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$800,000+ Pokemon TCG trade – Pikachu Illustrator, Secret Super Battle set, No.3 Trainer + more

Huge Pokemon Trade TCG Ludkins

If you’re active on social media in Pokemon groups and Instagram, then you’ve probably seen an insane TCG trade happen here and there. In December 2020, Poke_Mafa on Instagram traded a value of $900,000 in cards for a PSA 9 Pikachu Illustrator card.

Today, Ludkins Media can confirm a massive Pokemon card trade between @149montblanc, @onlycollectables, and @flowersandturds with a middle-man in the form of Ludkins Collectables and Ludkins Media CEO, Barney Ludkins

On one side of the trade a complete set of SSB (Super Secret Battle) Trophy cards and a complete Sample Set from 2002, initially produced to demonstrate the functions of the e-Reader later found in Expedition Base Set. On the other side, the “Holy Grail” of Pokemon TCG, a raw Pikachu Illustrator card, and a PSA 9 1998 Bronze No.3 Trainer.


Some info behind the cards involved in this Pokemon TCG trade

Secret Super Battle Trainer Cards

In 1999, Pokemon hosted seven regional tournaments in Japan where the winners received the location to a secret tournament “Secret Super battle” and the SSB No.1 Trainer. There are currently two PSA 9 and six PSA 10s of this card in the PSA population report. 

In terms of the No.2 Trainer, there are currently two PSA 9 and four PSA 10s as well as one Authentic, one PSA 8, one PSA 9, and four PSA 10s of the No.3 Trainer from the set. This means that of the 14 graded variations of this card in existence, this trade included three. 

Secret Super Battle

Sample Set

The Sample Set is a collection of promotional cards created to showcase the e-Reader functionality in conjunction with the GameBoy Advance Peripheral. The English set contains 10 cards and was given out during a Press Conference in August 2002 held at the New York Pokemon Center. These cards are printed on the then-new Japanese card back and made by MEDIAFACTORY in Japan, rather than Wizards of the Coast. This trade included all 10 cards, nine of which are PSA 10 with a PSA 6 Machop. 

Sample Set

Pikachu illustrator

Given out to winners of the Japanese CoroCoro Comic Illustration Contest in 1998, there are approximately 39 of these cards in existence. We’ve touched on this card many times in the past, so if you’re looking for further information on why this card is deemed the creme de la creme of Pokemon TCG click here

Pikachu Illustrator Ludkins

1998 Bronze No.3 Trainer

Awarded to the 3rd place trainer in 1998’s Lizardon Mega Battle tournament this card is an extremely sought-after trophy card showcasing Pikachu holding a bronze trophy. There are five PSA 9s in existence with no 10s on the PSA population report. 

No3 Trainer

The Trades

@onlycollectables traded SSB No.3 Trainer PSA 10 & Full English Sample Set for the PSA 9 1998 Bronze No.3 Trainer

@149montblanc traded SSB No.1 Trainer PSA 9 & SSB No.2 Trainer PSA 10 for the raw Pikachu illustrator


The last time we saw a raw Pikachu Illustrator sell publicly was back in February when American DJ Steve Aoki purchased a near-mint copy for $420,000 which he later graded a 9 via PSA.

These kinds of high-value deals happen frequently across social media, but for many the idea of such a huge trade is unfathomable. With this deal happening so close to home, we decided to look into how something like this comes about so those of us that have more modest collections can get an insight into the world of extremely expensive TCG trades. 

We caught up with @149montblanc and @onlycollectables, one side of the trade deal, to understand a little bit more about the process and why this trade means so much to both of them.

Having searched for an opportunity to own a Pikachu illustrator since 2011, when @flowersandturds popped up looking for a complete Super Secret Battle set the two friends decided to merge and offer their combined set of No1, No2, and No3 Trainer cards to obtain @149montblanc’s holy grail. 

Check out Onlycollectable’s YouTube where he discusses the trade (above)

When it comes to Pokemon TCG trades, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on travel leading to extensive negotiations and longer wait times. This trade had been in the works for six months due to COVID-19 restrictions in the unnamed source’s country of origin. 

For collectors like @onlycollectables, who travel the globe purchasing cards this has led to a halt in in-person deals. “I’ve been to Germany, Switzerland, and in December I went to Dubai but I’m still waiting for the borders to open so I can do some bigger deals in the future”. With in-person deals in the UK scarce in current lockdown restrictions, the opportunity to own such rare pieces for their collections with a middle-man around 3 hours away by car was too good to pass up.

So how much is this trade worth? “I would say, probably $800 to $1 million but it’s worth it to me because the Pikas are worth more to me than the SSB set”. That’s because @onlycollectables values the unique artwork of each Pikachu Trophy card over the differing holo pattern for the SSB cards.

With the addition of the 1998 no3 Pikachu Trophy card to his collection, @onlycollectables now owns the No1 and No3 in a PSA 9 and 10 respectively. His aim in the future is to complete the set by adding a No2 into the mix. 

As for @149montblanc, he will keep the card raw and cherish it as the pride of his collection. In the future, he may consider sending the card for grading.

Ludkins Pikachu Illustrator

To keep up-to-date with all the latest TCG news and future Pokemon TCG trades within the community follow Ludkins Media on Instagram and Facebook

John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief

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