A complete set of first-edition Pokémon cards just sold for $US107,010 ($157,471) on Goldin Auctions. But don’t worry — it’s extremely unlikely the card binder your mum threw out would have sold for anywhere near that.
As TMZ first reported, the 1999 set, sold last Saturday in the U.S., includes 103 cards, one of which is a holographic Charizard. Twelve bidders elevated the price to over $US100,000 ($147,156), with a minimum bid of $US25,000 ($36,789) for the mint condition cards. Over the phone, Goldin Auctions’ consignment director, Dave Amerman, told Kotaku that not just any complete first-edition set would sell for the price of a Mercedes-Benz S-class.
“There’s a common misconception with these cards,” he explained. “The key to the sale here isn’t so much the fact of having the entire set together. You can put together an entire set for maybe $US1,000 ($1,472).”
The missing link here is something called a “GEM mint condition grading,” a metric that assesses the cards’ corners, colour consistency and gloss. As for the $US107,010 ($157,471) Pokémon set, Amerman said, “On the back they have the dark colour, the blue Pokémon border. You can’t tell if you’re not looking closely, but on the back, there’s a white chipping sometimes. To get the perfect grade, it has to be a solid colour on front and back.”
Amerman said that sometimes, millennials’ dads will call him in to evaluate their 50-year-old baseball card sets. Even after a $US15,000 ($22,073) valuation, he said, “They’ll ask, ‘What about these?’ of their kids’ Pokémon cards.” Sometimes, he’ll respond, “These are worth twice what your cards are worth!”
Since 2016, Pokémon card sets similar to this one have gone up almost 10 times in value, said Amerman. He added a completely unrelateable anecdote: “You get these millennials, who are broke, maybe finishing college and have six figures in their closet.”