Another month has passed and with it some interesting market movement. However, July’s PWCC sales give one reason to pause before assessing the larger state of the Pokemon TCG market: as such, I will make no broad conclusions about the direction of the market and various parts of it before taking time to see what has been officially paid for.
This past PWCC came with some very interesting Pokemon TCG sales – some cards going for much more than expected while others either slightly increasing, decreasing, or selling for about the same price. Extremely surprising sales include a $15k sale of a PSA 10 English Pikachu Gold Star, a $16k sale of a PSA 10 Japanese Mew Gold Star, a $20k sale of an English Espeon Gold Star, and a $9.6k sale of a PSA 10 1st edition Shining Tyranitar. PSA 10 Gold Star Pikachus are available to purchase on eBay right now for $11-12k, and the last confirmed sale was for $8.6k. A similar story is present with the other English PSA 10s, as the last confirmed sale for an Espeon was $12.2k, and $3.6k for a Shining Tyranitar. This either indicates a massive increase in price for shiny Pokemon cards or a momentary inability to understand the market price of these cards due to tampering.
There are several possibilities when a card goes for significantly more than expected: one is simply that the market value of the card has increased – and we have seen this a lot over the past year. If this is the case, we would expect both the card to be paid for and future sales to be somewhat in line with this new value. Other possibilities include that the card will not be paid for some reason, therefore indicating that the ending price is not a new data point to consider when evaluating the market. One possibility that many often turn to is “shill bidding,” where a seller or other interested party (e.g. someone else who owns the same card) will bid on the auction without the intention of paying, to raise the price. This certainly happens in some cases, but it is nearly impossible to know for certain, especially with private listings. Other reasons why a card may not be paid for include someone intending to pay but then realizing they don’t have the money, getting caught up in a bidding war and then getting cold feet, or simply someone who doesn’t have any vested interest in the card’s sale price messing with the auction.
Regardless of whether the suspected auctions were tampered with or not, they represent an extremely small (but still important) part of the sales in the past month. Claims that the entire market is shill bid, or that sales are manipulated on a large scale to enrich specific individuals, simply do not hold. Likely, 95-99% of the Pokemon TCG sales in this July’s PWCC will be paid for.
However, jumping to conclusions given possibly suspect sales is also inadvisable. So until there is clarity on recent sales, I will avoid the traditional market report.
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Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media
Follow Ethan on Instagram and Twitter @fourthstartcg
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