GHENT, WV (WVNS) — Remember when you moved out of mom and dad’s and they asked if you wanted to take all your toys from your childhood with you and you told them to just donate them? You might regret doing so if you had any Pokémon cards in the mix!
Pokémon has been a pop-culture success since its initial release in Japan in early 1996 and then in America late 1998. Both the video games and trading card game hit the ground running in North America after having such huge success overseas in Japan.
In today’s age Pokémon is still popular, with the trading card game having produced over 43.4 billion cards in 77 regions of the world as of March 2022, according to essentiallysports.com.
To understand why a Pokémon card can be so expensive, take a look at some of the factors that makes the 1999 Holographic Charizard sell for upwards of $36,000.
First of all, the 1999 Holographic Charizard is from the original Base Set of Pokémon, the first series of cards to ever be produced, so the vintage aspect is already a major factor in the price for collectors. Not only can cards be from the original base set, but each series that is produced has a “1st Edition” printing, meaning the first wave of production this card has seen. One final factor is the production of the card that can affect the price as being a “shadowless” variant of a card.
The Limited Edition print run of Base Set actually had two different printings, the second of which did not have the “Edition 1” logo.
Both Limited Editions are known as “shadowless” printings—that is, there was no drop shadow underneath the art box on the right side of the card. The 1st Edition Holographic Charizard happens to be a shadowless card making it the most valuable and rare. This initial print run was printed, distributed, and sold out before “Pokémania” fully took root in the United States, making them extremely rare today, particularly in Near Mint condition.
To understand the final component of what determines a Pokémon card’s value, a company grades the card based on its condition and the closer to mint they determine the grade, the higher the sell value.
PSA is the largest card grading service in the world. Collectors can send their cards to PSA where they will check its authenticity, grade the card based on its attributes, and encapsulate the card in a sonically sealed case with the grade and certifications displayed. According to Pre-War Card Collector, which sold a 1999 Pokémon Base Set Shadowless 1st Edition Holo Charizard sold for a record-breaking $420,000 USD, approximately 3,000 copies of the card have been submitted to PSA for grading yet only 121 have been granted the PSA 10 Gem Mint that yields a high resell price.
Understanding all the factors that come into play to make a Pokémon card reach a high sale price might make you rethink the next time you go donating things from your childhood!