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PACKS OPENED LIVE - Box Opening 2/9/2020 @5pm EST

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Black & White Plasma Freeze PACK OPENED LIVE - Box Opening 11/1/2020 @ 6pm EST


Pokémon TCG 1st Edition Base Set Booster Box Up For Bid

Posted on by Theo Dwyer

1st Edition 1999 Pokemon unopened card set sells for $56,000

A box of unopened, original Pokemon cards from 1999 have sold for $56,000 at auction. This was a first edition box that included holographic foil cards, the biggest prize in the package. The first edition base set had a limited print, which contributes to its worth nearly two decades later. Though notable, this isn’t the first Pokemon item to sell at auction for a significant amount.

The 1999 Pokemon 1st Limited-Edition Printing booster box, which was sold by Huggins & Scott Auctions, sold to its latest buyer on Friday. This isn’t the first time a box of valuable Pokemon cards have traded hands — the same edition sold for $54,000 last year. The auction company provides details and images of the product on its product page.

According to Huggins & Scott Auctions, this particular Pokemon box set was sold by an individual who has owned it since its release many years ago. As the images show, the box has a small dent in one corner, but the auction house notes that the plastic wrap on it doesn’t conform to the corner, helping verify its unopened nature.

Within lies a total of 36 card packs, each containing 11 cards. Within each pack are five common cards, three uncommon, a pair of energy cards, and a single rare or foil card. Crunching the production numbers, Huggins & Scott says the odds of getting a foil card are almost 1:3 packs. There’s “396 chances for Gem 10 holos and other high-grade treasures,” according to the auction listing.

Base Unlimited, Jungle 1st Edition, Fossil 1st Edition

Why are Pokémon card prices rising?

About two weeks ago, 34-year-old Oregon resident Kalvin Foley wanted to buy a rare Pokémon card on eBay. It was a rainbow Vmax card featuring Charizard, one of the most popular Pokémon. He was attempting to win it at the end of an auction, one of the most adrenaline-inducing parts of bidding. The card, which started off at $100, began to steadily increase. It jumped to $250. Then $300. Then $375. 

“I’m just watching it throughout the day,” Foley recounted. When the 1-minute countdown  began, he entered in his max bid of $425. “And as soon as I did that, I think everybody else did, because it went from $375 all the way up to, like $550,” he said. 

Now, he thought, he’d never be able to get the card. Foley said that only a year ago, it might have been worth around $250-$300 — roughly half the price.

Why cards are rising in value right now

Pokémon card sales and prices have skyrocketed this year, with some cards selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

On Thursday, a sealed box of Pokémon booster packs sold for a record $360,000 through Heritage Auctions, while a similar set sold for $198,000 only two months ago. According to eBay, there were 60% more Pokemon card sales on its platform in September compared to January of this year. 

YouTube stars, celebrities and investors have dropped big bucks on cards, which has contributed to the frenzy and helped push up their value. That, in turn, has encouraged others to  snap up cards in hopes that they’ll be able to turn a profit. 

There’s an entire genre of buyers unboxing card sets on YouTube and Twitch, where DJ and producer Steve Aoki recently hosted a live charity event devoted to opening up packs.

“Publicity is always something that can drum up momentum and price,” said Eugene Smith, a 24-year-old card collector and investor from Tampa, Florida, who also happens to work in finance. 

Controversial YouTuber Logan Paul has spent almost $300,000 (although he claims he’s reached his breaking point and is done buying them), while the rapper Logic dropped $226,000 on a rare 1st edition Charizard. 

“When I was a kid I absolutely loved Pokémon but couldn’t afford the cards,” Logic said in an Instagram post.

Collectors and investors cited several other factors that may be pushing up sales and prices — people are picking up a hobby amid pandemic boredom, the release of the COVID-19 stimulus checks has given them the extra cash to buy cards, and childhood fans have disposable incomes now. 

“People my age are finally in their late-20s, mid-30s, and they can afford the stuff they liked when they were kids,” said Jesus Garcia, an assistant comics & comic art operations supervisor at Heritage Auctions. 

Caitlin Sidhu, a 26-year-old collector who lives in Uruma City, Japan, said what she enjoys the most about building her collection is that she’s able to obtain all the cards she wanted as a kid.

“[I’m] kind of like fulfilling my childhood,” Sidhu said. “A younger me would be amazed at the cards I currently have.” Right now she owns upwards of 5,000 cards, including 120 sealed booster packs and two boxes. 

She’s also noticed an increase in prices. Before the pandemic, Sidhu bought a reverse holo Legendary Collection Pikachu for $25. Now she says it goes for about $100, give or take. 

The recent spike in prices and sales has encouraged people, like Eugene Smith, to look through their own collections to see if they have any items worth selling.

He’s also been actively buying cards over the past couple of months.

“I’ve been acquiring cards. Nothing insane. But I’ve spent maybe a few thousand on them,” he said. “I was just looking to maybe acquire cards not only to make maybe a little bit of money short term, but also as an alternative investment for my savings.” 

Jackson Donahue, a 25-year-old resident from Simsbury, Connecticut, said he’s been selling cards for about two months now, primarily through Facebook Marketplace.

It started when he and his girlfriend were walking through the card aisle at Target and decided to buy a $4 pack on a whim. After opening it and finding a holographic card, he googled it and found it was worth $50. 

He’s been hooked ever since. In total, Donahue estimates he’s sold about $1,600 worth of cards. 

Card shops, not just individual sellers, are also benefiting from the rising interest in Pokémon cards.

House of Cards & Collectibles, based in San Antonio, Texas, has seen an increase in business throughout the pandemic, with an uptick in business after people started receiving their stimulus checks.

Paul G. Cavazos, who owns the store with his wife Rachel, said up to 80% of their overall business comes from Pokémon-related merchandise. 

“More and more people that are between the ages of, say, 18 to 60 or older, are buying Pokémon cards for investment purposes,” he said. 

About a year ago, he said he was selling packs of 1st edition Team Rocket cards for up to $75. This month, he’s seen those packs sell upwards of about $300 to $400 each.

While the pandemic has led to explosive card prices and sales, Cavazos said he noticed sales started to rise after the launch of Pokémon Go in 2016. According to Heritage Auctions, eBay’s daily Pokémon card sales doubled after the game was released.

How value is determined

The surge in Pokémon card prices doesn’t necessarily mean every card is worth a lot of money or will be.

“I think prices will rise for some cards, but obviously not all cards, which is what some people don’t get,” Caitlin Sidhu explained. “If cards are still in print, they won’t rise in price. Once the card is out of print it may go up in price, but it’s not guaranteed.”

Jason A., a collector from East Tennessee who declined to give his last name, compared it to the stock market: “You can take a bet on a card’s value. Is it going to increase? Is it going to flop? Or is it just gonna stay steady?”

“There are plenty of cards out there that when they first got released are still the same price that they were back then,” he said.

A card’s scarcity, condition and the actual Pokémon on it all play a role in its value. First edition holographic cards released as part of Pokémon’s first print in 1999 command high prices — especially Charizard.  

Why is he always so coveted? In that first set, he was objectively the most powerful, with both the highest HP (a Pokémon’s health gauge, if you will) and the strongest attack. But maybe the reason for his appeal is more obvious than that.

“I mean, he’s a dragon. Kids love dragons,” Garcia said. “In the cartoon show, he was kind of rebellious, did whatever he wanted.”

Kalvin Foley, after losing his eBay bid, said he was able to finally obtain his Rainbow Vmax Charizard in a private sale.

Foley had been a fan of him when he was a child, and when he began to collect cards again in 2018, he admired the ways the franchise had reinvented him.

Despite Charizard’s popularity, Garcia said the holy grail of Pokémon cards is actually the Pikachu Illustrator card, which is one of the rarest. One of the cards sold for $233,000 this July, making it the most expensive sale of a single card on record.

Only 39 were initially released through a Japanese comic contest in 1998. (An eBay user is attempting to sell one for $2 million right now.) 

Like analysts evaluating stocks, some professional grading companies will assign a value to a card for a fee. The two big ones out there are PSA and Beckett, which each have a scale that ranges from 1 to 10 assessing a card’s condition. 

Say you have a 1st edition Charizard that was released back in 1999. In October, the trading card investment company CardHops said a PSA 9 grading put its worth at $50,000–$70,000. But a PSA 10 meant it was worth $140,000–$200,000 plus. (As we saw with Logic.) 

“It’s a big jump between one single grade,” Garcia said. “Why? Because everybody wants the perfect card.” 

One of the great ironies in the world of collectibles is that errors (not to be mistaken with flaws) can also help an item become that much more valuable — whether it’s a novel, a postage stamp or merchandise from a popular franchise.  

A Dragonite card with an inverted stamp, for example, was at one point listed on the site TrollandToad for nearly $1,500. Without this marking, you can buy the card for under 10 bucks.

After all, when value is tied to scarcity, a misprint helps differentiate you from the sea of other mass-produced goods.

Is the card market a bubble ready to pop?

Everyone Marketplace spoke with gave us mostly the same assessment: prices for some cards will probably decrease eventually, but they’re not going to tank so badly that the entire market will crash. 

The degree of the decline — and when — will depend on the type of card, according to Eugene Smith. The vintage cards released back in the ‘90s are no longer being printed and are basically part of history now, meaning many of them will likely continue to have value.

But because grading companies like PSA are still going through a backlog of cards, Smith thinks there will be an increase in supply.

“Then post-holidays, there’s going to be far less consumer spending happening. It’s pretty much a perfect scenario for a decrease — a correction,” Smith said of the Pokémon vintage card market.

Garcia agrees that prices will eventually level off, although he doesn’t think they’ll dip that drastically.

“Pokémon is one of those things that’s never gone out of style,” he said.

Since Pokémon first launched on the GameBoy in 1996, the franchise has spawned the trading card game, a wildly popular anime series that continues to run new episodes, dozens of console games and Pokémon Go, which was The Summer Event of 2016 and helped add $7.5 billion in market value to Nintendo within 48 hours.

Many collectors, like Caitlin Sidhu, Kalvin Foley and Jason A., became Pokémon fans when they were kids, proving its longevity.  

Jason A. said this will probably be a lifelong hobby of his. “The only way I would stop collecting cards is if it were physically impossible for me to actually find them anymore,” he said.

Some of them are also introducing the series and the games to their children, creating a whole new generation of fans. Foley said he has a 2-year-old son who likes looking at his Pokémon merchandise and watching the anime with him. 

Applying the words “phenomenon” and “craze” to the franchise wouldn’t be accurate because they imply something that is ephemeral. Pokémon — which celebrates its 25th birthday in February of next year — is now an established moneymaker. 

We may not be able to predict the market with certainty, but the franchise’s future success is probably a safe bet.

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Looking to sell Pokemon Cards or other Collectibles, email us at [email protected]

Looking to buy Graded Vintage Pokemon Cards? Search "Pokemon PSA" on the search bar and see our current listings.

Current Buylist for Pokemon Base Set:

Card NumberCard NameSet NamePSA GradeBuylist Price
1Alakazam-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$1,500
2Blastoise-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
3Chansey-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
4Charizard-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
5Clefairy-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
6Gyarados-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$1,150
7Hitmonchan-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$2,500
8Machamp-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
9Magneton-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
10Mewtwo-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$1,600
11Nidoking-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$900
12Ninetales-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
13Poliwrath-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$750
14Raichu-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10Contact Us @ [email protected]
15Venusaur-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$2,200
16Zapdos-Holo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$1,000
17Beedrill 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$300
18Dragonair 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$550
19Dugtrio 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$165
20Electabuzz 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$165
21Electrode 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$165
22Pidgeotto 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$150
23Arcanine 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$85
24Charmeleon 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$180
25Dewgong 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$45
26Dratini 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$150
27Farfetch'D 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$75
28Growlithe 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$125
29Haunter 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$130
30Ivysaur 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$135
31Jynx 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$120
32Kadabra 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$135
33Kakuna 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
34Machoke 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$75
35Magikarp 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$75
36Magmar 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$45
37Nidorino 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
38Poliwhirl 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$50
39Porygon 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$60
40Raticate 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$45
41Seel 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$38
42Wartortle 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$375
43Abra 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
44Bulbasaur 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$130
45Caterpie 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$80
46Charmander 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$75
47Diglett 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
48Doduo 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
49Drowzee 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
50Gastly 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
51Koffing 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
52Machop 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
53Magnemite 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
54Metapod 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
55Nidoran 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
56Onix 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
57Pidgey 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
58Pikachu Red Cheeks1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$250
58Pikachu Yellow Cheeks1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$110
59Poliwag 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
60Ponyta 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
61Rattata 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
62Sandshrew 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
63Squirtle 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$75
64Starmie 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$45
65Staryu 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
66Tangela 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
67Voltorb 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$30
68Vulpix 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
69Weedle 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$38
70Clefairy Doll 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$165
71Computer Search 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$175
72Devolution Spray 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$300
73Imposter Prof. Oak 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$160
74Item Finder 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$300
75Lass 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$500
76Pokemon Breeder 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$100
77Pokemon Trader 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$160
78Scoop Up 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$100
79Supr.Energy Removal 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$175
80Defender 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$100
81Energy Retrieval 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$100
82Full Heal 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$40
83Maintenance 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
84Pluspower 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$65
85Pokemon Center 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
86Pokemon Flute 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$100
87Pokedex 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$65
88Professor Oak 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$160
89Revive 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$40
90Super Potion 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$70
91Bill 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
92Energy Removal 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$40
93Gust of Wind 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$40
94Potion 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
95Switch 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$35
96Double Colorless Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$80
97Fighting Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$20
98Fire Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$20
99Grass Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$22
100Lightning Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$20
101Psychic Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$20
102Water Energy 1st Edition Base SetPSA 10$24
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Alongside the limited supply and extremely high demand, there are plenty of reasons why Pokémon cards make for excellent investments.

1. The best cards are worth more than you’d think

In 2018, a man named Gary made digital headlines after appearing on Pawn Stars with a series of Pokémon cards, which he claimed were worth half a million dollars.

While this claim initially astounded both the audience and the show’s experts, it’s perfectly true that rare first edition cards can hold immense value. The cards brought in to Pawn Starsby Gary were just a small fraction of his assets, too — Gary’s entire collection was later revealed to be worth approximately $5 million.

Earlier this month, the YouTuber Logan Paul bought a first edition PSA-graded 10 Charizard card from Pawn Stars’ Gary for a whopping $150,000. And that’s not even close to the highest price ever fetched by a Pokémon card — this honor went to The Pikachu Illustrator card, which sold for $233,000.

Though the average price of Pokémon cards is much lower, there are many rare, highly collectible cards with values upwards of $200,000. A 1999 Holographic Shadow-less First Edition Charizard, for instance, is currently worth between $150,000 to $200,000.

Even more common cards can be worth several thousand dollars, depending on their condition. For example, Charizard Holo cards from the 1999 base set have been known to fetch over $5,000 to $10,000 despite the fact that there are over 10,000 of them in circulation.

2. True collectibles are guaranteed to increase in value

Pokémon cards are collectibles, and many sets went out of print years ago. The inherently limited supply of each card type means that as time goes on and cards become more difficult to obtain, the value will steadily increase.

Because of this, the investment model with Pokémon cards is exceedingly simple: After purchasing a rare card, the longer you hold on to it, the more profit you’ll make when you decide to sell. There’s virtually no chance of a card that’s out of print decreasing in value over time.

3. There’s a global market for Pokémon cards

Because the global appeal and popularity of the franchise, trade in Pokémon cards is alive and well in just about every corner of the world including in person, conferences and auction houses. 

This means that if you invest in collectible Pokémon cards and decide it’s time to sell, it won’t be difficult to find a buyer. Despite appearances, Pokémon card trade is far from a niche interest. The market is liquid.

4. It’s easy to find out the price of a specific card

There are plenty of resources online for checking the specifications of every Pokémon card ever printed, including the approximate value of each.

Websites such as even offer graphs visualizing the history of online transactions pertaining to specific cards. Because Pokémon card value is essentially public knowledge, each of your investments will be a fully informed decision.

5. There are plenty of collectors out there willing to pay for rare cards

The market for Pokémon cards is not only wide-reaching, but also home to thousands of dedicated collectors intent on completing their sets and obtaining every single card out there.

Because of this, you won’t need to put any effort into making the sale when you decide it’s time to get a return on your investment. For rare, genuinely valuable cards, all it takes is an online listing — the offers pour in by themselves.

6. You can get to know the market quickly

Investing in Pokémon cards doesn’t involve a lot of in-depth research or specialist knowledge. Unlike stock market, real estate or bonds investments, Pokémon card trading is straight-forward and relatively simple.

All of the information you need to start investing in Pokémon cards is freely available online, so it only takes a small amount of research to understand what to look out for.

7. There’s an increasing demand for unopened limited edition box sets

It’s not just individual rare cards that are likely to fetch a good return. Box sets are also increasingly difficult to find, which means their value is steadily going up.

Buying cards in bulk and unboxing them during a livestream has become a popular format for several YouTubers. Earlier this month, YouTuber Logan Paul bought a first edition Pokémon card box set for $200,000 to open during a charity stream. The box set didn’t disappoint — Paul found a first edition Charizard card inside the set, which was worth approximately $40,000 at the time.

If you’re not interested in building a collection and going after specific, valuable cards, investing in box sets is a simple way to make a profit on Pokémon cards without the need to understand the market on a deeper level. Provided the box set is valuable and genuine, you can hold on to it for awhile and sell it on for a profit without ever opening it.

8. Detailed information on each card is easily available

There are several sites  offering convenient search engines for Pokémon trading cards. Those interested only in investing — rather than playing — will find a wealth of information there, including how many copies of each card are in circulation, which set it belongs to, when it was printed and much more.

This makes it easy to estimate the value of a Pokémon card investment opportunity, as well as being a useful resource for organizing your collection.

9. Pokémon cards are easy to store

Valuable Pokémon cards do need to be stored properly to prevent fraying and accidental damage, but it takes minimum effort and cost to keep your collection safe.

Purpose-designed storage solutions for Pokémon cards are easily available, in the form of individual pockets or binders. It’s therefore exceedingly simple to keep your cards safe and organized.

10. You don’t need to know the franchise

Serious investors are sometimes put off by the seemingly childish nature of Pokémon cards, and the idea that they would need to delve into the franchise in order to make informed decisions and allocate their assets well.

In fact, neither of these assumptions hold true. Although the franchise was aimed primarily at teenagers, there are plenty of adult enthusiasts and a community of serious collectors, as well as professional Pokémon card players taking part in worldwide tournaments. In any case, investing in valuable Pokémon cards is no different than collecting stamps — if anything, the former makes more sense, because Pokémon cards were intended to be collected and traded.

Knowledge of the franchise certainly helps if you want your Pokémon card investments to turn into a hobby. However, it’s by no means necessary — especially because there are plenty of resources online to identify and assess every card.

Oliver Isaacs

Written By

Oliver Isaacs

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Oliver Isaacs is a serial entrepreneur, tech investor and tech influencer with more than one million followers in total. Isaacs and his team have worked with and advised some of the world’s leading blockchain companies, top social media influencers and tech investors.