Rare sealed Pokémon card sets bought for £30 each 20 years ago are expected to sell for tens of thousands of pounds at auction.
The collection, which has an overall top estimate of £36,000, was discovered in a box under the stairs during a house move.
When the owner decided to look up what the cards might be worth, he was stunned. Two boxes of Pokémon cards, which he paid £30 each for in 1999-2000, are now set to go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire on July 23 with an estimate of around £12,000 EACH.
One is a sealed Pokémon Fossil first edition Booster Box released in 2000 containing 36 unopened packs, estimate £11,000-£12,000. The other is a 2001 sealed Pokémon Neo Discovery Unlimited Booster Box filled with 36 unopened packs, estimate £10,000-£12,000. Both sealed boxes, imported from America, are described by Hansons as extremely rare, particularly in the original sealed state.
Another discovery from under the stairs is a sealed 1999 Pokémon Fossil Unlimited Booster Box with 36 unopened card packs, estimate £8,500-£9,500. In addition, a complete set of 1998 Japanese Pokémon CD holographic promotion cards including Charizard, Blastoise, Venusaur, Snorlax and Porygon has an estimate of £2,000-£2,500.
The owner, an electrical contractor from Cambridgeshire, said: “It is bonkers, I know, but these are the kind of prices Pokémon cards are fetching now. I’d completely forgotten I had them. They were still in the box I put them in when we moved house 22 years ago.
“When I found them, I thought nothing of it really but then decided to check what sort of prices they were selling for. I was really surprised.
“From 1999 to 2000 I had a shop in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, selling Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies. It was a sideline, a hobby. My wife enjoyed running the shop and we used to travel to toy fairs around the country at the weekend.
“When Pokémon took off, I started to import cards from America. They were made for kids and bought by kids. Packs of 11 cards used to sell for £2.50 each. They can now sell for £500 or more.
“When the shop closed, I put some of the unsold cards to one side at home. Back then, I never imagined they would be worth thousands of pounds today. But there are a lot of serious collectors now and lockdown fuelled the hobby even more.
David Wilson-Turner, head of the Toy Department at Hansons, said: “It’s a spectacular find that we’re really excited to sell. Pokémon trading cards are massively popular to buy and collect and have been steadily rising in value for more than five years now.
“Wealthy young people in their 20s and 30s who got into Pokémon when they were children are buying rare cards and prices have spiked. For example, this summer a 26-year-old boxer and YouTuber called Logan Paul caught the media’s attention when he wore a rare first edition Base Set Charizard Pokémon card as a medallion round his neck as he entered the ring for an exhibition fight. He bought the card for $150,000 (£108,117).
“Prices could be fuelled even more this year because of Pokémon25, an ongoing celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise, which began with the original Japanese release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green for Game Boy on February 27, 1996.”
The Pokémon cards are due to be sold on July 23 in Hansons Auctioneers' July 22-23 Toy Auction at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS. Further auction entries are invited until July 9. To find out more, or to arrange a free valuation, email [email protected].
Follow the toy department on Twitter @HansonsToys