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  • Writer's pictureWill Holtz

A rare 1st Edition Charizard Pokémon Card: selling my prized possession

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

While I thought selling my long-held memento would be the end of a bittersweet time in my life, little did I realize it was just the beginning.

Nostalgia. It’s a strong motivator. And while growing up in the 2000s nothing had been more iconic as collector items as Pokémon cards (maybe outside Beanie Babies, but we can come back to those).

I can vividly remember opening pack upon pack, driving to strip malls and game shops, really anywhere that I could get my hands on these cards. Looking back, I’m shocked my parents even let me indulge in this unhealthy habit — I mean these are cardboard pieces of paper, right?

For those who were collectors in the past, there’s one card that has always stood out from the rest —  the elusive 1st Edition Holographic Charizard. I went out of my way to find one when I was younger— and entombed the card in a glass case to one day resurface.

Given a pending parent move, that day came. The first step was to get the card “graded” by a authentication agency. PSA and Beckett are the most common, but I went with PSA after looking at historical prices (with PSA getting the edge). The top rated (out of 10) were fetching a few thousand dollars in value. Not bad!

BEFORE: My prized possession — which I needed to take out of its glass case to send

As my brother-in-law can attest — sending out a potentially valuable card in the mail and also having to remove the card from its shell is a nerve wracking process. But after shipping it out in July 2020, we patiently waited for the results as PSA warned of delays due to COVID and unprecedented demand.

About 60 days later (after picking the most express option), we had a verdict: a 9 — basically perfect. While I had not even set up an account on eBay prior to this card, I decided to list it anyway.

Bystanders thought I was crazy, how could I possibly expect anything with ZERO seller history?

AFTER: A 9! Almost perfect.

I also noticed two sellers with rich sales histories that listed the same card for around $15,000 so I followed suit not thinking much would happen.

But things did happen.

I began getting a few thousand dollar offers, which kept on coming and coming. Then one of the other cards sold and the offers accelerated even higher.

The other listed card boosted their price to $25,000. I responded by raising to the same — why not?

After the offers climbed and I politely continued to reject them, I could hear my fiancé whisper, okay yell, in my ear what are you waiting for!?

And then suddenly a buyer messaged — just give me your counteroffer and I raised to a price not yet seen for this card. My heart dropped, he immediately accepted.

It still doesn’t get old when I ask friends to name the price they think the card sold for (before giving all these other pricing details). $50? $300? No, it can’t be more than $1000?

More like $20,500 — at the time the HIGHEST sale price for a graded 9 1st Edition Holographic Charizard Pokémon Card!

The highest sale of a PSA 9 of “all time” !

But the road didn’t stop here. First off — the buyer, who I would soon learn is an avid collector and card flipper — was suspect that the card was even real given my aforementioned seller rating.

“Dude, you have to be fake.” he said. “No one starts off selling the prized Zard.”

Oh yea, Zard is the accepted lingo in this collectors world. A world that I would soon realize was much larger than I could have ever imagined.

We went back and forth with videos, pictures, everything to provide proof and shipped off the card overnight with insurance. Two days later — the money was sent in eBay’s form of escrow and the sale was complete!

But my glory was short-lived. Once my card sold — a frenzy kicked off.

The price skyrocketed right after my “all time high” sale — this is only for the PSA 9 Charizard

In a matter of less than 2 months, the price of the same exact card more than doubled. I won’t go too deep into this part since I had no clue things would turn out this way. And now I realize why.

The market itself is corned. There’s only a few sellers with a bulk of the inventory, and they have effectively raised the prices like an old fashioned game of monopoly.

And it’s not just the Charizard 1st Edition that’s fetching these prices. I know because my brother-in-law and I have gotten smarter — understanding which types of cards people are looking for and uncovering basements full of cardboard that is now worth their storage weight. Are they 1st edition, from the base set, shadowless, error cards, Japanese or English? Plenty of little nuisances that can determine value from no value.


While its unclear how long the Pokémon and general collectors craze continues, the headlines and charts are mind-boggling:

  • Charizard PSA 10 Sells for $220,574 to Former Rapper Logic

  • Pokemon: Logan Paul Buys $2m worth of Pokemon cards

  • Complete first-edition PSA10 Pokemon card set could sell for over $700k

Getting your hands on a PSA 10 is a small fortune.

If you haven’t already rushed to phone to ask your parents whether they trashed these cards ages ago, what are you waiting for?

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