A rare 1998 Japanese Promo University prize Magikarp in a PSA 9 sold yesterday in PWCC’s November auction for a record high $27,000 so we thought we’d take a look at what makes Unikarp so special.
First released as a prize card for the Tamamushi University Hyper Test in 1998, University Magikarp (Unikarp) is quite possibly one of the most sought-after Japanese promo cards in existence.
The distribution of the card is linked to Kanto’s Celadon University and a promotional activity in Shogakukan magazine during May 1998. Elementary school children could take part in an entrance exam followed by further tests culminating in the Hyper Professor Test in the December 1998 issue.
The children that managed to complete the tests were invited to Osaka to take part in a two-day event across three age groups. Those that were successful in battle on the second day were awarded Ken Sugimori’s University Magikarp.
There are currently 87 copies of University Magikarp certified with PSA and only 14 PSA 10s in existence. According to a post by SMPratte on Elite Fourum, he spoke with one of the competitors at the 2014 Pokemon World Championships in Washington who confirmed that 1000 copies were awarded during the event. You can see images of the official intended distribution numbers by heading to the post here. In the promotional image, we can see the varying artwork from the released Unikarp and the printed image. In the printed image, Celadon University sits in the background as Magikarp splashes in the water, this artwork was never released with the actual Unikarp removing all background opting for a blue motion blur instead.
The card itself showcases a Magikarp as it springs into battle from a Pokeball, an incredibly nostalgic image for fans of the Pokemon anime. Ken Sugimori, the primary character designer and art director of Pokemon is one of the most well-known figures across the Pokemon world and this representation of Magikarp is one of the best examples of his original work.
For fans of the artwork looking for a more affordable option, the Ken Sugimori University Magikarp artwork was reprinted in 2001 as part of the Japanese Pokemon Web expansion. These cards are readily available online and nowhere near as expensive as the University Magikarp with copies starting at around $300.
Just last week a PSA 9 sold on eBay for $24,000 (best offer accepted). In a PSA 10, University Magikarp sold for $66,000 in February 2021 and $50,100 back in October of last year. Now we have a record PSA 9 sale to add to the list!
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief
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