Pokemon, 'gotta catch 'em all, right? The whole premise of the franchise rests on the player being an obsessive collector, so it's no surprise that Pokémon mapped perfectly onto the Collectable Card Game format. Given that the cards are real-life objects, some of them can fetch some real moolah, especially if they're extremely rare.
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Well, the most valuable Pokémon Card in the world has now been sold at auction, fetching a whopping $54,970, a handsome sum that exceeded even the expectations of the seller, who was holding out for $50,000.
The card in question is the 'Pikachu Illustrator', which depicts Pikachu with pen and brush. The illustration on the card itself is by Atsuko Nishida, one of Pokémon's main graphic artists. Preserved in mint condition, this rare card was sold on Thursday at an auction conducted in Beverly Hills, California by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.
The interesting thing about the 'Pikachu Illustrator' is that it was never actually part of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It was in fact a prize for winners of an illustration contest conducted by the CoroCoro manga. Although a total of 39 copies were handed out between two competitions, now only 10 are known to still exist.
Cash or Card?
According to Barry Sandoval, the director of operations for comics at Heritage Auctions, another Pikachu Illustrator was also sold in the early 2000s for about $23,000. Since the Pokémon franchise is experiencing a resurgence of interest and popularity this year following the release of Pokémon GO on mobile, the card has become a lot more valuable.
In CCGs rarity is money, though not always corresponding to power in the game. Magic: The Gathering's most valuable card, the famed 'Black Lotus' is also legitimately powerful to the point of game-breaking, and fetches a price of around $27,000.
'Pikachu Illustrator' smashes the 'Black Lotus', despite not being a useful card in the game. Reportedly the most expensive CCG item sold is another special contest prize, being Yu-Gi-Oh’s Tournament 'Black Luster Soldier'.
Pictured above, this one-of-a-kind trading card was awarded to the winner of the very first Yu-Gi-Oh tournament held in Japan in 1999. This unique card was printed on stainless steel instead of the usual cardboard and foil and has a record-breaking value of roughly $10 million, although it has been reported to have exchanged hands for a paltry $2 million (what a deal!).
Pokémon GO might be responsible for the card's price hike, who knows how much the next one will sell for after Pokémon Sun and Moon:
Anyone got some rare Pokémon Trading Cards they're looking to sell? Now's the time!