DALLAS – A Pokemon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) drew 115 bids before it sold for $384,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Trading Card Games Auction to $3,473,102 in total sales July 24-25. The event was the first of its kind, and exceeded pre-auction expectations, with perfect sell-through rates of 100% by value and by lots sold, and with 1,445 bidders from around the globe.
“We are thrilled with the results of this auction,” Heritage Auctions Trading Card Games Consignment Director Jesus Garcia said. “The popularity and demand for these items dictated a standalone auction, and it more than lived up to the hype. There was more bidding in this auction than in any other, and we welcomed a lot of new bidders at this event.”
The result for the top lot was the second-highest price ever for a Pokemon lot, trailing only the Pokemon First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) that Heritage sold in January 2021 for $408,000. It marked the 12th time a Pokemon lot has reached six figures in a Heritage auction, and the sixth Pokemon lot to bring $300,000 or more.
Released on January 9, 1999 by Wizards of the Coast, the Base Set included 102 cards, including the widely popular Charizard. At the time of its release the Pokemon trading card game became an instant hit. Finding a booster box such as 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.
A Pokemon Charizard #4 First Edition Base Set trading card (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) PSA GEM MT 10 drew 65 bids before finishing at $264,000. Arguably the hottest card in the hobby, this spectacular example, from the Sperpy Woodsay Collection, is graded a PSA GEM MT 10, one of just 122 to earn a GEM MINT grade from PSA. The artwork is by Mitsuhiro Arita.
One of the extraordinary lots in the auction was a Pokemon Blastoise #009/165R test print “Gold Border” foil (Wizards of the Coast, 1998) CGC Ex/NM+ 6.5, the historic significance of which can not be overstated: this card, one of the first attempts by Wizards of the Coast to bring the Pokemon Trading Card Game to the English market, sold for $216,000. This example is one of three Pokemon Test Print cards that CGC certified in December of 2020, featuring one of the most popular Pokemon in the entire series. Part of what makes this card unique is the fact that it features a Magic: The Gathering back, and artwork by Ken Sugimori that was used for the cover of Pokemon Blue.
“This card is an absolute rarity,” Garcia said. “There are just three other cards like it that have been certified, making this an exceptional centerpiece to any collection.”
The flurry of competitive bidding continued for a Magic: The Gathering Unlimited Starter Deck sealed box (Wizards of the Coast, 1993) before doubling its pre-auction estimate at $150,000. Starter decks were made to open for immediate play, making this sealed copy for the serious collectors who piled up 43 bids before it found a new home.
A fifth lot earned a six-figure result when a Pokemon Unlimited Base Set Booster Box Distributors Case (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) prompted 47 bids before closing at $105,000. The case, from the Matteson’s Cards and Collectibles Store Collection, contains six sealed booster boxes, each of which contains 36 booster packs of 11 cards; since they never have been handled, it is likely they all are in GEM MINT condition.
The sale also included a selection from the collection of Bart “Rad Dad” Kiser, who earned the moniker from his long career as a radiologist. He connected with his kids through the colorful cards depicting the so-called pocket monsters and gave part of his massive card game collection to his children Christmas morning 1999.
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