A pristine first edition holo Charizard card has sold at auction for $168,000 on the PWCC website, which could spell bad news for Pokémon card prices in general. Upwards of $150k for a single paper rectangle may sound like an awful lot, but first edition Charizard is one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever created, only bested by a handful of extremely scarce promo cards and collectibles.
In the last few years, we’ve seen this Charizard Pokémon card jump in value from $220,000, all the way to $420,000 – but now it appears that price might be on the way back down once more. The copy was graded a Gem Mint 10 by CGC – the highest possible grade awarded by the company – yet could not attract the same kind of bids as we’ve seen in previous years.
The first edition shadowless Charizard Pokémon card from the 1999 base set – the first batch of Pokémon cards released in the United States – has always been one of the most sought after Pokémon cards ever released, and its price has only increased with time. In October 2020, former rapper Logic bought a PSA 10 copy for $220k, a record that was soon smashed in November with a $295k purchase. But even this pales in comparison to the PSA 10 copy that sold for $420k in 2022.
So why, in 2023, has this card only sold for a comparatively low $168,000? One factor might be the grading company involved. The more expensive examples above were all graded by PSA, a more established and well-known grader than CGC for evaluating Pokémon cards. CGC also changed up its grading system as recently as June 2023, which may have influenced the price collectors are willing to spend on big card purchases.
However, it could instead be a sign of a coming downward trend, as Pokémon prices may be dipping to pre-pandemic levels. During the pandemic, with everything on lockdown, many people were left with extra disposable income burning a hole in their pocket, which helped spark a big boom in the Pokémon market.
The attention of one controversial Youtuber also played a massive part in this Pokémon card boom. In 2021, popular Youtuber Logan Paul began making Pokémon videos and streams, easily racking up 10 million views with coverage of expensive, rare Pokémon cards – videos like “I lost 3.5 million on rare Pokémon cards”.
This culminated in 2022, when Paul set a Guinness World Record for the most expensive Pokémon card with his purchase of a Pokémon Illustrator promo card. This attracted a lot of fans to the game, keen to get involved with buying and selling Pokémon cards, but now it seems like the star’s Pokémon coverage may have petered out.
Of course, it’s impossible to draw too much information from one card purchase – the buyer may have just gotten lucky on this particular Charizard auction. But we’ll certainly be on the lookout for more signs of a downward turn or dropping card prices.
If you’re looking to become a Pokémon card collector, you’ll need to know everything there is to know about Pokémon card rarity. You’ll also want our advice on how to spot fake Pokémon cards – unless you’d like to follow in Logan Paul’s footsteps.