The Pokémon franchise has taken over pop culture yet again, with the possibility that it can make you rich. Yes, you read that right: the show and game that you loved so much as a child now has the ability to make you money. The key to this success? The trading cards.
In the last year, Pokémon trading cards have evolved into a money-making machine. The shelves cannot stay stocked for anything longer than 10 minutes. On restock days, stores like Target, Best Buy, Walmart and GameStop have lines out the door before they are even open.
And it is not only for the typical Pokémon fanatics. Celebrities have also jumped onto the hobby. YouTuber Logan Paul bought a rare Charizard card for $150,000, while other celebrities like Justin Bieber were on the hunt as well. DJ and producer Steve Aoki dedicated an entire charity event to him opening exclusive trading card boxes.
Like any other collection, the idea of holding on to something and hoping it gains value over time applies to the trading cards. The rarer the item, or in this case the card, the more value it is going to hold up. In the video that Logan Paul has on YouTube, he explains that on an episode of Pawn Stars, a Pokémon collector by the name of Gary—better known as “King Pokémon”—came into the shop asking for $500,000 for his collection. Now, the collection is worth $5,000,000.
But why necessarily Pokémon? The fascination of Pokémon has been around since it first came out in the late ‘90s. Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of what we know now as the Pokémon Universe, develop the game in hopes to create a video game that would generate success. Working with Nintendo’s Gameboy, he wanted to create a video game that would allow players to not only play but interact with other players, a first of its kind.
Many news outlets refused to cover the story of the video game since they thought the Gameboy fascination had died out. However, the game built up fans quickly, gaining more success for Nintendo as one of their top selling video games, and becoming one of the biggest franchises in pop culture history.
From there, the franchise has developed into shows, movies, games and is a part of many of our childhoods. It isn’t a surprise that when anything Pokémon related comes out, there is going to be a huge following.
For example, in 2016, the viral sensation Pokémon GO dominated all over the world, with people in the streets trying to collect and expand their Pokédex. Players would meet up in parks, street corners, and coffee shops to meet other fans and interact. According to ScreenRant, “Pokémon GO’s new region was the real world, and it changed how players interreacted both with the game and with other fans.”
The trading card game is no different. The nostalgic feeling of our childhood is ingrained within these cards. In a YouTube video, Gary reminisces on when his son had his first card when he was younger. “In 1999, when it started, my son, going to bed, he kept staring at that Charizard, first one that we ever pulled. And then…the next morning, still having it in his hand. And that was it.”
But there has been a recent push in the trading card sphere. According to eBay, there has been a 60 percent surge on Pokémon card sales in the last year. Kalvin Foley, a 34-year-old enthusiast, wanted to buy a rare Vmax Charizard during an auction, and saw the card start at $100 and end at $550.
Certain specialists have said that the recent jump on these trading cards could be due to people picking up hobbies during the pandemic and stimulus checks allowing some people to have extra money in their pockets. And it helps that content creators and influencers have also showed interests.
Four months ago, video game streamer and YouTuber NoahJ started an additional YouTube channel dedicated solely to Pokémon trading cards. AmericanDad, a Twitch streamer, just this week showed his audience an entire wall dedicated to so-called “Elite Trainer” card boxes.
Jesus Garcia, an assistant operations supervisor at Heritage Actions, explained to Marketplace that this push goes back to people yearning for nostalgia. “People my age are finally in their late-20s, mid-30s, and they can afford the stuff they liked when they were kids.”
This idea of buying items and reselling them for a higher price isn’t anything new. Almost everything has now turned into a retail/resale wormhole: sneakers, clothes, even gaming systems get bought out completely to later be resold to consumers at a much higher price. It allows people to have addition sources of income come their way, but it adds frustration to other consumers. And the pandemic has only expanded on phenomenon.
According to Boston Consulting Group, a survey they conducted suggest that “the global secondhand market will likely grow over the next five years by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 to 20 percent. Developed markets may see even greater gains, and some online resale players could potentially experience 100 percent year-on-year growth.”
For now, we just have wait and see where this Pokémon trading card eruption can take us, in hope that we can “catch ‘em all.”
IMAGE TAKEN from Pokémon Blog
IMAGE TAKEN from Business Insider
IMAGE TAKEN from Amazon Marketplace