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Van Gogh Pikachu, Shining Mew and a whole load of Charizard Pokemon cards go under the hammer for Pokémon Day

eBay’s one-day auction shows collectors have eyes for only a few elite critters

Pokemon TCG cards up for auction during eBay's Catch 151 special event
Image credit: eBay

A one-day auction event hosted by massive e-commerce platform eBay touts a democratised approach to collecting rare and expensive Pokémon Trading Card Game cards. The aptly named “Pokémon Day” features graded cards from amongst the first generation of catchable critters, all available at a starting bid of $1.51 (a cute allusion to the 151 original Pokémon).

Pokémon Day’s Catch 151 event runs through the entirety of February 27th, so if you’re reading this you might only have a precious few hours to stake your claim on some high-valued cardboard. As I write this, dozens of the more sought-after singles have already reached four and five-figure sums. A PSA gem mint 10-graded Gold Star Charizard is currently the most expensive auction with a $10,500 bid. Not far behind is a PSA gem mint 10 Blaine’s Charizard from the 2000 Gym Challenge set, currently going for $3,150.

In fact, most of the biggest auctions are different printings of Charizard. That might not come as a surprise given the shadowless misprinting from the very first sets often form the crown jewel of a collection - or the centre of a necklace if you’re erstwhile boxer and YouTuber Logan Paul.

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It’s still interesting to see what else manages to puncture through the fire lizard-enforced barrier: the final forms of the other two starters, Blastoise and Venusaur, both garner a few thousand US dollars each, as does a Shining Mew card from a Corocoro comics magazine promotion. Mewtwo, the legendary bird trio of Zapdos, Moltres and Articuno make brief appearances alongside the ubiquitous mascot itself - Pikachu.

Snuck amongst the Base Set First Edition cards and late ‘90s promos is a much more recent and notorious entry: Pikachu with Grey Felt Hat. This card, doled out to patrons of the Van Gogh Museum’s special Pokémon exhibit collaboration, drew a frenzy of collectors, scalpers and speculators that quickly emptied the stock and forced an official apology from The Pokémon Company. A CGC-rated Pristine 10 copy of the painterly Pikachu is fetching just under $250 at time of writing.

Collecting elusive Pokémon cards exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic but hasn’t petered off as much as other lockdown activities have in the intervening years. Pulling, trading and chasing high-value cards has always existed in the TCG space, and Pokémon’s handlers clocked early that their fans wanted to see their favourite companions presented in gorgeous and detailed illustrations. This seems to be a driving factor behind the just announced Pokémon TCG Pocket mobile app, and it’ll continue to fuel auctions such as these in the future.

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