If that astounding headline has prompted you to unearth your original Pokémon card collection in the hopes that it’ll net you a small fortune, don’t bother – this particular sale involves an incredibly rare piece of factory-cut card. In fact, unless you were touring Japan during the late 90s and just so happened to enter an illustration contest held by Japanese magazine CoroCoro, there’s essentially zero chance of you owning this holy grail of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
‘Pokémon Illustrator’ (alternatively known as “Pikachu Illustrator” due to the card’s artwork) was never sold to the public or considered tournament legal but awarded to winners and runners-up of the aforementioned contest, with the total number of copies ever printed estimated to be around 40. Today, but a fraction of those are likely still in existence, with high-grade, or mint condition, to use the correct terminology, versions unlikely to succeed single-digit figures.
And so, it’s for those reasons that one Pokémon superfan with money to burn recently dropped $195,000 at auction to secure their own pristine copy. See the lot below, courtesy of auction site Invaluable.
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A happy outcome all-round, then, but such sales don’t always go to plan. Earlier this year, it emerged that a similarly rare card sold on eBay for $60,000 got lost in the post on its way to the buyer. As far as we know, the card was never recovered and it remains unclear whether its disappearance was due to theft or an honest mistake of misplacement. Sadly, the truth will likely never emerge but at the very least, it serves as a potent reminder for anyone looking to sell off their collections to insure their goods before sending them off.
As for today’s sale, it comes not long after one collector sold an entire set of mint condition Pokémon Base Set cards for more than $100,000. See here for all the details.