This year marked a big year for collectors such as myself; we sold our Charizard cards. This was not an easy decision as they had been part of my personal Pokémon collection for over 20 years. As a moderately young collector, for an item to be in my possession for 20 years is a big deal, just as it would be for most others. So, why did I sell my Charizards? Why did so many others sell theirs? Why was the demand so high? These were some of the questions I contemplated before deciding to sell all of my Charizards. The following was my rationale that may help others who are experiencing a similar dilemma.
Rapper Logic’s $220,000.00 Purchase
Not all Charizards are the same. Although the first Base Set Pokemon cards yielded “first-edition” cards, the true first printings have shadowless borders. Not only are shadowless border cards worth more than the shadowed borders, but they are also rarer. This drives their value. This is why a shadowless and holographic Charizard card is one of the most expensive Pokémon cards in existence. Previously selling for around $100,000.00, that record was shattered in early October of 2020 by famous rapper Logic. Logic shattered the previous record of a shadowless holographic Charizard by more than doubling it. Despite being a huge record sale, in December of 2020 that record was broken again by over $50,000.00.
YouTuber Leonhart’s $55,000.00 Pack Opening
In May of 2020, YouTuber Leonhart had an amazing pack opening video of first-edition base set booster packs. These packs have an average value of $5,000-$7,000 unopened and do not promise the opener will recoup that cost with any of the cards inside of them. However, one of the most valuable cards is the first-edition holographic Charizard, which Leonhart pulled in his video. Naturally, he showed immense happiness and exuberance at the find.
One thing that sets Leonhart apart from many YouTubers of any content is his infectious positivity and enthusiasm, which is readily obvious in all of his videos, especially when he pulled this Charizard. Audiences love seeing good things happen to good people and Leonhart’s video went viral, spreading his love and joy of Pokémon to others. Unfortunately, in June of 2020, Leonhart made a video explaining the Charizard has been lost in transit by USPS but was recovered several months later in October. A wild ending to an immensely popular video.
COVID-19 and Lockdown Nostalgia
One of the good effects, if any, of the COVID-19 lockdown was that it brought a lot of old or retired collectors back into the game. It also brought a lot of new people who perhaps were waiting for an opportunity to begin collecting trading cards, comic books, video games or any number of hobbies. The boredom and isolation of the lockdown increased people’s longing for their childhood entertainment. This is because much of adult entertainment, such as bars and nightclubs, was no longer available. Extra time at home and extra cash to have fun with drove a lot of people back into collecting Pokémon cards. Whether these collectors will last into 2021, we shall see. Still, COVID-19 does not appear to be leaving anytime soon. Thus, the nostalgia will likely continue. With the holidays, it was a perfect storm for Pokémon.
After seeing these news stories spread and my own personal nostalgia increase like others, I knew that 2020 was the year of the Charizard, which meant to SELL. For many, Charizard is their most beloved Pokémon and easily a fan favorite. Though I could have fallen into that camp 20 years ago, sometimes collector’s tastes and preferences change over time. Though most of the fun in nostalgia is in purchasing Pokémon cards, I got a similar feeling in passing my Charizards to a new collector who would love and cherish it more than I presently would. It’s rare that this type of perfect storm occurs for any collecting hobby or character. However, Charizard was in the news often enough that it sparked many people’s collecting interest and has been very healthy for the market. Will it last into 2021? I believe it most likely will.
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