How do you describe your collection?
I collect Pokémon Cards! The majority of my collection would be classified as “vintage”, consisting of cards from 1999 to 2003. That is when Wizards of the Coast printed the cards and they have significant nostalgic value because they are the first-ever printed sets.
The most sought-after cards in my collection are from Base Set but I also have hundreds of First Edition cards from Jungle, Fossil, Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, and Gym Challenge sets, too. I also enjoy picking up “chase cards” from the modern era. Although not as rare or valuable, the artwork is creative and vibrant. Plus, it’s fun to open the packs with my kids, who are almost as obsessed as me!
It’s worth noting that a lot of my cards are also “graded”, which means they have been professionally scored by grading services — such as PSA or Beckett — on a scale of 1 to 10 based on their condition. The higher the score, the more valuable the card.
When and why did you start your collection?
Like many kids in the late ‘90s, I loved collecting Pokémon cards but never kept my collection. Instead, it was the global phenomenon of Pokémon GO that piqued my interest in the franchise once more.
I started to pick up cards on eBay that I once loved as a kid. It was incredibly nostalgic holding these old artworks again. From that point, I was hooked. I began filling binders with cards and made it my mission to complete all the early sets. When that was achieved, I began to buy sealed vintage boxes, and to this day my main goal is to open up every Wizards of the Coast era box again.
How do you display and store your collection?
I’m lucky to have quite a large storage cupboard in my home office.
The majority of my valuable cards remain locked away in combination safes. However, there are showpieces that I like to appreciate every day. For example, I have a wall display containing all First Edition Holographic cards from the 2000 Team Rocket set. Each card has been graded either a PSA 9 or 10. I also created a giant wall display for my son’s room containing all cards from Base Set, Jungle, and Fossil!
Perhaps my most enjoyable display is the background I use for my YouTube videos. This contains a combination of sealed boxes, graded cards, old school Pokémon video games, and wall art. It makes an interesting backdrop!
What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of your collection?
My most valuable graded card is a PSA 9 Shadowless Charizard, and in a close second is a PSA 10 First Edition Base Set Red Cheeks Pikachu. For Pokémon card enthusiasts, these are some of the most sought-after pieces in the hobby.
To this day I’m still chasing a First Edition Base Set Charizard, as prices went stratospheric this past year!
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a Pokémon card collection?
I was very lucky to have picked up vintage Pokémon cards and sealed boxes of cards before prices went to the moon. For any new collector looking to build their collection in a cost-efficient manner, I believe the trick is to buy ungraded cards that have the potential to achieve a high grade. This involves careful inspection of photos, especially when buying from eBay sellers, but it’s a solid way to acquire sought-after cards and then add value yourself by having the cards graded.
Adding value to a collection can also be achieved by buying sealed Pokémon products like theme decks and collection boxes — but beware of single booster packs, as they are likely to have been weighed. Packs containing holographic cards are heavier, therefore so are the boosters that contain them. Sellers will weigh them, and only sell the ‘light’ and less valuable ones. I implore any new collector not to get stung!
There are some wonderfully designed modern cards that are very enjoyable to open and still can be worth a lot of money if luck is on your side. Collect what you love and enjoy this awesome hobby like it’s 1999 all over again!
Continue learning about Pokémon card collecting with Clive on the Card Collector website. Be sure to check out his 1999 Base Set Pokémon Cards: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
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