“People treat it as a purely financial investment”
Some might say £173,000 is too much to spend on a piece of cardboard, and they’re probably right.
But that’s what rapper Logic decided to spend on a rare first-edition Pokémon Charizard card.
The card received the highest score of 10 for “Gem Mint” by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), the largest trading card grading company, which significantly increased its value.
Logic is just the latest in a line of high-profile people getting involved with Pokémon, driving up the prices of in-demand cards.
YouTuber Logan Paul, who told his 22 million subscribers he was quitting Pokémon after getting his own PSA 10 Charizard for $150,000 (£112,727), appears to have changed Pokémon card prices forever.
Roy Raftery, a trading card expert from east London, said: ‘We have people on the phone who don’t know anything about the game, they’re very honest, they’re like ‘I’m just investing in games of cards, do you have four or five of your best Charizards in stock, what are they, can I have them? »
“All because they saw an influencer on YouTube doing it, that’s the main driver right now, all the Logan Paul stuff.”
Tim Willoughby, owner of Hackney Rule Zero gaming bar, agrees that many people are now getting into it just for the money.
“Certainly there are people who treat this as a purely financial investment, the same way someone in the past might have purchased a rare baseball card or a first edition Superman comic book.
“Not everyone can afford a classic Ferrari to feel like they have something special that will be worth a lot of money, buying a bunch of Pokémon cards might be a better investment and it’s more affordable for people. people.”
But they both admit that it’s not just influencers; confinement and nostalgia also played a role.
Tim said: “If you look at people who played Pokemon as kids, now they’ve grown up and potentially have a lot of money behind them, and nostalgia is a really big thing.
“And having things to do that aren’t Netflix and the same set of shows you’ve been watching for ages is awesome.”
Roy said: “During the first lockdown, people just had more time to rummage through their lofts to revive some of their old stuff and maybe start collecting again.
“And collectors just had more disposable income, it doesn’t matter if you play golf or knit or collect Pokémon cards, you just have more money for your hobby and that’s why the prices have initially increased.”
But it’s not just Pokémon card sales that have seen an increase. Card enthusiast Daniel Quinn spreads by opening decks of cards and has also seen an increase in his views.
He said: “I don’t like to say I’ve jumped on the bandwagon as I’ve been collecting for almost 20 years, but I’ve certainly benefited from the increase in people wanting to watch pack openings. .”
Unlike many new collectors, he’s not looking for high ranked cards.
He said: “I absolutely hate graded cards, I think the grading system is the worst thing for a collector!
“Grading drives up the price, so we can’t find that Mew card we’re looking for for less than $3,000, and it came out of a $70 box.
“When I look at the cards, I don’t think, ‘I’m so happy that this centering is good and there’s no whitewashing on the back’. I just think I’m so happy to have this work of art. ‘art.
For Daniel, it’s not about the price of the cards or treating it as an investment.
He said: “I’m not sitting on my card collection thinking I’m going to sell this one day, I think I’d be happy to keep it forever.
“I’m in the boat of ‘Why are all these people here, they’re raising the price, go away so I can buy my Meowth cards in peace!'”
Roy thinks prices could rise further.
“Next year is the 25th anniversary, so it’s going to be on your milk, on your subway, in the news, it’s going to be absolutely everywhere,” he said.
“With such great products, the nostalgic hype, and the 25th anniversary, I just think Pokémon will be at an all-time high for the next year and a half.”