There’s lots of chatter online about Pokémon at the moment. Not because there’s a new game or movie coming out, no. It’s because people have been paying an insane amount of money for Pokémon cards.
This month a rare first edition holographic Charizard card sold for $220,000.
Additionally, influencer Logan Paul bought an unopened box of cards for $250,000, and sold the individual packs for $11,000 each (35 packs were available). He opened the individual packs in front of a live audience of over 300,000 people.
He advertised the event as an investment opportunity – stating that even though the packs are $11,000 each many of the individual cards sell for upwards of $20,000 – but realistically it seemed like gambling. Seeing the livestream was reminiscent of watching roulette; with some packs being full of valuable cards, and others being complete duds. I hope nobody invested all of their cash into purchasing a pack…
If we do see Pokémon cards as an investment opportunity, should we expect them to continue to go up in value?
Have celebrities inflated the value of the Pokémon cards? 📈
Short answer, yes.
Ordinarily the value of the card would be from average collectors selling the cards between each other, and the amount they’re willing to pay would likely be relative to their net worths. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that most Pokémon collectors (before 2020) were not multi-millionaires, so individuals simply couldn’t afford to create the demand we’re currently seeing.
As these new celebrity collectors can comfortably outbid the regular collectors without worrying about going bankrupt, the price of the card inflates.
Having celebrities put a spotlight on this industry results in other big net worth individuals getting involved, such as those looking to invest for a quick profit and “hypebeasts” who want to join the internet trend.
Has the industry peaked demand? 📉
Ultimately the value of the cards is determined by the demand. Like most luxury investments, if there’s no demand, the cards lose all of their value. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s not the case for all investments.
For example, if I purchase all the log splitters in my local town during Autumn/Winter (when demand is high) I can control the sale price and people will be forced to either pay or not have firewood. When demand drops (during the Spring/Summer), the value of the machinery also falls, but I can still use them to produce firewood and prepare for the cold seasons. It’s lost value, but it hasn’t become worthless.
If the demand for Pokémon cards suddenly drops what can you use that card for? A really expensive wallpaper scraper?
So, if you’re thinking about investing in Pokémon cards, I would advise your money is best spent elsewhere for peace of mind.
Anyway, as a luxury investment, how does its demand look?
Curiously, interest in the Pokémon franchise has not had much growth despite the internet chatter. However, searches for rare Pokémon cards have seen a spike in interest.
As much as I’d like to say the Pokémon card resale industry is looking strong, realistically it looks like this very small niché has seen a sudden growth of interest that has bloated prices and increased the volume of sales occurring.
If the Pokémon franchise had been seeing huge month-on-month interest growth and their cards were just part of this overall statistic, maybe I’d consider that it was a good industry to invest in. This isn’t the case, though, so the sudden growth is likely temperamental.
It’s difficult to predict when we’ll see a downturn, but I’d probably predict that it’s whenever the celebrities lose interest in being collectors. Of course, there’s also a chance that it’ll spike again next year as more celebrities join the trend, probably as equal a chance as a downturn.
In conclusion, if you have Pokémon cards laying around it’s a good time to sell. But if you’re looking to invest, probably look at something more stable.