Champion’s Path, for many the first Pokemon TCG booster packs they opened after a decade long hiatus. For other’s, a set released amid Pokemon TCG hysteria that used Charizard as a selling point for an otherwise lacklustre subset. In this article, we’re going to take a look at Rainbow Charizard VMAX 074/073 a card that is synonymous with Pokemon TCG and the pandemic market.
With Brilliant Stars releasing in February and the rainbow Charizard VSTAR chase beginning, we chose Charizard VMAX 074/073 for this market analysis to get a better look at how one of the most popular rainbow rare cards of the fire-lizard has performed over the last year and a half.
Champion’s Path was released in September 2020 with the expansion bringing two new Charizard cards to the forefront of every collector and hype beasts thoughts. The subset quickly became a huge success with products selling out instantly online and, like all Pokemon TCG products at the time, Champion’s Path products were a hard find in stores. Looking back, many if not all of us will agree that Champion’s Path is potentially the most underwhelming subset of all time when compared with fan favourites like Hidden Fates or Shining Legends.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the raw value of Rainbow Charizard VMAX, one of the two Charizard chase cards from the set. If you wanted to pick up a near-mint copy via eBay in the UK, a Charizard VMAX 074/073 would set you back around £150-£180 at the time of writing this article. Alternatively, TCGPlayer shows the current market price for a near-mint copy as $207 (roughly £150). Like most modern chase cards, this raw value is much lower than the regularly reached £300+ Rainbow Charizard VMAX used to fetch between its release and Q1 of 2021.
Throughout 2020 and 2021 grading companies have thrived to new levels of never-before-seen demand ultimately leading to the closure of lower-tiered services like PSA’s bulk submission closure in April which is yet to resume. With the huge demand for grading services and the increase in Pokemon prices across the board due to a rise in popularity of collectables throughout the COVID-19 pandemic graded card populations have gone through the roof particularly for modern. Rainbow Charizard VMAX 074/073 is a prime example with over 10,100 copies graded at PSA, of which 7473 are PSA 10 – that’s roughly 73% of all copies submitted that are gem mint!
Recent eBay US sales show PSA 10 Charizard VMAX 074/073 selling from anywhere between $400 and $500. In the UK, prices are slightly more elevated like most graded Pokemon cards with PSA 10 copies valued at around £375-£400 ($500+). If we take a look back at PSA 10 prices during the height of Pokemon TCG’s popularity in October/November 2020 the prices were almost double in North America with cards selling for over $900 regularly. It’s worth noting that this card didn’t reach 2000 PSA 10 copies until the beginning of 2021 which means less supply and higher demand easily led to higher sales values.
In terms of other grading companies, BGS (Beckett Grading Services) has 2764 in their registry with 69 copies of their elusive BGS 10 Black Label. That being said, even with a higher level of Black Labels than many other modern chase cards there is still a huge demand for the premium grade. In December 2021, a BGS 10 Black Label Rainbow Charizard VMAX 074/073 sold for a whopping $3,642 at auction.
So what’s next for Rainbow Charizard VMAX? Nearly a year ago I deemed this card the “mascot of the pandemic” and I’ll stick by that nickname. For many, this was the first Pokemon TCG chase they’d experienced in 20 years and with that, there’s a huge soft spot for many of the Rainbow Charizard from 2020. Modern Pokemon cards are always a huge risk, especially when population reports show such a high level of gem mint copies thanks to a decent print run. With the release of Rainbow Charizard VSTAR in Brilliant Stars, we could see further interest in the other Rainbow Charizard cards as collector’s aim to collect them all. That being said, this is a card worth purchasing for its fond memories more than as an investment opportunity. If the fondness stays for the long haul then who knows how Rainbow Charizard VMAX 074/073 will perform in the future.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief
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