Charizard Mega-Prices Continue to Lure Collectors

The huge powerful lizard still dominates Pokémon. Pikachu might be the most recognizable of the franchise, but Charizard is known for being the most valuable card for players to collect. Parents interrogate their 30 something year old child for whatever happened to the Pokémon card set they had in 1999 because of the sales this Pokémon produces.

A 1st Edition Charizard shadowless holographic card graded PSA 10 (Gem Mint) on Friday October 9, 2021 for a 1999 Pokémon base set record of $220,574.40 (please see note below on ‘record’ price). According to a PSA post, former rapper Logic this was the winner and they show that this was highest price ever paid (again, see below) for a Charizard card. PSA also noted in its post that this card last sold in December 2019 for $36,110.54 in an eBay auction.

Iconic Auctions had a minimum bid of $40,000.00 and the total number of bids was 17 before the virtual gavel came down. Here is the description by Iconic Auctions:

“The most coveted of all of those cards, without a doubt, is featured in this offering – the 1999 1st Edition Shadowless holographic Charizard #4 card graded GEM MINT 10 by the card experts at PSA. This is the Holy Grail of Pokémon cards, the most iconic and important card to both the Pokémon franchise and its die hard fans. Indeed, this card can be compared to the T206 Wagner for baseball and 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan for basketball. It has attained a similar iconic status as far as Pokémon go, setting the stage for modern investment in todays lucrative modern card market. It’s known even by those who couldn’t otherwise tell you the difference between a Pikachu and a Raichu. The card is very difficult to attain in such pristine condition, and demand for a GEM MINT 10 example of the card continues to grow almost daily. Don’t miss your chance to own this rare fiery Pokémon – a must-have in your collection if you truly wish to “catch ’em all”!”

PSA said what it said (above)about a record but Heritage Auctions sold a near identical 1999 1st edition PSA 10 on January 14, 2021 for $300,000.00 after including buyers premium. According to Heritage Auctions, they had estimated this PSA 10 example to exceed $350,000.00. Here’s how Heritage introduced the card:

“Pokémon Charizard #4 First Edition Base Set Rare Hologram Trading Card (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) PSA GEM MT 10. Calling all Pokémon trainers! This is the card that you have all been waiting for. The card that will instantly become the centerpiece of your collection! Offered here is arguably the hottest card in the entire hobby, a 1st edition Base Set Charizard, and it’s graded a PSA GEM MT 10. Yes, you read it right GEM MT 10!”

Which is a record is up to others to decide because of card variations and other factors.

Since the sale on Friday October 9, 2021 there have been some other recent eBay sales and conditions of the 1999 card with no comparable 1st edition examples found. Unfortunately, that make for what not be an apples-to-apples comparison. These are three sales worth noting, more for a relative reference of how important Logic’s high-end purchase was:

  • BGS 8.5 Charizard 1999 Pokémon sold for $755.68 on October 13, 2021 after 33 bids.
  • PSA 4 Charizard 1999 Pokémon sold for $115.50 on October 12, 2021 after 6 bids.
  • PSA 10 Charizard 1999 Pokémon sold for $12,000.00 on October 12, 2021 after 50 bids.

Collectors Dashboard evaluates collectibles as an alternative asset class. The same capital that could have been invested into stocks or bonds is being used to buy high-end collectibles. True Pokemon and other collectors have a passion to own certain cards or memorabilia for quite a long time. The investor class in collectibles is solely buying an asset to sell at a later date for a profit. This keeps collectors and investors in a constant battle for who can win in auctions.

Whether this particular Charizard card was purchased for a personal collection or future profit may not matter. After all, spending over $200,000 (or $300,000) is much larger than a typical stock or bond purchase.

According to PSA, the population of a first edition holographic with a PSA 10 is just 122 graded examples. Here is Heritage Auctions most recent 1999 1st edition PSA 10 sale: Pokémon Charizard #4 First Edition Base Set Trading Card PSA GEM MT 10 sold for $264,000.00 including buyers premium after 64 bids on July 24, 2021.

Whether this is a record or not may not matter. What matters is that Charizard is still commanding incredibly high prices for perfect PSA 10 grades in auctions.