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Box of Pokémon cards sells at auction for more than $400,000, a new record

The price to catch ’em all keeps climbing

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The top of a box of Pokemon cards. Image: Heritage Auctions
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.

A new record high for an unopened box of first edition Pokémon cards has been set at $408,000. The sale was handled Jan. 15 by Heritage Auctions, the same company that brokered another record-breaking Pokémon sale in November.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game (Pokémon TCG) first launched in 1996, and was originally published in the United States by Wizards of the Coast — the same company behind another collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering. It pits two or more trainers against one another in traditional Pokémon battles, but with cards instead of digital pocket monsters. Cards are traditionally purchased in blind booster packs or on the secondary market.

Like Magic, the original Pokémon TCG is still in print. You can find it for sale at your friendly local game store, big box retailers, and online. But the secondary market — especially the speculative market for unopened first-edition booster packs — is red hot, spurred on by social media hype, Logan Paul, and even free-wheeling cryptocurrency investors.

This most recent run of record sales kicked off in October when rapper Logic put down $183,000 for a Charizard, and culminated most recently with a $375,000 deal that fell apart live on YouTube. Also sold at auction over the weekend: a rare Blastoise, one of only two ever printed, that sold for $360,000.

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