One of the first Pokémon cards produced in the English language, a rare hybrid of Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering cards, has sold at auction for $216,000.
The test print Blastoise card is just one of three Pokémon-Magic: The Gathering hybrid cards verified as genuine last year, representing one of a very small number of demonstration cards created by MTG maker Wizards of the Coast ahead of the card game’s full English-language release in 1999.
The Pokémon Blastoise #009/165R Test Print "Gold Border" Foil, to give the card its full name, is notable for featuring Ken Sugimori’s illustration of the water-type Pokémon used as the cover artwork for the series’ North American video game debut Pokémon Blue. The card features a foil - or holographic - front, with a unique gold border around its edge. On its reverse, it features the card back used for Magic: The Gathering cards - the result of having been printed on Magic: The Gathering card stock as a test run.
The Blastoise is one of three such hybrid cards discovered since 2016, joined by a fourth hybrid card with a black border unearthed as part of an uncut sheet of Magic: The Gathering cards kept by a former Wizards of the Coast employee. The three cards - along with a Blastoise presentation card printed with a blank card back - were confirmed to be real last December by grading company CGC, which detailed its incredibly in-depth authentication process in a fascinating blog post.
“The cards have long been the subject of intense debate, but two things are certain: They are authentic test prints made by WotC, and they are among the hobby’s most intriguing rarities,” CGC wrote, describing the hybrid cards as “extremely rare” and confirming they “were among the first attempts by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to create English Pokémon cards”.
The Blastoise hybrid card sold for $216,000 by auction house Heritage Auctions on July 24th was graded at Ex/NM+ 6.5, signifying its “Excellent/Near Mint” condition. Another of the three hybrid cards has also been graded at 6.5, while the third achieved a higher rating of Near Mint+ 7.5.
Earlier this year, one of two known blank-back Blastoise presentation cards, created by Wizards of the Coast to convince Nintendo execs to grant it the right to produce the card game in English, seemingly became the most expensive Pokémon card to be sold at auction after fetching $360,000 under the hammer.