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Pokemon TCG Market Report: May 2021

The Pokemon TCG market, especially for graded cards, is ever-changing. As we did previously with April, a new month of sales gives us a new outlook on the direction of the market and the directions in which prices are trending. Overall, trends we began to see in April are continuing in May: most cards pre-2003 are coming down from previous highs, some drastically so. Despite this trend, post-2003 cards are mixed, with some selling for lower prices and others holding or increasing. 

Disclaimer: Ludkins Media is a media outlet aimed at providing the most up-to-date TCG news. This is the opinion of one of our writers reflecting on the current market trends in Pokemon TCG.

The decrease in prices is most pronounced with 1st Edition Base Set. After selling for a high of $350,000, PSA 10 1st Edition Base Set Charizard dropped to $240,000 in its most recent sale in the PWCC Premier Auction. This sale may have been influenced by the card not being as strong of a PSA 10 as it could be, but the drop is mirrored across Charizard grades. Two PSA 8s sold for $12.7 and $11.6k respectively, significant drops from their highs in late 2020. Charizard was not alone in decreasing, a PSA 8 Blastoise sold for $5.8k (down from a high of $28.6k in November). Less popular PSA 9 1st edition Base Set holos are now under $1k, and 10s of the same cards are in the mid-four-figure range. Cards like Zapdos have retraced approximately 50% since their highs. It appears that consistent supply and limited demand are driving prices down, especially for lower graded cards. 

Other pre-2003 cards saw decreases, including the infamous Topsun No Number Charizard, with the same copy selling for approximately $300,000 less than its first sale. Unlimited Base Set also saw significant retraces from its highs, but surprisingly not to the extent that 1st Edition Base Set has seen. The relative accessibility of Unlimited Base Set and an increased buyer pool may be tempering the retraces here. However, there are exceptions to the pre-2003 pattern as a BGS 10 1st edition Neo Genesis Lugia sold for $144,300, easily eclipsing both the highest PSA 10 sale of $129k and subsequent lesser sales. 

Pokemon TCG Market May

Post-2003 cards, especially highly-graded ones and rare trophies, held their value or continued to increase. A major story over the past month has been the increase of “lower-tier” trophy cards like Mysterious Pearl, Championship Arena, and others. A PSA 10 2005 Championship Arena (Mew/Celebi) sold for $15.1k, and a PSA 10 2006 copy (Dialga/Palkia) sold for $8k. EX Series cards largely held their value, especially higher-end cards. A PSA 10 Rocket’s Mewtwo ex held steady at $2k, while English and Japanese BW and XY era cards held their prices relatively steady. Again, not all cards follow this pattern: some high-graded ex cards like PSA 10 Charizard ex have significantly decreased, settling at around $4k after reaching a high of $8k earlier in the year. 

While certain sets and eras of cards are certainly coming back to more reasonable price points, especially Base Set, the market is not universal in either declining or increasing in value. Furthermore, while there are large trends such as the decrease of pre-2003 cards and the stability of post-2003 cards, these trends are not universal. The current Pokemon TCG market in May illustrates the need to understand the fundamentals behind not only the market as a whole but also different eras and even specific cards within those eras. 

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Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media

Follow Ethan on Instagram and Twitter @fourthstartcg

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