For most people who peruse the antiques and collectibles auction market, TCG may appear outlandish and strange in the sense of, “How can a trading card that’s 20 years old be worth more than my Meissen dinnerware or a landscape painting?” The answer is, we are in the year 2020. TCG which stands for “Trading Card Game” originated in 1993 with Magic: The Gathering. Following in the footsteps of Magic are Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! All of which are worldwide phenomenon’s in their own right, but Pokémon especially has become a global brand.
Introduced to the United States in 1999, Pokémon was published by Wizards of The Coast in collaboration with Nintendo following the huge success of the cartoon and video game as well as the brand’s overall glory in Japan beginning in 1996. So, twenty-one years, twenty-three movies, and one hundred and twenty-two videogames later, Pokémon has become one of the most beloved properties with a strong, passionate, and investment minded collector community. This week at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers a single owner collection of Magic, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! is offered at no reserve including some rarely seen gems of the Pokémon world.
Here are our top picks along with useful collector tips of the trade:
When it comes to Pokémon, the one character who's king of them all is Charizard. He’s the coolest, meanest, good guy capturing hearts of fans since the show’s inception aiding Ash Ketchum. In today’s market, the original 1st edition 1999 Charizard in BGS 10 sells for $40,000.00 to $50,000.00 easily, it’s been awhile since one has sold. Mainly because a BGS 10 is near unobtainable! It’s the ultimate goal for any TCG collector. Due to this massive upswing in the market, a lot of collector’s have been priced out and seek other options. This Blaine’s Charizard is 1 of only 2 graded in a BGS 10 Pristine, from the second year of Pokémon in the United States, and a beloved card with art different from the original Charizard card. This could be the Pokémon equivalent of buying Apple stock in 2005 for $10.48 a share (maybe not that good) but you see the point!
Continuing on our last thought of alternative investments, this Blastoise is another perfect example. Typically, in TCG you have the 1st edition then the Unlimited print. However, for the first series of Pokémon there was a small in-between period were the first Unlimited cards were printed without a shadow to the right of the image as well as the year “99” repeated in the copyright information in the lower margin. These cards are equally, if not rarer, than true 1st edition cards in print numbers. This Blastoise is 1 of 8 cards in BGS 9.5 with 0 cards graded at a 10. If this were a 1st edition it would be worth roughly $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the day - it’ll be interesting to see what this one sells for.
True fact right here folks, sealed Pokémon cards are worth more than their weight in gold. For hardened TCG collectors, sealed merchandise is at the top of the totem pole alongside BGS 10 and 9.5 cards. It just doesn’t exist. Who would buy trading cards and never open them? That’s weirder than buying toy’s and never opening them! This Aquapolis box is of even greater interest as it’s the second to last expansion set of the original Pokémon game published by Wizards of The Coast. After the release of Skyridge in May, 2003 Nintendo and the Pokémon Company took back the rights and began printing them internally in June, 2003. Plus, these final sets were referred to as E-Reader cards due to their interactive element with the Gameboy Advance game. That being said, very few survived.
Typically, a Jungle unlimited Flareon would not be the biggest deal, even in a BGS 10 it’s only worth about $300.00 to $400.00. However, what if you could have a rare error that was printed without a Jungle symbol below the holographic image? That’s a true treasure, especially when it’s the highest graded example in existence! That’s exactly what you have here. This Flareon is a 1 of 1 card graded at a BGS 9.5 with no examples higher. The error is already rare enough, the grade is just the cherry on top.
Just because we can’t let Pokémon steal the show, this Blue Eyes is nothing to overlook. The youngest of the big three TCG Blue Eyes White Dragon is to Yu-Gi-Oh! what Charizard is to Pokémon. Right now, a North American 1st edition Blue Eyes White Dragon in either PSA or BGS 10 is $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 minimum, maybe more. So, the next best thing grab yourself is a Portuguese one! Right now, the market for foreign Charizard’s in perfect 10 shape are approximately $5,000 depending on the language. It only makes sense that the Yu-Gi-Oh! market will follow suit.
Travis Landry is the Director of Pop Culture and Auctioneer for Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers of Cranston, Rhode Island. He is also an expert appraiser on PBS' Antiques Roadshow in Collectibles and Toys & Games.