A Pokémon Trading Card Game Pikachu made entirely from gold has recently been posted for auction by US company Goldin. This is the first time the commemorative card from 2016 has hit the auction circuit, giving fans with heavy purse strings a rare chance at a decidedly non-standard card.
The card in Lot #192 over at Goldin is rated EX 5 by collectibles grading company PSA. That normally means the item has “very minor rounding of corners” - likely not an issue when the card comprises 11 grammes of solid 24-karat gold. More likely is the presence of surface wear or scratches, though an EX 5 rating falls just below the near-mint and mint categories.
Beyond its strange composition, the card boasts the Pikachu art that accompanied the original Japanese release of the trading card game. This ‘Fat Pikachu’ design has fallen out of favour thanks to the ubiquity of the anime’s version of the electric mouse, but the chubby design by Atsuko Nishida remains popular among collectors and longtime fans.
The back of the card carries the Pocket Monsters Card Game logo that did not make it overseas and was created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon TCG in 2016. Japanese jeweller Ginza Tanaka was tapped to produce a limited number of the precious metal cards, which the public could snag by entering a lottery. If selected, the individual won the chance to purchase a card for 216,000 yen - roughly $2,081/£1,700 at the time. The steep purchase was housed in a special frame and box emblazoned with both companies’ logos and some commemorative text.
Surprisingly, the exorbitant collectible isn’t the first time Pocket Monster #25 has appeared in gold - kind of. The Pokémon Company teamed up with fast food chain Burger King to distribute gold-plated “cards” as a promotion for 2000’s Pokémon: The First Movie. Pikachu was one of six critters - alongside Mewtwo, Charizard, Jigglypuff, Poliwhirl and Togepi - to be stamped on a gold-plated brick that came packaged in an oversized Pokéball.
While those kid’s meal collectibles aren’t worth much today given the sheer number pushed out at the turn of the millennium, the Ginza Tanaka version will likely carry a hefty starting bid. One ebay listing from 2017 attempted to move one for $9,999.99 (£7,270) but doesn’t seem to have found any buyers. Goldin’s auction will likely have more luck, as the trading card fervour whipped up in 2020 by a combination of free time, pandemic depression and (sigh) Logan Paul shows little abatement.
In fact, the 20th anniversary gold Pikachu is one of the rarest Pokémon Trading Card Game pieces one could find, alongside cardboard legends such as the Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer and those First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizards that keep going for six figures.