When the Digimon virtual pets first hit the scene, which branched out from Bandai’s wildly popular Tamagotchi series, they wanted to capitalise on their Digital Monsters series by branching out into collectable cards. Some of these have become incredibly rare and valuable, and thanks to Feroz Khaili, one of our readers who collects vintage Digimon cards, we will share some of the rarest from the Carddass series.
In 1988, Bandai launched their Carddass vending machines in Japan, which would dispense collectable cards. These cards focused on different Bandai anime series like Saint Seiya, Dragon Ball, and of course, Digimon. The technology behind Cardass wasn’t always intended for dispensing cards, with Bandai initially wanting to use it as an information source for children. This intention soon changed as Cardass sales skyrocketed. These Carddass cards were dispensed through vending machines, along with many of their other IPs. The Carddass cards have no practical game rules but do have a vague HP printed below the artwork, which was intended to emphasise the different strengths of Digimon.
The front of these particular cards have one of 3 main types (Vaccine, Data, and Virus), the Digimon’s name, the card ID, the artwork and the HP points. On the other side of the card is the Digivolution information, indicating the different Digivolution paths. It is believed that this set was intended to help fans of the Digital Monster handheld devices to get to know what the Digimon really looked like, as they previously appeared as simple sprites on the handheld games.
The Digimon Carddass cards were released in 1997 and cost around $0.50 Singapore Dollar and similar in Japanese Yen. Only selected countries sold these cards, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, which is the reason why some of them have become incredibly rare. The set was short-lived, however, as Bandai stopped production in 1999, just before the release of their popular Hyper Colosseum and Digi-Battle card games.
The rarest of the Carddass cards are those that contain entire evolution groups into one artwork, known as ‘Family’ cards. Another reason why these cards are so popular is because of the focus Digimon and the nostalgia they stir in those who grew up in the 90s. Valuing these cards can be difficult, with some of them having price tags of upward of $5000 ungraded. Feroz has also shared with us some of the cards that can be put together to create one large art piece, like the V Union cards of Pokemon and the connecting artwork seen throughout the current Digimon Card Game, such as the Great Legend SECs.
Feroz told us how he started collecting the Digimon Carddass cards when he was just seven years old, keeping his collection stored safely ever since. This has allowed him to acquire some of the rarest in the game, which have been kept in pristine condition. This led to Feroz getting several of his rarest cards graded with SGC, including the Nightmare Soldier #139 and Nature Spirits #76 ‘Family Cards’.
When asked why he decided to get these cards graded, Feroz told us that he realised that there are very few of these cards in existence anymore and wanted to preserve the ones in his possession. He did reach out to PSA and CGC to see if they could grade his cards, but they explained how there weren’t enough references to sufficiently grade the cards. This led to Feroz reaching out to Bandai for some references, but they told him that although they know these early cards exist, they no longer have a specific department that deals with that particular set anymore. A couple of months after hitting the dead end, however, he came across SGC, who agreed to grade the cards. Worried that they may later refuse to grade the cards, Feroz also sent in a 25th Anniversary Charizard, so he had at least something graded in the returns. Luckily, everything came back in a slab. Feroz has told us that there are only one of each of these cards in the SGC population (at the time of writing this article), which makes it likely that these are some of the only graded copies in existence.
Over 20 years after the original Digimon Adventure Carddass series, Bandai released a brand new set to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Digimon franchise. There are 72 cards in the set, 36 normal and 36 holo cards. Also, there are 18 new illustrations based on the ED and famous scenes from the original anime series. 52 of the cards are popular cards from the legacy series, which have been recreated with scanning technology, colour balancing and art retouching to make them appear as close to the original 1997 cards as possible. The reason why Bandai had to do this is because the film backups for these cards don’t exist anymore. This special product comes with a special book, a box and a binder to store the cards inside.
If you enjoy checking out impressive Digimon collections, we have another one here. If you have a collection you would like to share with our readers, you can reach out to us via the link on our ‘About’ page.
Mathew Parkes – Ludkins Media