Why should I invest in Pokémon cards? I’m an adult, and while I always enjoyed watching my friends comparing their collections with one another, it was always something I felt like I’d missed my chance at. Pokémon collectors have been collecting since they were children, everyone knows that. Now, as Pokémon turns 25, is there any point in starting a collection? You betcha, there is.
Happy birthday, Pokémon! As the collecting phenomenon turns 25 years old, I started thinking about beginning a collection. But is it too late to start? The answer is a decided NO. It’s not too late, and now could be the best time to get going!
Not loaded? That’s ok.
Sure, you might need to have a spare $100,000 laying around to grab a 1997 Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card to add to your collection. However, you don’t need to be a millionaire to start your collection. You don’t even need to be a thousandaire. New Pokémon cards are released all the time! And they’re affordable!
The MSRP (manufacturers suggested retail price) of a booster pack is $4. Buying a box of 36 packs at MSRP would cost $144. While most local retailers (like Wal-Mart and Target) sell their booster packs for $4 each, you can find booster boxes for less than $99. At ten cards per pack, that’s 360 cards for a hundred dollars. As a collection goes, that sounds like a good way to get started. Of course, there’s no guarantee that one of those 360 cards will become valuable, but the odds are significantly more in your favor than when you started.
Even some of the vintage cards are still affordable. If you keep your eyes peeled on Amazon or eBay you can find vintage cards for less than you’d expect.
Never get bored!
So, exactly what kind of cards should I buy? It’s daunting, looking at how many different kinds and styles of cards are available. They are so many options for collectors (vintage cards, error cards, PSA graded cards, specific Pokémon, Japanese cards, booster packs, the list goes on! So what do I buy?
Firstly, don’t rush into anything. Do some research and determine your collecting goals. Then, research exactly how to accomplish those feats. There are several online forums with members more than glad to offer pointers to newbies.
By the end of 2020, there were approximately 126 sets that have been released since 1999. These sets can range from having a few dozen cards to literally hundreds. Combine that with 1st Edition variants, and sets in different languages, and there are thousands upon thousands of different cards you could collect.
Well, first of all, buy what makes you happy. If you’re in love with your Neo Genesis (Rare Holo) Steelix even though you know it’ll never be worth more than $30, then, by all means, buy all the Steelix’s you want. Now, if making money is what makes you happy, here are a few tips I’ve picked up.
It’s hard to find a reward without a bit of risk.
One of the most classic ways to invest in Pokémon has been buying sealed packs. The opportunity to pull a Charizard or rare card is enough to make people rip packs open to display or send cards in to get graded. Blister packs are the safest way to get un-weighed packs (packs can be weighed to determine if a hologram is or isn’t in it). There is still plenty of risk, but the possibility of pulling a top card makes the process much more fun.
Do your research. You can find individual cards, graded or raw, for affordable prices if you are patient and vigilant. Keep an eye out for private sellers and for auctions. Read reviews and make sure the seller is legit before dropping dollars. As long as you do your due diligence and take your time, you can create a collection with every good odd of being worth a chunk of change in the future. The two biggest value factors to consider about old cards are their rarity and condition. In terms of rarity, “base-set” cards are where the money is for most collectors, and these cards are the most traded ones in the hobby.
It’s a Global Phenomenon!
Sometimes, the place you live dictates how easy it will be to collect your hobby of choice. However, Pokémon is EVERYWHERE! Virtually any country you go to will have its own posse of Pokémon collectors. This also means that, in addition to the cards we see in our stores, there are also hundreds of versions in other languages and with slightly different designs (variants) from different countries.
Here in America, there are plenty of stores that carry these collectibles. You can find them at big box stores like Wal-Mart or Target. Most comic book stores have a section of Pokémon cards. Even some dollar or discount stores carry cards. Without needing a lot of luck, your opportunities to purchase cards are endless.
Know what your goals are. Are you thinking about collecting as an investment? Are you just feeling nostalgic? Is your goal to complete sets without worrying about the condition the cards are in? Your goal determines the best way to start collecting. No matter what you decide to do, educate yourself and strap on a big pack of patience. Good luck out there! Catch ’em all!
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