Author: Brent Gourley
Date Submitted: 10/8/2015 @ 5:50 PM EST

Pokemon Cards: Are They A

Good Investment?

If you are reading this, then chances are you either have or plan on buying Pokemon cards, but wonder if they will be worth something some day. You have been reading so many mixed messages with people saying Pokemon is losing popularity or your old Pokemon cards will be worth a fortune in 30 years. These articles usually tell you what the author thinks, but fails to explain all the possibilities. In this article, I will go over many possible outcomes for your investment. Now you may be saying, hey, the author is a card dealer, so of course he will want us to think Pokemon cards are going to go up in value. Actually, my short answer will be I don't know if the value will increase, but I can tell you what has happened and what might happen.

Everyone from the 90's should remember the base set booster packs that you could get at the store for what would amount to about $4-5 in current US dollars. Now those same packs would run you $30-45 per pack if you can find them. However, the value doesn't come from the cards inside, but the rarity of finding a sealed pack. If you open those packs, many of the common and uncommon cards sell for $0.25 – 1.00 and the rares sell for $1 and up. Typically it would not be worth it to open an old pack unless you find grade 8 or better holos like Charizard and get them graded. When I first opened up my shop February 1, 2013, a card like base set Wartortle was a $0.50, but now it is $1.25. In general, all the base set cards more than doubled in value in the almost 3 years I have been in business, but does that mean the value will continue to rise?

A big mistake people make is that it will only go up in value, but that is not always true. Just look at 90's baseball cards, Beanie Babies, Avon bottles, and many Hummels to name a few. Markets can die over night and without warning, so if you do want to invest, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. There are still buyers for items that lost their popularity, but the prices are significantly lower. Pokemon is nearing its 20th Anniversary, so we know Pokemon isn't just a fad, but even the biggest of things can end swiftly. Does that mean Pokemon could be completely worthless in 20 years?

Even if Pokemon closed up shop, that wouldn't mean the value of your cards would go down. What will ultimately determine if your cards will be worth more money is how it will end. Will they go out in a blaze of glory with fans still wanting more or will they go out because the fans had enough? If Pokemon ends with fans wanting more, the value could go up more and more as time goes by. When a Pokemon fan turns 25, 50, or 75 and sees Pokemon cards from their childhood, they may buy them out of nostalgia. You can see people at flea markets, pawn shops, and Antique stores all the time buying their old toys. However, far fewer people will buy Pokemon if their last memory of it was anger because the franchise ended with outrage.

One other factor must be noted and that is how many cards are in circulation. If you have everyone selling their old collection and fewer people buying, the value won't go up very much. Specific cards might be worth a significant amount, but common cards might not have any change in value relative to inflation. Right now, for example, everyone seems to be selling grandmas vintage meat grinders for as low as $2. They are everywhere suddenly, so now what used to cost $30-50 is selling for as low as $2. There is good news, however. Pokemon cards being made out of paper makes them easily damaged, so most of the Pokemon cards will probably be heavily damaged in 20 years.

Now the better question would be is it worth it? If you enjoy having them, then it is worth it no matter what happens to the value of your cards. However, if you want them as an investment, let's say you have $5000 in cards and they go up to $10,000 in 20 years. You just made $5,000 or x2 your money in 20 years. That sounds great, but with 20 years worth of inflation, prices could be over 200% higher, so instead of doubling your money, you broke even and had to store and move those cards for 20 years just to break even. Now what if Pokemon cards go up significantly in 20 years and not just up with inflation. Let's say your $5000 collection becomes worth $50,000. Factoring in inflation, you just got 500% return on investment. You still couldn't retire on just that, but you could take a vacation to celebrate retirement on that and it would have been well worth the trouble of storing those cards. It will be up to you to decide if storing all those cards is worth it, but remember you also have to protect your investment from harm.

Whether Pokemon cards will go up or down in price cannot be determined, but it is my opinion that as long as The Pokemon Company does nothing to harm its franchise, the value could potentially increase. With probably billions of Pokemon cards having been printed, the market could be flooded, so it might be those ultra rares that really go up in value, but after several years, many of those cards could be destroyed by anything from fire, mishandling, going through the washer, being thrown away, an so on. Most likely, only the ultra rares are worth holding onto for long term investments, but if you love Pokemon and love owning the cards, whether the price goes up a little or a lot, it will be worth holding onto. For those who sell their cards because they feel they out grew Pokemon, it is very likely that you will want to buy them all again out of nostalgia when you are older. As for me, I have my personal collection that is mine forever and my inventory which is for sale now. However, in 20 years, I could see me buying that PSA 10 Charizard that I always wanted, but didn't have the money.


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