A single card from the first edition of Pokémon collectibles can sell for up to a million dollars . Investors and technology companies have closely followed this recent market and have decided to join the Pikachu fever, investing hundreds of millions of dollars.
The confinements resulting from the health crisis have caused many people to rummage through their drawers in the hope of finding some form of entertainment. Some found board games, others stumbled on their old game console, and a few found their old deck of Pokémon cards .
This occurs after the launch of Pokémon Go in 2006, which caused a wave of twenty-somethings, nostalgic for their childhood, to take to the streets to catch their favorite Pocket Monsters thanks to augmented reality. Many of these people, those who were lucky enough to have kept it, dusted off their old Game Boy to remember those hours of fun in black and white, and in 16-bit.
Since then, this trend has only increased, and after its inception in 1996, the franchise is more prevalent than ever. Many Pokemaniacs have realized this and have taken advantage of the pull to put their old collectible cards on sale. According to Bloomberg , some of these stickers can be sold for more than $ 4,500 .
Pokémon card sales grow 1,046% in 2021
In 2020, overall trading card sales saw the largest ever increase, 142% on eBay; where Pokémon led the market, with an average of five cards per minute, beating even sports cards. However, this year the momentum has been even greater. The franchise’s letter sales on eBay increased 1,046% in the first quarter .
Thanks to this growing market, authentication companies have increased in value. Certified Collectibles Group, for example, recently sold a majority stake to Blackstone Group for $ 500 million .
Night Ventures General Partner Ben Mathews believes the collectibles industry is at its best. For this reason, its parent company Night Media is looking to invest in startups that take advantage of the Pokémon fever.
Similarly, large investors have entered into franchise-related deals. Earlier this week, startup Collectbase raised a funding round led by billionaire Peter Thiel. This company makes software that allows collectors to scan, price, organize and track the value of their collection of cards – similar to a portfolio of stocks – and then sell on eBay.
The company’s mobile app, Cardbase, began by dedicating itself to sports trading cards and expanded to Pokémon this spring, after months of increasingly intense requests, Anas Salem, one of the two founders, told Bloomberg .
In the United States, the live auction firm Whatnot has raised a total of $ 75.4 million, and in May it was already worth more than $ 500 million, according to data from the research firm PitchBook. The company increased its sales tenfold over the past year thanks to the inclusion of Pokémon.
Investors fear that the cards will be devalued due to excess supply
At the moment, the number of authenticated letters is relatively low, which results in some letters selling for up to a million dollars . However, investors fear that, due to the great popularity of the franchise, small collectors will sell their decks and devalue their price.
Similarly, the low supply is due to the fact that authentication companies have been overwhelmed by excess demands for evaluation from individuals. However, it is feared that, once analyzed, the offer will multiply by six ; which would reduce its value drastically.