In the wake of the record-breaking sale numbers from Logan Paul’s 1st edition box break–which brought over $1.4 million at auction–collectors have speculated over what the future holds for the Pokemon market. Specifically, collectors are asking what impact this massive sale will have for prices of 1st edition Base Set cards and older Pokemon cards in general. While exact market impacts are impossible to discern, there are several important takeaways from Logan Paul’s box break auction.
First, this sale demonstrates that the demand for Pokemon cards–especially 1st edition Base Set cards–is as high as ever. With incredibly limited numbers of mint cards still available, opening a box is one of the few ways remaining to secure copies of these rare cards in the best possible condition. It should be expected that as prices of 1st edition Base Set cards continue to climb, so will the prices for box breaks. Additionally, Logan Paul’s purchase of six 1st edition Base Set boxes represents the largest amount of these boxes to publicly trade hands recently. The high prices seen in his box break auction are partly a response to a large amount of 1st edition Base Set now being in his hands. As long as demand remains high and supply dwindles ever lower, prices for high-grade 1st edition Base Set cards will likely continue to increase. However, prices likely won’t increase at the same rate that has been seen over the past year.
Second, people are willing to pay large amounts of money to be part of a box break event put on by a significant celebrity. Logan Paul’s last box break peaked at 385,000 viewers, and each viewer got their name mentioned on stream as their pack was opened. Logan Paul specifically noted in this auction that each pack winner would get a shoutout during the live stream. People are not just bidding on the physical Pokemon cards and chance to pull rare 1st edition holos, but also the celebrity experience and advertising exposure. Youtuber Randolph Pokemon participated in the last Logan Paul break–with packs priced at $11,000–and remarked that when all was said and done he made money from participating, largely from increased traffic to his channel and boosted ad revenue. This is to say that another individual who did a 1st edition box break would likely not garner the same high prices as Logan Paul. One cannot view the average sale prices of a Logan Paul pack as accurately reflecting the market value for a sealed and unweighed 1st edition Base Set pack.
Third, all collectible markets are driven by interest and demand. Over the past year, especially following the first Logan Paul break this past October, interest and demand was at an all-time high and prices reflected this. As interest and demand for WOTC-era cards waned slightly, prices decreased in turn. Many collectors are speculating that this second Logan Paul break will drive interest and demand even higher, leading to more record-breaking prices. This is certainly a possible outcome. Other collectors have noted that given the close proximity of the box breaks, this new break is unlikely to have the same effect as the last. Confounding these predictions are collectors who purchase cards anticipating a “Logan Paul effect,” thereby increasing demand and raising prices in a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Absolutist claims about the market impact of Logan Paul’s forthcoming break should be treated with skepticism. Collectors who are concerned about future price increases or the state of the market in general should remember the fundamentals of supply, interest, and demand. Collectors should also recognize that the prices paid for Logan Paul’s packs do not reflect the market value of a 1st edition Base Set pack absent the celebrity experience and exposure.
Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media
Follow Ethan on Twitter and Instagram @fourthstartcg