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  • This is $4 million worth of Pokémon cards.

  • The cards are making an incredible comeback since their heyday in 1999.

  • Today, it's one of the largest media properties of all time.

  • YouTuber Logan Paul bought one Pokémon card for $150,000.

  • Rapper Logic bought one for a cool $220,000.

  • But on December 12th, 2020, this card broke the Pokémon collectible record

  • for selling over $350,000.

  • That record was broken just a few hours later when this card sold for

  • $369,000. Each of the high value cards were the same.

  • The 1st Edition holographic Charizard, the rarest Pokémon card in the 1999

  • Base Set. But why are these cards reaching such insane values?

  • And why now? Dust off your Pokémon binders.

  • This is Suddenly Obsessed.

  • The concept of Pokémon was created in Japan in 1995.

  • A year later, the first Pokémon video game debuted two versions in Japan:

  • Red and Green. In 1997, the anime series was launched in Japan.

  • It gained worldwide attention because some of the scenes caused some

  • viewers to have seizures.

  • The animators quickly fixed this issue.

  • And in 1998, the U.S.

  • version of the anime was released.

  • That same month, Pokémon: Blue and Red were released for Game Boy.

  • Nintendo spent $20 million on publicity before it ever introduced Pokémon

  • in the United States, four times its usual budget for new products at the

  • time. Needless to say, Pikachu and the crew exploded in popularity.

  • The Blue and Red games raked in $70 million in the first 7 months alone,

  • but there were still billions of dollars to be made by the popular

  • franchise. In 1999, the Pokémon Trading Card Game was introduced in the

  • United States. Kids were immediately drawn to them and a new craze was

  • born. Garry Haase, known in the Pokéverse as the Pokémon King, spotted the

  • trend right away and made it his mission to collect the rarest 1st Edition

  • Pokémon cards. He's the one that sold his card to Logan Paul for $150,000.

  • I was living in Southern California.

  • I traveled to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, just trying to follow leads where I

  • could get ahold of Pokémon packs.

  • And I knew that because of the popularity of Pokémon that this was going to

  • be a great collectible item.

  • There are three kinds of prints from the 1999 Base Set, each with vastly

  • different values.

  • The most valuable are called 1st Edition, which can be spotted with a

  • little stamp on the left side of the card below the Pokémon that simply

  • says 1st Edition. These are the most sought after because they're the

  • rarest. Next up are cards known as Shadowless, which can be spotted by

  • shadows around the border of the Pokémon creature.

  • These were printed shortly after the 1st Edition cards were released and

  • are nearly identical in look, except for that fancy stamp, of course.

  • The last batch is known as the unlimited set, which were the most abundant

  • cards in circulation. But that doesn't mean some of them aren't valuable.

  • The rise in value since their debut is stunning.

  • Let's take the rarest card in the Base Set, the holographic Charizard, to

  • use as an example of what the market for this card looks like.

  • I was able to dig up an old Beckett Pokémon magazine from July 2000 that

  • listed the prices of a 1st Edition and unlimited Charizard.

  • For a 1st Edition Charizard, prices range from $275 to $375.

  • An unlimited Charizard card ranged from $35 to $50.

  • Today, it's not uncommon for a 1st Edition Charizard to fetch anywhere from

  • $100,000 to $300,000. An unlimited Charizard card sold for between $15,000

  • to $30,000 in recent auctions.

  • Of course, the card's condition is nearly as important as its rarity.

  • There are two main card grading companies and their scores carry a lot of

  • weight. Professional Sports Authenticator, better known as PSA, and

  • Beckett Grading Services, known as BGS.

  • A card is given a score from 1 to 10 based on its condition, 10 being the

  • highest and 1, the lowest.

  • Most of these rare cards mentioned are in perfect mint condition and are

  • known to card collectors as either PSA 10's or BGS Pristine 10's.

  • Gary says 1st Edition Charizard cards rated at a 10 are rare, and that's

  • even an understatement. There's 120 PSA 10's graded.

  • That's the population report.

  • About 40 of them I had in my hand graded through PSA and then

  • over the last 20 years sold them.

  • Logan Paul got his card.

  • I was almost in tears giving that card up.

  • You know, I really felt a piece of me was going, but I honestly believed

  • that it was better for Pokémon.

  • Better for the hobby.

  • Gary has 20 rare Charizards left in his possession and their value is

  • shocking. In total at today's valuation, these

  • approximately 20 cards are worth about $4 million.

  • Conservatively.

  • These 20 cards. And the market continues to climb for all of those cards,

  • but only two of them are 1st Edition Charizard cards with a rating of BGS

  • Pristine 10. Gary is the only person in the world to own two of those rare

  • cards, and he's looking to add another to his collection.

  • A third BGS 10 recently showed up in the pop report from Beckett.

  • And Gary is willing to go to extreme lengths to get it.

  • Right now, I would pay $750,000 for that third card.

  • The combination of social media, live streaming and the pandemic are

  • creating a perfect storm for nostalgia.

  • And Pokemon cards are a perfect fit for the current era.

  • The nostalgia factor plays in and then we're also wanting to get things in

  • better quality. And then with all the celebrities coming out and just

  • saying, like, "Hey, I'm buying a bunch of Charizards and Base Set stuff."

  • And it just completely, even more magnified it.

  • Livestream guys like PokéRev that crack insane boxes on Twitch all the

  • time. And I think things like that, you have it on in the background

  • enough, it just keeps getting more and more traction.

  • Oh, we got a Mewtwo. Are you kidding me right now?

  • The Pokégame luck is absolutely insane.

  • Beckett is grading over 400 Pokémon cards per day, by far the most popular

  • trading card that gets graded.

  • And since demand is sky high, people are digging into their old collections

  • and sending them in to get graded.

  • I think I've had a premium day order come in where there was at least 100

  • cards. That's, like, $12,000 or a little over it and you're just like, oh

  • my gosh, just to grade cards.

  • It's pretty insane when things like that happen.

  • But generally there those are the kind of orders that are rocking multiple

  • Charizards, gold stars.

  • Like, high end Pokémon stuff.

  • Which got me thinking: I collected these Pokémon cards when I was younger.

  • I have every unlimited card from the 1999 Base Set.

  • I kept my rarest cards in a protected sleeve within a Pokémon binder.

  • I wanted to see what their value was worth.

  • So I sent in the Holy Trinity of the set: My holographic Charizard,

  • holographic Blastoise and holographic Venusaur to get graded by Beckett.

  • They're not perfect, but they're in good condition for being over 20 years

  • old. The first thing that we do is we check for whether or not it's even

  • real. There's so many counterfeits out there today.

  • The next thing that we do is we check for alterations whether the card has

  • been recolored. A lot of times there are chipped corners that show the

  • white stock underneath.

  • And so people will color those in.

  • There's things called power erasing where they're erasing vintage borders.

  • To make a card look more centered on one way or the other.

  • People trim down corners to make them look more sharp.

  • And then once all that passes all that criteria, then we actually give it a

  • number grade. After the examination of my cards by Dave, the box came back

  • to my house and the results were in.

  • Alright. So the day is finally here.

  • I got my three cards back from Beckett and I'm about to unbox it right

  • now, see what grades I got.

  • So here we go. First grade, no idea which one it's going to be, but let's

  • find out. OK, so I got an 8.5 for my Charizard.

  • Not bad, considering I was thinking I was going to get like around a 7.5,

  • maybe an 8 if I was lucky.

  • So 8.5. Hey, I'll take it.

  • This is, you know, 21 years in a binder with just a regular sleeve.

  • I feel like that's a pretty good score.

  • Second one up: We got a 9 for Venusaur.

  • Wow, that's pretty good.

  • I was not expecting a 9 from my cards.

  • Hey, I'll take a 9 any day.

  • This is great. I love that.

  • OK, so last but not least, we got Blastoise.

  • And a Blastoise was a 9.

  • Wow. How about that?

  • Again, I wasn't expecting a 10.

  • I wasn't expecting really a 9.5 either.

  • So a 9 here is great.

  • So the fact that I got two of them is really surprising.

  • I'm pretty pumped about this.

  • Let's talk to Dave, see why these scores are why they are.

  • The surfaces on your particular cards were very well.

  • They didn't have any damage on them.

  • And that's hard to come by with Pokémon cards.

  • The centering on all of them, except for the Charizards, were 9's.

  • They were all slightly off left to right.

  • And then they all had corner wear on the back and edge wear on the back,

  • which is what kept them all in the 9 area.

  • The Blastoise it was, I think, one small imperfection on the surface, which

  • is why it got a 9.5 instead of a 10.

  • But man, you had some really nice cards.

  • I appreciate that. I mean, to be honest with you, I was expecting 8's.

  • I was super pumped about it.

  • And this is something I'll probably just cherish for the rest of my life.

  • And it'll definitely be like a great memory to look back on.

  • Definitely happy to have you guys be a part of that process.

  • Oh, man, we were honored. Thank you for choosing us to grade your cards.

  • The Pokémon industry has generated nearly $100 billion and is considered by

  • many to be the most successful franchise of all time.

  • That includes Star Wars, Harry Potter and Hello Kitty.

  • So if you're sitting on some old Pokémon cards, even if it's just the

  • unlimited 1999 Base Set and they're in good condition, you may want to

  • hold on to them. If Pokémon continues making cards, producing cards for

  • all the kids for the next 20 years, we could be looking at over $1 million

  • a card.

This is $4 million worth of Pokémon cards.

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How Pokémon Became A Multibillion-Dollar Industry

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/27
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