DALLAS – The Pokémon card collecting world is on fire, as evidenced by the sale of a rare first edition 1999 Pokémon Charizard No. 4 card for $336,000 in an early-March event at Heritage Auctions.
The Charizard card drew 69 bids before reaching its final hammer price, the most ever paid at Heritage for the card — the previous HA record was $300,000, in January 2021 — and well beyond the card's pre-auction estimate of $200,000-plus.
The record-sale was part of of Heritage's Trading Card Games Signature Auction that realized $3.8 million in sales March 4-5 and featured a number of sought-after Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering cards.
"This auction, especially the trophy-level cards, did exceptionally well," Jesus Garcia, Heritage Auctions Trading Card Games Consignment Director, said. "This sale reinforced the fact that demand for Pokémon cards continues its climb. We fully expected Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering to fare well, and they did."
Buzz surrounded the card because it's from the game's first English print run and had been given a perfect PSA GEM-MT 10 grading. It's one of only 121 to be given that rating, according to the auction house. Cards from the first English print run are coveted by serious collectors, and finding one in this condition is exceptionally rare.
Also sparking a flurry of competitive bids was a Pokémon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999), which drew 54 bids before closing at $288,000. Sealed First Edition Booster Boxes are in such demand that they become immediate centerpieces when they land in new collections; finding one like this, still sealed in its original shrink-wrap, is exceptionally difficult because it is from a low print run and precious few ever make it to market.
Seven of the top 10 results in the sale were brought in by Magic: The Gathering lots, including an Unlimited Edition Starter Deck Sealed Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1993) that became the event's third lot to reach six figures when it finished at $168,000. Starter Decks were made to be opened in order to play the game, making sealed boxes exceedingly rare. This box includes 10 decks, each with a rule book and 60 cards: 45 Common cards, 13 Uncommon and two Rares, meaning 20 chances at the Black Lotus or any of the other Power Nine cards.
Pokémon trading cards were first introduced in 1995 and rapidly gained worldwide acclaim. What began as a simple card trading game more than 25 years ago has quickly evolved into a massively dynamic and serious collector’s game.
In February, Goldin Auctions sold a rare 1998 Pocket Monsters Japanese Promo Illustrator Holographic Pikachu card for $900,000. Goldin says it was an "all-time record public sale for any Pokémon card."