Some would argue that paying eye-watering sums of money for cardboard pieces is next to insane, while others say that anything given value can be turned into an investment. Regardless of where you stand on that subject, the secondary market of sports and other memorabilia is becoming more lucrative by the day, and the 1st edition Pokémon card just sold on eBay for quite a hefty sum.
The 1999 1st edition “Shadowless” Charizard with “PSA 10 Gem Mint” rating was recently sold on eBay for $311,800, after a lengthy bidding session. The card was rated by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), giving it the highest score of 10 for “gem mint” condition, which significantly increased its already considerable value. There were only 122 confirmed 1st edition Charizard cards with PSA 10 Gem Mint grade at the time of sale, despite over 2,600 Charizard cards being submitted for rating.
Card collectors, card traders, and Pokémon fans regard the 1st edition Charizard card as the most-coveted trading card ever produced, calling it “the single-most-important and prolific card in existence.” The card featured the highest power rating among all original 1st edition Pokémon cards produced, and its Fire Spin ability caused most Pokémon card players to draw the ferocious Fiery Pokémon card in pride.
However, this isn’t the highest amount of money spent on a Pokémon card. In 2020, a super rare Blastoise card was sold for $360,000 due to its rare nature – only a handful are believed to exist. If you think that’s expensive, remember that 52 Topps Mantle card was sold for $5.2 million. Pokémon is the world’s most successful, globally popular franchise that left a significant mark on today’s pop culture, inspiring everything from merchandise and Pokémon-themed airplanes to science. Yes, there’s a species of bees named after Charizard.
With such a massive cultural impact and global success, every Pokémon-branded memorabilia undoubtedly demands a premium. Even modern-day Pokémon titles, video games, expansions, and merchandise experience heavy markups by resellers, which gamers and franchise fans deem unreasonable. Sure, a rare 1999 mint-condition card is supposed to be valuable, and judging by the memorabilia market and the increased interest in card trading, its value will only increase. But paying top-dollar for a ten-year-old game for Nintendo DS is perhaps a bit absurd.
Still, according to trading card experts, some people recognize and treat trading cards as purely financial investments. Not everyone can afford a vintage car whose price might bump up to ridiculous heights in 30 years. For those who can’t, trading cards, in this case Pokémon, might be the next best thing in this case.
2021 marks the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise, so we can expect the prices to go higher still and more projects to be announced. Following the sale of the 1999 1st edition Charizard card for $311,800, the prices of other PSA 10 Charizard cards skyrocketed. There are several ongoing eBay auctions featuring bid prices of up to half a million dollars at the time of writing. So, if you happen to have a rare Pokémon card hidden under your bed, now would be the right time to dust it off.