An auction on eBay that concluded on 1st September closed with a winning bid of $10 100, beating out 43 other bids. The item on sale wasn’t a car or a piece of jewellery, but was instead a new Pokémon card of Charizard that was recently released and is still in print.
Those last two pieces of information are the important factors here. While Magic is the card game known for obscenely expensive cardboard, any trading card game (TCG) can breed these anomalies when you combine old sets with out of print or limited run cards.
The Charizard in question – from the new Hidden Fates set – is neither of these things as Hidden Fates launched in English on 23rd August. It’s different from a regular Pokémon expansion because you can’t just go to a store and buy one or two boosters. Instead you need to buy more expensive boxed products that come with multiple boosters inside.
This factor makes it generally more expensive to buy the cards, but Pokémon has made up for this fact with the Shiny Vault (SV) – a subset inside of Hidden Fates that features shiny reprints of existing cards that are sought after by the community and carry a hefty price to match.
Due to its popularity, Charizard cards have always been comparatively more expensive and the one in Hidden Fates more so because it is a shiny inside of the Shiny Vault. It’s also rather difficult to get, according to people who open a lot of packs. One person involved in opening a thousand Hidden Fates packs reported that he was only able to get three of these Charizards from all of those boosters.
That having been said, anyone with the money to burn right now can go and buy Charizard SV49 right now for $450. What makes the eBay lot special is its condition as a graded card.
In the world of TCG, graded cards are those that have been sent out to a company that specialises in inspecting the condition of a card and grading it on certain criteria. The biggest name in this business is PSA, but Beckett is a close second and they awarded the eBay Charizard their highest grading of a Black Label 10 Pristine.
This means that, by Beckett’s measure, this is a perfectly printed card with no flaws or damage whatsoever.
You can poke around the eBay listing yourself to see more, but there is question about the legitimacy of this sale. Putting aside the tinfoil hat ideas of trying to manipulate the market of these cards or trying to commit some kind of fraud, the winning bid may not honour their purchase or this could just be speculative buying and the card won’t be worth nearly this much in a year or two.
Regardless of what you think of expensive Pokémon, a new TCG card selling for so much is a rare occurrence.