Illustrator’s Pikachu Pokémon card is the most valuable after a record bid

A rare Pikachu Illustrator Pokémon card hanging on a turquoise background.

Market around children’s cardboard continues to grow rapidly into the unknown territory. Earlier this week, auction house Goldin announced that a 1998 Pikachu Pokémon “Illustrator” holographic card had sold for $900,000. No one knows who bought it at that price or why, but the winning bid broke the previous record of $375,000 for which a similar card cost exactly a year ago.

The “almost new 7” Illustrator Pikachu sold on February 23 was one of 40 copies currently in existence, according to grading firm PSA. Only one other copy has been evaluated in the same near-perfect condition. Offers started at $75,000 in February. 10, but an apparent bidding war drove prices up in the following weeks.

To put the $900,000 price tag into perspective, a little better State of “Mint 9” Pikachu Illustrator sold in 2019 for $195,000. Then in February 2021, a copy of “Near Mint 7” sold for $375,000. Before that, the most valuable Pokémon card was first edition shadowless holographic Charizard.

Prices for all sorts of collectibles have skyrocketed over the past few years, but the speculation surrounding Pokémon cards has been extreme. As new people flocked to the stage, prices for the rarest cards skyrocketed and packages for new sets flew off the shelves. The hype has been partly revived influencers such as Logan Paul creating content by opening decks and betting on some of the most expensive cards (and sometimes cheat). Within the community YouTube collectors like Gary Haaz helped bring more attention to the financial aspect of the hobby. Others are just having fun, setting goals for collecting and indulging in a nostalgic part of your childhood.

But this threefold increase in just one year is truly insane. The Pikachu illustrator is really unique even in the world of Pokemon cards. It was drawn by Pikachu creator Atsuko Nishida and only a few dozen copies were produced. as prizes for promotional contests in a Japanese magazine. However, this type of exponential growth is reminiscent of the shocking price hikes that have recently turned the old world-building game upside down.

Auction houses, card appraisers, and collectors are interested in raising the hype and speculative value of Pokémon cards. This in itself is not proof that anything unfavorable is going on here, but without knowing the people directly involved in the latest trade war, it’s hard not to be skeptical about what’s going on in the high-end market. For those who just want to have some fun with Pokemon cards, the latest addition, Sword and Shield – Brilliant Starsjust released on February 25th.

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