An Unopened First Edition Set of Pokémon Cards, Deemed ‘the Pinnacle of Pokémon Collecting,’ Just Fetched $408,000 at Auction
It turns out playing with your Pokémon cards was a big mistake.
Did your mother make you throw out your old Pokémon cards? Now you have an opportunity to show her that they really could have been worth a lot of money one day. An unopened first edition set of Pokémon cards just fetched a world record $408,000 at the “Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction” sale at Heritage Auctions in Dallas.
Released in 1999 by game publisher Wizards of the Coast, the original run of US Pokémon cards featured 102 cards, including the coveted Charizard, the powerful dragon-like final form of the fire Pokémon Charmander. The record-setting auction lot is a sealed box of first edition cards featuring 36 booster packs of 11 cards each, or 396 cards total, all of which are in “gem mint” condition (the highest classification), according to the auction house.
“Due to their low print run, these box sets have become extremely scarce, especially those still in the original sealed state,” wrote Heritage. “It is considered the pinnacle of Pokémon box collecting.”
The auction featured 16 lots of Pokémon collectibles, collectively accounting for more than $1.3 million in sales.
The top individual card was a rare hologram Blastoise card with a blank back, one of two “presentation” cards that Wizards of the Coast commissioned from Cartamundi in 1998. It was these that originally convinced Nintendo to green-light English-language cards based on the Japanese video game, which had been introduced in 1996. After racking up 52 bids, the lot hammered down at $360,000.
“This is the card that started it all, perhaps the most prestigious and rare of all Pokémon collectibles,” Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards, who placed the winning bid on behalf of a client, told Heritage.
The card nearly matched the record for a Pokémon card at auction, set in December 2020 at Goldin Auctions with the $369,000 sale of a 1999 First Edition Gem Mint Pokémon Shadowless Charizard card.
The Pokémon auction market has been heating up recently. In fact, the auction record for a card has been broken three times in the past four months. Rapper Logic paid a then-record $220,574 for the same Pokémon Shadowless Charizard card in October, a result that was then eclipsed by a $350,000 Charizard sale on eBay, from a private collector who had purchased it for just $700 in 2009, reports Hypebeast.
“The Pokemon craze is not over, ladies and gentleman,” auctioneer Brian Wiedman assured his audience as the bidding climbed past $300,000 on the box set. “It is alive and well!”
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.