An ultra-rare Pokémon card given out as a prize in 1998 has sold at auction for $233,578, establishing a new world record for the white-hot Pokémon card secondary market.
The PSA-graded mint-9-rated Pikachu Illustrator card shattered the previous record for such a card, $195,000, set just last year. What began as a simple card trading game has quickly evolved into a serious collector’s game.
Featuring an illustration by Atsuko Nishida, one of the chief Pokémon graphic illustrators, the card depicts Pikachu holding what appear to be drawing tools. It is considered the most iconic and valuable card to Pokémon collectors.
Originally, the promotional Pikachu Illustrator card was given out to winners of an illustration contest held in Japan in 1997-98. At the time, thirty-nine such cards were awarded, but only ten are believed to still exist. To illustrate how rapidly the collectible Pokémon card market is growing, just four years ago a Pikachu Illustrator card sold for $54,970 at Heritage Auctions.
Speaking of Heritage, the Dallas-based auction company just sold an exceedingly rare Pokémon Super Secret Battle "No. 1 Trainer" Trainer Promo Hologram Trading Card for a record-breaking $90,000 for that card. One of seven such cards known to exist, collectors consider the Trainer Promo card highly desirable and arguably one of the rarest cards in the entire Pokémon Trading Card Game.