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How millennials are cashing in on Pokemon cards

Earlier this month, a single Pokemon card sold for about Rs 1.86 crore in an auction. If you are in possession of first edition memorabilia, you may very well be sitting on a small fortune.

April 29, 2021 / 05:17 PM IST
A Jordanian boy looks at a toy shop display of 'Pikachu' toys the star of the children's video and card game Pokemon in Amman.

A Jordanian boy looks at a toy shop display of 'Pikachu' toys the star of the children's video and card game Pokemon in Amman.

In a world where the definition of an asset is changing, a Pokemon card fetched nearly $250,000 (Rs 1.86 crore) in an auction this month. The sale was conducted by Goldin Auctions. The card was a rare piece of memorabilia, featuring Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president of The Pokémon Company. It was originally distributed to employees to celebrate Ishihara’s 60th birthday in 2017.

Pokemon cards are valuable to everyone regardless of age. But they have particular appeal among millennials. The video game was launched in 1996 and was a part of growing up for that generation.

Now it can make them wealthy as well.

In February, 25-year-old YouTuber Logan Paul spent $2 million acquiring six trunks full of Pokemon cards.

"This is a newfound obsession of mine and I am so excited to share it with other enthusiasts around the world," Paul posted on social media.

Last year, the rapper Logic, 31, spent nearly $264,000
(around Rs 1.9 crore .) on Pokemon cards. He said that as a child, he could rarely afford them.

"Being able to enjoy something that I've loved since childhood now as a grown man is like buying back a piece of something I could never have," Logic posted on Instagram.

There are young people who have made a career out of being Pokemon geeks. Dani Sanchez is a Pokemon YouTuber, her online moniker being SuperDuperDani. Sanchez’s videos show her unboxing cards and collectibles related to the game. Her own collection, she told the BBC, was probably worth $250,000.

"Vintage cards have skyrocketed in value,” Sanchez said. “A sealed box of Pokémon cards from the early 2000s or late 90s retailed at around $100. [That same box would cost] $20,000, $30,000 or even $50,000 (£35,000) today. It's insane.”

Pokemon cards have become cash magnets for a variety of reasons, such as the renewed interest in indoor hobbies due to the pandemic, celebrity association and a worldwide boom in the pursuit of rare cards, including those featuring athletes.

"Celebrities [have been] getting involved in it. Logic bought a Pokémon card, Logan Paul got in, Shawn Mendes, Steve Aoki,” Sanchez told the BBC. “But there's another side: the financial angle. There's a whole group of people out there pushing the market up in the hope of making a profit later.

Akshay Sawai
first published: Apr 29, 2021 05:17 pm