The Small Business Times

Why Are Pokémon Cards So Expensive?

Rare Pokémon cards are getting media attention for selling for thousands of dollars, but why are Pokémon cards so expensive?

There are several reasons why Pokémon cards are so expensive. In recent years, the value of Pokémon cards has risen. This is as a result of both demand and scarcity. When restocks occur, resellers are usually the first to grab the cards, selling them for much more than their retail value. As a result, prices for Pokémon cards skyrocket.

Like many trends from the 90s, Pokémon has significantly gained popularity. For decades, there has been a surge in interest in Pokémon memorabilia, allowing them to become the highest-earning media franchise. However, Pokémon cards have seen a massive rise in value.

This article will look at why Pokémon cards are so expensive. We’ll go over the key reasons behind the considerable increase in the price of Pokémon cards. Finally, we’ll go through how the price of Pokémon cards is determined.

The Rise in Popularity of Pokémon Cards

It’s tough to pinpoint a single reason why Pokémon cards are so expensive. Most of the time, a combination of factors leads to price increases.

One explanation is the growing popularity of Pokémon cards on social media and online marketplaces. Stars like Logan Paul spend thousands of dollars on rare Pokémon cards, increasing the cards’ value. Some celebrities also sell their rare Pokémon cards at a higher price.

While online marketplaces such as eBay saw a surge in Pokémon sales from 2019. It also reported that the price of Pokémon cards on the site had more than doubled. 

Popular streaming sites like twitch also showcase the unboxing of rare Pokémon boxes. Which attracts thousands of Pokémon lovers who are also tuning in to watch live streams. As the popularity skyrockets, resellers swooped in, raising the price.

Millennial Nostalgia in Pokémon Collectibles 

As it turns out, nostalgia is a good enough explanation for why Pokémon cards are so expensive. The children who collected Pokémon cards when they were growing up, are now adults. These adults now have the money to complete their prized childhood Pokémon collections.

Because these same adults cannot participate in most of their favorite social activities, they invest in Pokémon cards instead. They are willing to pay top dollar for rare Pokémon cards to relive their childhood fantasies. This increases demand and, consequently, how much people charge for Pokémon cards.

Second-Hand Sellers 

If a Pokémon card isn’t available in-store because of high demand, where can you purchase it?

Resellers or scalpers buy numerous rare collectibles and then sell them substantially more than the retail value. They do this to make a profit, which has earned them a poor reputation throughout the years.

The Pokémon card industry has been particularly badly impacted by resellers, who buy cards as soon as they hit the market and then resell them at three times the price.

On eBay and Amazon, resellers were selling rare holographic sets for as much as $450, more than double the retail value.

Unfortunately, resellers will continue to make more money until interest in it dwindles or restocks become more common.

Stock Shortage

One of the most common reasons Pokémon cards are so expensive is the scarcity of stock. As the demand for the cards grows, there isn’t enough stock to meet it.

Many factors contribute to this scarcity, including rising popularity and easy access to online marketplaces. This makes Pokémon cards available for anyone to purchase. 

Because of this scarcity and demand, Pokémon cards are also often overpriced compared to other collections. Due to their scarcity, it has been difficult for Pokémon collectors to get their hands on them.

The COVID-19 Pandemic 

Another explanation for why are Pokémon cards are so expensive could be the COVID-19 pandemic. Because people are spending more time at home, they look for new hobbies. Many stay-at-home parents have taken up the hobby of collecting Pokémon cards.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the cost of many collectibles, most notably Pokémon cards. As the value of rare items such as Nintendo DS games has risen, so has the value of Pokémon cards.

Some Pokémon Card are Rare

The rarity of Pokémon cards also explains why Pokémon cards are expensive. The price of a Pokémon card is determined by the rarity. As a rule of thumb, the higher the rarity of a Pokémon card classification, the more money it is worth.

For example, the first-edition shadowless Charizard was sold on eBay for $360,000. It was one of the highest amounts anyone has sold a Pokémon card for. And rare Pokémon cards are more expensive than ever.

How Price is Determined

The rise in Pokémon card prices does not mean all the cards are worth a substantial amount of money. Some cards are more expensive than others. Scarcity, condition, and the actual Pokémon on a card contribute to its price or value. 

For starters, if a Pokémon card is still in print, the price will not rise. When the card is no longer in print, the price may rise, but this is not always the case. 

Some professional grading agencies assign values to a Pokémon card. This process involves authenticating the card based on condition. PSA, SCG, and Beckett are the three most popular, with each using a rating of 1 to 10 to rate a card’s value. Different values can add thousands of dollars to a card’s value.

The value assigned to a Pokémon card will determine its pricing. Even a card graded lower than 10 can be worth twice the value of an ungraded one.

The price of a Pokémon card is also determined by the card’s condition when resold. A Pokémon in pristine condition will often cost more, while those with defects will cost much less.

These are apparent defects such as scuffs, folds, and rips, usually caused by playing with the cards or improper storage. This type of damage can significantly reduce the value of a card.


Pokémon cards have made a strong comeback in recent years. For some of us, its comeback has triggered a wave of nostalgia. 

Pokémon cards have become among the most expensive collectibles with their growing popularity. Although some Pokémon cards do not have a higher retail price, the rare Pokémon cards can be extremely pricey. 

Even though certain Pokémon cards do not have a higher retail price, rare Pokémon cards can be expensive. Aside from the high pricing, there is still no guarantee that you are buying an actual Pokémon card. So keep your eyes peeled for fake Pokémon cards. 

Nonetheless, if you want to invest in some rare Pokémon cards, research the retail value. Compare costs and constantly be on the lookout for a good deal.

While these cards will probably keep their value for a long time, it’s better to wait until the demand and price drop.