While you probably stopped searching for a holographic Charizard card years ago, others haven’t given up on their Pokémon Trading Card collections, as is the case for a woman who appeared on Antiques Roadshow armed with a complete set of Pokémon cards ready for appraisal.
As the owner tells it, her mother purchased the entire set for her online in the late 1990s for around $35. “My mom thought I was being taken advantage of in trades, so she bought me this complete set to save until I got older,” she explained.
Appraiser Travis Landry said that what she’s in possession of is the original base set of 102 cards in near-mint condition. He also told her that the cards were printed in two variations: some with a shadow border framing the card art, and some without. The cards without the border, or “shadowless” cards, have their print dates printed twice on the cards. This difference means that, for example, a shadowless Mewtwo card can fetch up to $800 more than its shadow-bordered counterpart.
Using her holographic Charizard card as an example, Landry explained how volatile the Pokémon Trading Card market can be: Her shadowless Charizard is currently worth between $2,000 to $3,000, while last year it would have been worth $5,000 to $8,000 and as much as $15,000 during the height of the pandemic when Pokémon card trading reached a fever pitch. Overall, Landry estimated that her collection could net anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.
Some fans aren’t convinced, however. One Kotaku commenter, who says they run a gaming and collectibles store and goes by “Board Games R Us” on the site, argued that the value of the Mewtwo card was over-inflated; near-mint shadowless Mewtwo cards are available on eBay for around $100, or much less than the $800-$1,200 figure cited by Landry. Indeed, just this month a shadowless Mewtwo card in good condition sold for $69.97, although a near-mint unlimited holofoil card also recently sold for $195 on TCGPlayer, which lists the first edition holofoil cards as being worth $599.99 market price.
Board Games R Us added that they often turn people with Pokémon card binders away because they can’t pay “anything close to what they’re worth,” pointing out that the majority of Pokémon cards, particularly those in the base set, aren’t particularly rare.
So if you're deciding whether to hawk your own Pokémon trading cards, it might be best to wait for another global crisis because as it stands the market for holographic Charizards isn't what it used to be.