Pokemon TCG hasn’t become a get rich quick scheme despite what fans think

Em Stonham
Gigantamax Meowth using Payday in Pokemon anime.

Investing in Pokemon cards has almost always been controversial. However, despite what some fans think, the Pokemon TCG has not become a get-rich-quick scene.

What do you think about people who hold onto Pokemon stock and rare cards in order to make a profit? Chances are that if you’re a Pokemon TCG fan, you’ve got an opinion on this topic one way or the other.

Investing in any sort of hobby or pastime can always drum up controversy, and the idea of “getting rich” with Pokemon cards is a particularly hot topic in the community.

Investing in Pokemon cards doesn’t guarantee getting rich

There are many collectors who feel that the Pokemon TCG is now a “get rich quick scheme”, mainly thanks to people who buy up large amounts of stock only to keep it sealed.

Examples of expensive Pokemon cards.
Examples of popular Pokemon cards that are often found at a premium.

The way that consumers interact with Pokemon cards has certainly changed in the last few years. More and more people got back into the hobby or picked it up for the first time during lockdown, and lots of people began experimenting with reselling and collecting for profit during this period, too.

There have supposedly been spikes in certain set prices that can be tied back to resellers. Popular chase cards from older sets like the infamous Moonbreon have likely had their price impacted by resellers and investors, which can be frustrating to see as a fan.

If you head to any Pokemon community like r/PokeInvesting or r/PokemonTCG, it’s common to see people getting into heated debates on this topic. This post is a perfect example – the original poster is describing their frustrations with the scene, saying it’s now “indistinguishable” from crypto.

It’s understandable why fans may feel angry or upset when seeing resellers pushing high prices or holding onto sealed boxes of cards that they’d love to unbox. Specific releases like the Grey Felt Hat Pikachu for the Van Gogh series were tanked by people trying to hoard stock.

Pikachu in Grey Felt Hat Van Gogh collab art
Grey Felt Hat Pikachu promo artwork.

But is it necessarily fair to slam the whole practice of reselling cards or investing as a get-rich-quick scheme? Arguably, no – there’s more to it than that.

A lot of the time, holding onto sealed stock doesn’t have a massive pay-off and resellers need to move a lot of stock in order to make a profit. It certainly is possible to make money off of Pokemon cards and this can have a knock-on effect on stock availability and prices, but it’s not happening nearly as much as you might think online.

Social media has had a negative impact on how Pokemon cards and the topic of money are viewed together. Pokemon card investors and people who hold onto stock for a long time can seem a lot worse, depending on which online neck of the woods you reside in.

A commenter in the Reddit post linked above made a great point, saying, “Before YouTubers would rip cards and just be excited, and now every pull the price of whatever card is pulled is thrown on the screen with a register sound.”

Social content like the YouTube videos described above encouraged a lot of people who don’t necessarily have an interest in Pokemon to get into investing in the cards. Celebrities like Logan Paul publicly getting their hands on pricey cards continued this trend, too.

Logan Paul reveals insane lengths he went to for $5 million Pokemon card
Logan Paul and the Pikachu Illustrator Pokemon card.

The frustration surrounding hoarding and unfair prices is absolutely valid, but it’s important to call out bad practices as they occur, instead of just dismissing the entire practice of investing in cards.

The writer of this article isn’t necessarily a fan of investing in cards, either, but there’s arguably not much harm in someone trying to hold onto a Pokemon Scarlet & Violet – 151 ETB in order to try and flip it in a few years.

The issue would arise from predatory pricing, not the act of holding stock. It is vital to acknowledge when resellers are listing for unfair prices and later pricing people out of cards that they want.

If you’re someone who feels frustrated by the discussions of Pokemon card investors and card value online, this is valid – it can feel like the fun is being taken out of the hobby sometimes, and it can also be annoying not being able to afford chase cards from older sets, too.

One of the best ways to remedy this is to find card stores near you that sell singles, or sellers in your local area, and get individual cards if you want to find something in particular. Finding a way to get involved with your community and to avoid excessively negative or money-centric content online can be a decent way to relieve some of the frustration.

After all, it’s important to stay in tune with why you collect Pokemon cards. What is it about them that you love? Are you a player or do you collect a specific favorite ‘mon, for example? Is there a specific set you want to complete?

There’ll always be a handful of people who are in a hobby purely for the money. In any sort of collection-based hobby, this is arguably unavoidable. Finding content creators and card sources that resonate with you is a great way to bypass this if you’re feeling (understandably) annoyed by it.

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