Pokémon: A Financial Force to be Reckoned With
2020 has been a wild year for most of us, being cooped up indoors for weeks on end with nothing to occupy our days has done some strange things to us all. While we all wait for the year to end and move to greener pastures there is one brand that has surprised us all with a huge surge in popularity: Pokémon.
That's right, the collectible world has been set ablaze once again by adorable electric mice and powerful flaming dragons. In a few short months the brand will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, and with the popularity of its digital products in today's technology obsessed youth, it comes as a surprise for many that a paper product would be the center of so much buzz.
However, if you were thinking that its children and youth contributing to the craze you would strangely be incorrect. Hordes of young adults and older collectors have emerged in spades trying to get their hands on rare and nostalgic cards.
For some it seems being indoors has caused us to go through our old belongings. Adults who were children in the late 90's and early 2000's have been digging out their old collections and trying to revisit better times. Some seek to complete old sets that they couldn't as youth, some want to replace cards that were disposed of by parents. Even collectors of other varieties have been dipping their toes into the Poké-waters. Sports card collectors seeking the thrill of the 'big hit' have been scooping up product to open for the big pay offs.
Even those with no previous affiliation to the brand have shown greater interest than expected. The world of youtubers was upturned when a hugely popular member, Logan Paul, opened an extremely rare and expensive 1999 Pokémon 1st edition Base Set Booster Box on his channel, which he paid over $200,000 to acquire. At the time of writing this the video has nearly 10 million views.
So, what's the big deal? What are all these atypical collectors after?
Arguably the most iconic Pokémon card ever, this fire-type dragon has been an object of desire since the first set of cards came out. Every kid wanted one, trading on the playground became a new normal which caused many schools to ban the cards at the time. For 25 years cards with its image have been some of the most expensive and desirable cards in the game. Even ones that are deemed by the Pokémon community as being 'unplayable' in the actual game often are more expensive than popularly played cards. The term 'Charizard tax' has been thrown around, the implication being that Charizard is always inherently more expensive than other characters.
At the beginning of October a 1999 1st edition Charizard was purchased by Logic, a multi platinum artist, for more than $220,000 at auction. However, your Charizard's don't have to be from the 90's to be valuable. Champion's path, a set that was released late September, contains not 1 but 2 Charizard cards that sell for over $500 each. Hidden Fates, a set released in August last year, has a 'Shining' Charizard that regularly goes for over $700. Finally Burning Shadows, released in June 2017, contains the first 'rainbow rare' version of the character. Whether old or new, Charizard's image continues to be a financial powerhouse in the collectible market.
Maybe its time for us all to dig through our old toys to try and find that dragon sized payout.