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$375,000 box of Pokémon cards turns out to be fake

Logan Paul’s ‘personal Pokémon advisor’ got duped

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A masked speculator reveals an opened booster pack of cards. Image: Dumb Money via YouTube
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The Pokémon card bubble, brought on by celebrities and influencers flush with cash hyping the market on social media and YouTube, may be bursting. A group of personalities came together yesterday for a $375,000 deal live on YouTube — complete with a badged security guard looking on. As reported by The Guardian, the box of cards in question was a fake.

No money exchanged hands, but everyone involved looks foolish.

After simmering for months, the Pokémon market flashed into the mainstream on Oct. 9 when rapper Logic paid a record-breaking $183,812 for a rare Charizard. That gave the team at the Dumb Money YouTube channel — Dave Hanson, Chris Camillo & Jordan Mclain — an idea.

The team proposed to purchase an unopened box of first-edition Pokémon cards — 36 packs in all — for $375,000 from a group led by Jake “JBTheCryptoKing” Greenbaum, a cryptocurrency speculator. The speculator is closely associated with Logan Paul, who recently spent $200,000 on a box of Pokémon cards. Once opened and verified as authentic, the team at Dumb Money would tuck the box away for one year.

Then, live on stage in Las Vegas, they planned to throw “the world’s largest Pokémon investor party,” according to Camillo. The plan was to auction off the packs individually, and to donate a portion of the cards to “collaborators,” with all of the proceeds going to charity.

“As long as it’s a non-political charity,” said Camillo, “we will donate 100% of the money to charity,”

When they cracked open the box, inside was an assortment of packs, not all of which were first edition, and some of which had already been opened — a clear fake, resealed to look like the real thing.

Seller Greenbaum — who had demanded he be paid in cash — said he had no idea he was in possession of a fake.

“That’s why you buy PSA/BGS graded!” Greenbaum said on Twitter, referring to PSA Authentication and Grading Services and Becket Grading Services, which validate cards and their condition for a fee.

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