The widely-considered “holy grail” of Pokemon cards, the Pikachu Illustrator, sold for $375,000 in tonight’s PWCC auction. The card was professionally graded by PSA and achieved a grade of a PSA 7. The price surprised many collectors as it sold for less than recent ungraded sales in Japan, including Steve Aoki’s recent Illustrator purchase for which he paid $420,000.
A public Western-market auction of the Illustrator card had not happened in several years. Given the recent market increases in Pokemon, collectors were widely expecting that this auction of a Pikachu Illustrator would break the record for the highest public sale, currently held by the PSA 10 no number, blue back Topsun Charizard at over $493,000. Some collectors even speculated that this Illustrator would be the first single Pokemon card to break the $1 million mark, however that prediction was apparently far off.
This sale illustrates the volatility in the Pokemon market. Supply and demand are king, and there are limited Pokemon collectors who are able and willing to pay the high prices a Pikachu Illustrator commands. If some of them are not engaging with an auction, prices may not reach the heights collectors believe they will. Furthermore, many Pikachu Illustrators are graded in PSA 9 or higher. Condition is usually not as important given the rarity of such cards, but it may have been a factor in this sale price being lower than others.
Other Pokemon cards hit record prices tonight however, as a rare Tamamushi University Magikarp in a PSA 10 sold for over $66,000. Again and again, the Pokemon market defies being painted with a broad brush!
Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media
Follow Ethan on Twitter and Instagram @fourthstartcg