A sealed booster box of first-edition Pokémon cards has sold for $384,000 at auction in the latest display of the trading card game’s exploding value.
The sealed first-edition Base Set booster box dates from the Pokémon TCG’s original English-language release by Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast in January 1999.
The booster box includes 36 booster packs, each with 11 cards inside, for a total of almost 400 cards. The original Base Set of Pokémon cards featured 102 unique cards based on the franchise’s first generation of Pokémon, including cards that now individually rank as some of the most valuable Pokémon cards in existence, such as the first-edition holographic Charizard.
While the booster box sold by Heritage Auctions on July 24th had some visible damage to the box itself - the auction house rated the box as “Very Good” condition, despite some wrinkling and “blunting” - it estimated that all of the cards within the booster packs would have remained in Gem Mint condition, the highest possible rating for collectible trading cards.
“To find a booster box like this one still sealed in its original shrink-wrap is no easy task due to the low print run, few have remained sealed and even fewer have come to market,” Heritage wrote in the booster box’s listing.
The $384,000 paid for the latest box doesn’t quite match the more than $400,000 paid for a similar sealed first-edition Base Set booster box in January. Both exceeded the record amount paid for another sealed Base Set booster box in November last year: $360,000. That sale marked the second time a world record had been set for the value of a sealed first-edition Pokémon TCG Base Set booster box in a matter of months, after a set sold for $198,000 in September 2020.
The booster box’s sale comes at a time when demand for Pokémon cards has led to worldwide shortages of recent sets, record-breaking sales of both individual cards and booster boxes, and unboxing videos of older sets have become the domain of notable YouTubers and celebrities alike.