Can Investing In Pokemon Cards Help With Reaching Financial Independence?

For many of us who were children in the 1990’s, Pokemon was massive. We grew up experiencing the trading cards (as a boy, I was regularly trading the cards with my friends), the movies, and the games. Pokemon was everywhere.

Fast forward to current times, and Pokemon is as hot as ever, only many of us just recently rediscovered it! Immediately, I became nastolgic towards a hobby that I enjoyed a lot as a kid, and fortunately for me my parents kept the majority of my cards. I recently picked them up, looked through them, and wondered if I could sustainably generate wealth via Pokemon cards… so now it’s time to test it out.

My Plan For Investing In Pokemon Cards

I am familiar with the sports card market and common topics such as grading, grading vendors, and sealed product collectors. I have done some research on Pokemon, and my initial focus has been to build up a sealed product collection to let age.

Sealed product qualifications:

  • Had to be a past set
  • The market needed to have relative confidence that additional supply via printing was either done or on its last reprint
  • It had to be either a sealed booster box, sealed elite trainer box, sealed tin, or sealed booster pack

On the flip side, I wanted to understand the demand and specifically how that might affect an existing finite supply based on the above parameters. After studying social media (namely YouTube and Twitch), I realized people were opening vintage packs of things like the Pokemon Base Set, Pokemon Team Rocket, and Pokemon Neo Revelations… and that further cemented my plan.

I also know that sealed product allows for the best diversification and pivotability in terms of how to generate a return on investment. You can sell the sealed product, if you have a box or tin you can sell the packs, you can grade the packs, you can sell box and pack breaks, you can rip the packs ourself and sell graded or raw cards … the flexibility as of right now is a key attribute for me.

What Sealed Pokemon Products Did I Invest In?

  • Sealed Pokemon Base Set Booster Packs – I specifically sought out what are called “heavy” packs. Since I left the hobby as a child, people continued to become more sophisticated. One of the ways is a thing called weighing packs … which essentially says that heavier packs are more likely to contain a halographic rare card in the early sets. I have a hypothesis that the original set will always have attraction, and I suspect that people will pay a premium at their shot for a halographic Charizard (a heavy pack makes that shot seem more real)
  • Sealed Pokemon Neo Revelations Booster Packs – This is another WOTC era set that is considered vintage and out of print. This set has attractive cards.
  • Sealed Pokemon Platinum Booster Packs – Platinum is considered vintage and out of print.
  • Sealed Pokemon XY Evolutions Booster Box – Produced as part of the 20th anniversary expansion pack. It has nostalgic draw with reprints of the base set cards, at a more affordable price for sealed product. It was heavily printed and had a low print quality, meaning it’s quite difficult to grade in PSA. I am speculating that there will always be a desire for original sealed products.
  • Sealed Pokemon Shining Legends Elite Trainer Box – Shining Legends is a set that is out of print, and had a very sought after shiny vault.
  • Sealed Pokemon Burning Shadows Booster Box – Simple, it has a Chase Charizard in it.
  • Sealed Pokemon Hidden Fates Elite Trainer Box & Tins – This was a holiday set that was highly desirable. The products quickly within a year increased in value in multiples. A reprint was announced causing what I am speculating to be a temporary price decrease. I am also speculating that supply will be limited, and so we will see a rebound in price once the supply dries in un the next 1-2 quarters.
  • Sealed Special Delivery Pikachu – This was a USA only promotion for orders through PokemonCenter for a short period of time. I picked up a copy of this card still in the original plastic wrap that I am storing away.

UPDATE: I have continued to add to my Pokemon holdings since writing this post. I’ll be adding my buys and blended cost basis per unit in the below table.

UPDATE: I have sold some of the collection so far to take profit. In just a few short months, and all locally (so I avoided shipping and fees) — I’ve profited $691.50 on $1016 cost for the products I’ve sold so far.

UPDATE as on 6/27/2021: I had been tracking the Google trends related to search volume around cards. I saw it was declining faster tha prices were reacting and so I sold one of my Evolutions booster boxes for $900 locally. At this point, my profit is up to $1,468 and I still own quite a few of the purchases, some of which I am intending to hope for a long term rebound as scarcity increases.

ProductUnitsBlended Cost BasisMarket Price (1/22/2021)Unit % increase
Market Price 4/16/2021Sold PriceTotal Profit
PSA 9 1st Edition Feraligatr 4/111 Neo Genesis1$535.00$575.007.5%$700-
Hidden Fates Elite Trainer Box4$85.00$180.00112%$140$140.00 (3 units)
Still have 2 units
Shining Legends Elite Trainer Box2$157.5$310.0097%$340$340 (2 unit)$365
Pokemon XY Evolutions Booster Box2$415.00$800.0093%$880$900 (1 unit)$485
Neo Revelations Booster Pack, Suicune Art, Sealed1$292.00$320.009.6%$320-
1999 Base Set Sealed Short Crimp, Venusaur, Heavy pack1$635.00$900.0041.7%$700-
Special Delivery Pikachu SWSH074, Sealed1$67.99$290.00326.5%$205-
Walgreens Mystery Card Box, Sealed (by MJ Holdings1$65.99$120.0081.8%$160$175$109
Sun & Moon Tag Team GX All Stars Booster Box (Japanese)1$80.00$80.000%$180$180 (1 unit)$100
Sun & Moon Burning Shadows Booster Box2$325.00$400.0023%$430-
Platinum Booster Pack, Sealed1$25.00$60.00140%$65-
BattleStyles Booster Box1100$140$140$40
BattleStyles ETB247 for 2$105$105 (for both)$58
Shining Fates ETB2$50$70$70 (2 units)$40
Vivid Voltage Booster Box1$119$225$225$106

What’s My Plan?

Currently I plan to watch the market for these particular items and look at the sold price history over time on Ebay in particular. This was mostly an exercise in diversification, and to see if I could combine a old hobby with financial gains to continue our journey towards financial independence. Perhaps just like real estate, sealed rare Pokemon will see appreciation in the speculated high inflation environment that the media has been discussing.

For now, I will be holding the sealed product that I own for the mid to long term unless I start to see the market as a whole go beyond what I believe to be a correction. I am interested in attempting to invest in raw & psa cards for a fast cash flow generation, but do not have the time for that currently.

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