Kiwis capitalise on the pandemic Pokémon boom

From Nine To Noon, 9:42 am on 14 July 2021

There's been a global resurgence of interest in trading Pokémon cards during the pandemic, and it seems New Zealand isn't immune.

Figures from Trade Me show there were over 300,000 searches for Pokémon in June, with trading in the cards up 309 percent on the same month last year.

The most expensive Pokémon item sold over the past year on Trade Me was a Legendary Collection PSA 9 complete Holo set, which sold for $9750.

But even that pales in comparison to the new record high set in February for a box of first edition cards in the United States: US$408,000. 

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Photo: Thimo Pedersen, UnSplash

The resurgence seems to be connected to the times we live in Trade Me's Millie Silvester, told Kathryn Ryan.

“I think we can put that down to lock down, we were spending a lot of time in our homes, we were probably cleaning out drawers and cupboards and coming across some of these childhood toys and collector's items along the way.

“And what we've seen on site has been this sort of resurgence of nostalgia, and particularly in Pokémon cards, people just cannot get enough of them.”

The interest is in anything Pokémon-related, she says.

“We're seeing sales increase, but we're also seeing listings increase. Compared with June last year, last month, we saw a 289 percent increase in the number of cards listed for sale on Trade Me.

“So not only are people buying but there are people out there who have come across them and are listing them on site and they're making some really good money off it too.”

Five years ago a Pokémon card sold for about $18, now they are fetching $26, she says.

A complete set recently went for $9,750, she says.

 The Pokémon Club New Zealand on Facebook is also seeing a surge of interest.

Amynot helps run the club and has been collecting since he was five.

“I'm 31 now and I've been collecting for a very, very long time.”

He says he sold a base set of cards on Facebook this year for $12,000

“I'm a collector, so I collect these kind of art pieces and then I usually just hold I don't sell them. But you know on a rainy day if you need anything you can sell them off online - preferably eBay or Trade Me.

“But if it's a graded card you want to sell it overseas, because that's where all the big bucks are.”

It’s being driven by nostalgia, he says.

“When people see Pokémon, it's just telling memories and even now like my children look at Pokémon today, we watch Pokémon cartoons on the TV and they want to collect cards and also figures and toys as well.”