I had a great childhood growing up. It wasn’t perfect, but the memories of riding my bike around the neighborhood with friends, playing mega man on super Nintendo, and playing Ocarina of Time on the N64 are enough to make me miss those days a lot. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to collect Pokemon Cards.
I have an extensive Pokemon card collection including many of the more sought-after cards such as Base Set Charizard (Shadowless and regular), Complete Shining Destiny Set, Complete Gold Star Set, and more… much more. I always felt a bit guilty spending thousands of dollars to shore up my collection a few years ago because I thought it was too expensive to be spending on nostalgic playing cards. However, during the pandemic the price of Pokemon cards reached meteoric heights.
To my surprise, my full collection is now worth about $40,000, maybe even more if I get them professionally graded. This makes absolutely no sense to me. I am very happy to see something I own go up in value in such a way; however, if I didn’t already have my collection, I certainly wouldn’t pursue purchasing these cards at these prices for nostalgia’s sake.
Oddly enough though, I am not quite content to sell my collection either. Is it worth $40,000 to me? What is the opportunity cost of not selling my collection? Over the course of the next 40 years, if I took that $40,000 and invested it an assumed 8% return, I would have approximately $868,000. That is a lot of money, but I really really enjoy having such a treasured piece of my childhood, and I suppose this is the urge that has driven prices up.
Another factor in driving prices up is undoubtedly stimulus checks from Congress. A lot of people received money that they had no expectations of receiving. Some of this money went into meme stocks (GME, AMC, etc), some of it went into savings, and some of it went into Pokemon cards.
Much like the great baseball card crash of the 90’s, I do think the Pokemon card market will cool off or even have a crash of sorts. However, the baseball card crash of the 90’s was a different market than today’s Pokemon card market. The Pokemon card market today is driven by nostalgia. For millennials such as myself, Pokemon cards represent better days. My generation has lived through two great bear markets, a pandemic, and much more. We don’t have the wealth of prior generations at our respective ages, and we likely never will as a whole. Therefore, our greatest treasures aren’t always money and assets, but tangible connections to our favorite days. This may just be the force that props up the Pokemon card market for a long time to come. We will see!
Here are some pictures of my collection! I love these cards!