Pokemon Pikachu Illustrator card auctions for $55,000
The world's rarest Pokemon card has sold for $54,970.
The Pikachu Illustrator – one of just 39 produced – sold at Heritage Auctions' Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction on Friday.
Experts are uncertain how many of the 39 have survived; authenticator PSA has certified just 10.
This example is the joint highest graded at PSA 9 Mint – the combination of rarity and superb condition proving irresistible to bidders.
"The lot has always been a five figure card," explains Heritage.
"The Pikachu Illustrator first sold in the early 2000s for around $23,000. No card has as many unique nuances, peaking (sic) the interest of anyone who discovers its rare existence."
The Pokemon card craze began in Japan in 1996, following the release of the hugely popular video game the same year. It quickly spread throughout the world, before enthusiasm dwindled in the noughties as the first collectors outgrew the hobby.
Now those first collectors are nostalgic, wage earning adults – with the means and the desire to own the best in Pokemon history.
The $54,970 figure is not a record for a Pokemon card. That accolade goes to another Pikachu Illustrator with a PSA 9 Mint grading that sold for $90,000 in 2014.
The recent Pokemon Go phenomenon – in which players use their smart phones to collect Pokemon – is expected to heighten interest in the first generation of products over the coming years.
And with a Hollywood film in development, more and more people around the world will be inspired to own Pokemon cards – great news if you have a Pikachu Illustrator at home.
Another Pokemon card to look out for is the first edition Charizard. A PSA 10-graded example made $11,999 in 2014.