are simply included for visual purposes.
While this card is nowhere near the value of its third evolution counterpart, it can still land you a pretty good amount of cash. A first-edition Charmander could get you something between $574 to $1900.
Due to lower quantities of this card, a first-edition Bulbasaur has a decent price tag attached to it. Expect to receive a bid between $700 to $1700 for this card.
A first-edition Squirtle carries the most value of any of the original starter Pokémon. If you’re lucky, you could get anywhere from $1,000 to $2,600 for this card alone.
There are two first-edition versions of Pikachu to look out for—one with red cheeks and one with yellow cheeks. The former sells between $1100 to $6400, while the latter sells between $495 to $1913.
Machamp has had a few labeling issues in the past, but if you happen to come across a first-edition holographic that is also shadowless, you could get between $1025 to $3700 for it.
Not to be confused with the promo card that was included in the Pokémon: The First Movie cassette, a first-edition holographic Mewtwo could land you anywhere between $2900 and $20,000.
If you have a first-edition holographic Venusaur, you might be able to get as much as $5000 to $23,000—make sure to keep this one in good condition!
This card is one of the toughest to find nowadays. A first-edition holographic Chansey is currently valued at $2000 to $32,400.
You can hit a very impressive jackpot with a first-edition holographic Blastoise. These rare cards go for $9500 to $32,000 apiece.
Undoubtedly the most valuable card you could ever possess, a first-edition holographic Charizard could make you a true fortune. They sell between $49,000 to $350,000, which is just mindblowing.