Lost Pokemon card finally resurfaces after 23 years & sells for $130k

Ash Ketchum from Pokemn anime next to rare Pokemon Card screenshot.The Pokemon Company / YouTube: smpratte

A YouTuber showed off a previously thought to be lost Pokemon card so rare that it hadn’t been seen in real life for 23 years.

To celebrate the launch of the photography game Pokemon Snap in 1999, Japanese magazine CoroCoro held a competition for budding photographers. Five people with the best shots would receive 20 custom cards with their winning entry printed on them.

There were five cards made, with an additional five added from a separate competition held by a TV show. Gyarados, Pikachu, Poliwag, Bulbasaur, Magikarp, Squirtle, Koffing, Chansey, Articuno, and Charmander were all turned into TCG collectibles.

Despite only 20 of each card being printed, only one had never made it onto the market: Magikarp. The elusive fish almost never surfaced, leaving many to assume it was gone forever. But that ended up not being the case.

Rare Pokemon Snap Pokemon cards screenshot.Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
A rare Pokemon card resurfaced after years of being “lost.”

Lost Pokemon card resurfaces

YouTuber ‘smpratte’ uploaded a video titled “The Only Known Snap Magikarp – $136,000 Pokemon Card” on March 14, 2022, where collectors got their first real-life glimpse of the card that had previously only been seen printed in the magazine.

He explained that the collectible, which features a snapshot of Magikarp jumping in Pokemon Snap, had appeared on Yahoo! Auctions in Japan, selling for ¥5 million ($136,000) in January 2022.

The buyer mailed the card to grading company PSA for encapsulation and protection and was then kind enough to send it to smpratte to show off the insanely rare 1999 promo in his upload. It is the only known graded copy in existence.

corocoro best photo magikarp pokemon cardYouTube: smpratte
The Magikarp is insanely rare.

“I’m going to attempt to try and capture how rare this is,” the YouTuber said, holding up the card. “I’ve owned Illustrators, ’97 Pikachus, ’98 Pikachus, Trophy Kangaskhans, you name it, I either have it or have sold it. This is the first time I’ve ever held a Snap Magikarp. It just cannot be overstated how insanely elusive this card is.”

“This is always the [card] that eluded everybody. Everybody for the longest time didn’t even know if it was real,” he continued. “I remember hearing about a sale, like, in the early 2000s, someone that doesn’t exist anymore, they had about seven or eight of these that they sold but they never named the Magikarp as one of the Snap cards that they sold back then.”

While other cards in the same set have been seen before, they’re also still very rare. A Poliwag, graded as a Beckett 8.5, sold for $34,000 in February 2022, with YouTuber maxmoefoePokemon owning a Gyarados’ now worth $50,000.

When Pokemon Snap was released in 1999, no one could have guessed that the pictures they took in the Nintendo 64 title would one day lead to collectibles being worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The sky is the limit for what these could eventually be worth and it will be interesting to see if more ever resurface.