Pikachu Illustrator Sells for Record $900,000, Now Most Expensive Pokemon Card Ever Sold!

The holy grail of Pokemon cards — a Pikachu Illustrator promo — sold last night for a record $900,000. Goldin Auctions brokered the bidding process. The first bid was placed at $75,000 and ultimately reached $900,000 after 34 bids. The card was graded as a PSA 7 “near mint.”

This purchase not only makes this the most expensive Pokemon card of all time, but also the most expensive Pokemon TCG transaction of all time.

This latest purchase demonstrates how the value of Pokemon cards has skyrocketed during the pandemic. It’s only a matter of time before a Pokemon card hits the $1 million mark.

In late 2019, a Pikachu Illustrator sold at a New York auction for $195,000. In 2020, a PSA 9 copy sold on a Japanese marketplace for $233,000. In December 2020, an Italian fan traded $900,000 of Charizard cards and Mitsuhiro Arita illustrations for one; this wasn’t a direct purchase, however.

In February 2021, a PSA 7 copy sold at auction for $375,000. During the same month, America DJ Steve Aoki purchased an ungraded one from Japan for $420,000. It later turned out to be a PSA 9.

While there are other cards in the Pokemon TCG that are technically rarer than this Pikachu card, such as the “No. 1” and “No. 2” Mewtwo cards, Pikachu usually fetches a higher price due to the unique artwork and the fact it’s Pikachu. It’s also illustrated by Atsuko Nishida, the creator of Pikachu.

The “Pikachu Illustrator” cards were originally awarded through three card illustrator contests in CoroCoro magazine in 1998. Winners received a copy of the promo plus their winning artwork on a promo card. It’s estimated a maximum of 39 copies of the cards were awarded. However, only 24 are still known to exist thanks to PSA grading.

Water Pokémon Master

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So, who sold it to who? What is the chain of ownership? How can we be sure it isn't just a "fluff sale" meant to inflate the prices of the cards that actually sell to collectors, so everyone in the system can make a quick buck?
I mean, it's 99% exactly that.
It would help if you read the news story and clicked the links rather than making wild conspiracy theory claims.
 

Yaginku

Aspiring Trainer
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It would help if you read the news story and clicked the links rather than making wild conspiracy theory claims.
There is one link to Goldin Auctions, where it appears all bids are anonymous. I don't see any information on who is the seller and who is the buyer. I've scanned the article three times now, I still don't see it, or any link that shows it.
If you believe price manipulation through highly-marketable sales is a "conspiracy theory", I'll direct you to a video by Karl Jobst on the recent spike in video game sales.
 

Omi

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I wonder if Pokémon considered printing this card in celebrations, because it's so sought after...
 

Water Pokémon Master

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There is one link to Goldin Auctions, where it appears all bids are anonymous. I don't see any information on who is the seller and who is the buyer. I've scanned the article three times now, I still don't see it, or any link that shows it.
If you believe price manipulation through highly-marketable sales is a "conspiracy theory", I'll direct you to a video by Karl Jobst on the recent spike in video game sales.
Goldin Auctions is a well-known auction house that has brokered many valuable Pokemon items. There's no conspiracy, the card was purchased for what you see. There's really nothing more to say.
 

Alolan Teddiursa

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I really wanted to say this a long time ago. I am not sure why whenever someone makes an expensive purchase a lot of people come and make mean statements. Here is the thing, there are rich people that love collecting expensive Pokemon cards and they have the freedom to do whatever they want with their money. If you can't afford them, it doesn't mean
(1): others cannot
(2) those people are stupid

Sorry if I sound hostile but that's not my intent.
 

Omi

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Celebrations already released and might be going out of print soon
No what I meant was, when Pokémon was planning the subset, I wonder if they were thinking about putting this card in the subset...

I guess its just too special and rare to mass reprint it
 

Snowy Lilacs

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I wonder if Pokémon considered printing this card in celebrations, because it's so sought after...
That would've been very cool to do, but I think since it was from a contest that is why they did not reprint it. But who knows what they'll do for the 50th Anniversary?
 
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TheRainmaker

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That would've been very cool to do, but I think since it was from a contest that is why they did not reprint it. But who knows what they'll do for the 50th Anniversary?
Please don't say 50th anniversary, I'll be in my mid 50's by then, assuming I'm still alive... besides I'm sure it's just as possible for the 30th anniversary celebration products.
 

PartTimeTCGCollector

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I really wanted to say this a long time ago. I am not sure why whenever someone makes an expensive purchase a lot of people come and make mean statements. Here is the thing, there are rich people that love collecting expensive Pokemon cards and they have the freedom to do whatever they want with their money. If you can't afford them, it doesn't mean
(1): others cannot
(2) those people are stupid

Sorry if I sound hostile but that's not my intent.
$900,000 for one card, does that sound logical? What is the rationale to spend $900,000 for that one card with an intrinsic properties that is no more than $1.00 of materials?
 

DragonRage

Rayquaza is pog
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First of all, this is PTCG history. 900 000 dollars is an incredible price, unrealistic to offer for a piece of cardboard, but as a mad collector I totally understand the thrill to look at that card and think "Hah. This baby's mine"... Actually, I'm just hoping it won't be sealed away in a dusty safe for the next 50 years, let the fans see it (from afar)

P.S.: And there I was thinking an XY Evolutions holo Charizard was overpriced
 

Ranger64

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I really wanted to say this a long time ago. I am not sure why whenever someone makes an expensive purchase a lot of people come and make mean statements. Here is the thing, there are rich people that love collecting expensive Pokemon cards and they have the freedom to do whatever they want with their money. If you can't afford them, it doesn't mean
(1): others cannot
(2) those people are stupid

Sorry if I sound hostile but that's not my intent.
I quite agree! As ridiculous as 900,000$ sounds, to someone as rich as, say, Jeff Bezos (an extreme example), 900,000$ is like the average person spending 900$. I think the only time to be angry is when it's someone who'll use their position to (even unintentionally) affect the market for the worse.
 

DMYSYS

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I am not disputing any of that. Again, watch the video I have recommended. It's like calling the stock market a "conspiracy".
You're absolutely right. And just because a 'reputable' auction-house is involved in this doesn't make it more credible. They have a vested interest in maintaining/expanding their business so just like card grading companies, they understand it's ideal for them to "create value" out of nowhere and if an auction sets a new record, it's not like they have to worry about due diligence to see if the price made sense or who the seller and buyer are and if they have a preexisting relationship or what, they just take their cut and that's it.