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Rare Pikachu Pokémon card breaks its own record at auction

The Pikachu Illustrator card sold for $900K

Detective Pikachu has a surprised expression on his face. Image: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

If you thought 2021’s Pokémon card craze was over, think again. A rare Pokémon card has just obliterated the previous auction record; the Japanese Promo, Pikachu Illustrator Holo card from 1998 sold for $900K on Feb. 23.

The card itself is in Japanese, and depicts a Pikachu holding some art supplies, surrounded by paintings and drawings of other Pokémon, like Charmander. Only 41 of these cards exist, and 39 of them were originally offered as rewards for CoroCoro Comic reader submissions between 1997 and 1998, according to Dicebreaker. It’s drawn by Atsuko Nishida, the original designer of Pikachu, which has no doubt helped the price skyrocket.

This exact type of card has sold extremely well before, with a less impressive mint selling for $375K last February. But just to illustrate how ridiculous Pokémon card sales have gotten over the last few years, an even more impressive mint of the Pikachu Illustrator sold for only $195K in 2019 (which at the time, was the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold).

The Pokémon card bubble could burst at any time, but it’s almost certain we’ll see some Pokémon cards break the million dollar mark before that happens.

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