If you thought a mint condition Charizard from the original run of Pokemon cards was a worthy investment 10 years ago, you’ve obviously never heard of or seen this particular piece of Pokemon history. A copy of the so-called “Pikachu Illustrator” promo card, of which less than 30 were ever released, has just sold at auction for a mind-boggling $54,970, making it the undisputed most expensive card of its kind in the world.
For those pondering the reason why this particular promo managed to fetch such a lofty price, Barry Sandoval, Director of Operations for Comics at Heritage Auctions provides a bite-sized history lesson on its origins.
“The Pikachu Illustrator Card was given in January of 1998 to winners of the CoroCoro Comic Illustration Contest,” reveals Sandoval (via IGN), adding that just “20-39 copies of this card were released, 10 of which are graded in top condition and it is unknown how many still remain with the public.”
The original sets of Pokemon cards – printed by Wizards of the Coast in partnership with Nintendo – are all worth a pretty penny if boxed and/or in perfect condition, but it’s unlikely they’ll ever reach the ludicrous highs of this one’s rarity. With the arrival of Niantic’s smash hit mobile game Pokemon Go earlier this year and last week’s Pokemon Sun and Moon, the series has enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity, the latter having broken pre-order records for Nintendo.
2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise, with various celebrations and publicity stunts like this one having been held over the last 11 months. As we gear up to head into December, we’ll be patiently waiting to see what else the Big N has in store for us as we celebrate the exciting milestone.