Investing in vintage vs modern

This isnt intended to be a hit piece on anyone, but i think its important to address it!
When i first watched this video in April, when it came out, i thought: this is too zoomed in. Ill explain what i mean in a moment. Basically, this video is comparing the price trajectory of vintage slabs over the last ~5 years and sealed modern, to discuss how modern was the better investment (this example being 1st base Zard PSA 9 & UPC Celebrations; better meaning larger growth %). Without going too deep into it, i think the analysis used here was flawed. The reason i think it was too zoomed in is because it was comparing a 5 year trajectory of a 20+ year old card with a brand new anniversary product (which ironically, one could argue has high value due to the reprint of base charizard in the set + the gold card). Anyway, what lead me to post this was seeing that PSA 9 Zard 1st seems to be consistently selling over $20,000 USD now, only 5 months later, where the UPC is around $450.

This isnt to say whether one is a “better investment” than the other, but rather, to draw attention to how the market changes over time. It begs the question: why was Charizard 10k? Why is it now back up at 20k? Essentially, what makes Charizard move like that? What makes the UPC move the way it does? I feel like this is an important data point for understanding the Pokemon market, especially in terms of modern vs vintage. I dont have any answers on why what moves where, but its a discussion that i think could be very helpful for many people to learn, including myself. So if anyone wants to add any thoughts or observations, pls do so!

video in question

Not sure if I understand the question here… The way you’ve phrased it is as if it dropped to 10k then back up to 20k since the Celebrations UPC released which has definitely not been the case. I’m not sure what listings are pulled up in the screenshot since ebay drops data off after 90 days, but the image in the middle looks like one that was used repeatedly for scam listings.

edit: some PWCC sales from the same time period for reference

What’s not acknowledged here is volatility. Modern product necessarily has more volatility because there is more speculation from inexperienced buyers, total supply is unknown, how well things grade is unknown, etc, etc. The UPC is a great example of volatility because the metal cards are ungradable currently which is something that was not predictable and really affects the potential value.

This is being compared to something on the other end of the volatility spectrum. A card that has consistently gone up in value for 20 years (with exception to the 2020 explosion). And also a cornerstone of this hobby that will remain desirable for as long as people collect Pokemon cards.

Of course the more volatile category will have larger %s. The unspoken part is that the % can be both positive or negative. When 1st ed charizord became volatile in 2020, you subsequently saw the biggest historical drop in price shortly after. You can look at eevee heroes, the poster child of modern investing that saw a drop from $300ish a box after it was reprinted to like $150 today on ebay. That’s a huge percentage loss.

It’s the equivalent of comparing an index fund to cryptocurrency. Sure, crypto has created billionaires, but if you don’t acknowledge the other side of that coin then you are doing a great disservice


Well, the question wasn’t intended to be so specific. More broadly, I think it’s a good thought experiment to question why prices move the way they do over time, and how that differs depending on what the item is.

As for the listings pulled up in the video… I can’t really speak to the validity of them. However, I do remember doubting that this card was around 10K at the time I first saw the video and checking eBay. I don’t have specific numbers, but I do recall seeing some going for closer to 10k than 20k. Whether those were fake listings, I’m not sure. He talks about his observations of sales data around that price more in the video, if you wanna watch it, may give a more clear idea of what exactly he’s talking about.

I agree, volatility is certainly a factor here. Larger buyer pool, probably less knowledge, speculation, fomo, etc. all working in lock-step with glamorization of this idea of ez money, get rich quick. Regardless, the UPC vs PSA 9 1st Zord is an apples to oranges comparison in just about every regard (which was the initial problem I had with the video). If you consider the 1st edition charizard’s lifespan from release against the UPC, this argument just completely falls apart. Not to mention, you would have to get the UPC for MSRP to even realize the maximum gains quoted, which anecdotally, was not the easiest feat. Further, it’s not a replicable strategy to consistently snipe UPCs for MSRP and flip at market, which you would need to do to scale volume for meeting the same value as Zord’s growth (if you want to say UPC has higher percentage growth, let’s say Zord did go from 10k to 20k; UPC technically has a higher percentage growth, but an extra 10k of value is still more than an extra couple hundred dollars. So, you need that volume to see those gains). Which again, this isn’t even a valid comparison because UPC hasn’t been out for long; even comparing it in 20 years to Charizard from 1999 - 2022, still would have to account for changes in market size and so many other variables.

I found the simplification and sort of absolutism in the conclusion to be misleading. I’ll add the link to the initial post so maybe others can watch it; I hope people do because going off just my critique of one of his arguments doesn’t really offer the full context!

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Are you really gonna sit here and tell me that there might be misleading information in Pokémon investing videos on YouTube??? I refuse to believe such an outlandish claim. We’re gonna need some group effort here to go through and verify every single video to be sure.


Not it! :laughing:

That’s the thing. My first thought here was “…how modern was the better investment”. Of course, because hindsight is 20/20.
For members who may not be familiar with that expression, Hindsight always looks at what is known in the past, and never deals with the uncertainty of the future.

I really appreciate that the “Investing in Modern” thread has the “Youtube” tag


I dont understand what you mean by this. I was speaking in past tense because i was explaining the gyst of the video; im not agreeing that modern is the better investment, im saying “this was what the guy in the video was saying.”

To clarify, this isnt a modern investment thread. It was meant to be a discussion about the analysis in the guy’s video, and how different items behave differently in the market.

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It was meant to be a discussion about the analysis in the guy’s video, and how different items behave differently in the market.

“Analysis” is a very charitable way of describing the content of the video you shared lol.


Im trying to come in with that respectfully :joy:

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Right, not specific to modern or any particular investment.
I’m just saying that analyzing in the past allows us to make more factually-based and accurate decisions. It doesn’t mean we’re right, but based on actual data, ROI for example, it’s easy to claim “this thing was better than that thing, for this reason.” It sounds more “true”, from that PoV, at least. Again, it’s easy to look back. Not so much to look forward.

As to the content of that specific video, well, it’s also easy to look back, but not always easy to know what to look back at.


something something extrapolation



I’ve looked at a few of these guy’s videos before and he presents some interesting data points, but often overlooks the longer term data trends. 5 years is really nothing in establishing a market trend and conclude one investment has truly been better or worse compared to where it began and where it stands now.

This is why I sort of hate the vintage vs modern debates from the investment side because they’re really such different animals. I’ve been seeing modern investors for example say that ‘todays modern will become vintage in 20 years and less and less people will care about WOTC!’. Ok, that could very well be true to some extent. But that doesn’t mean that there still won’t be thousands of WOTC collectors in 10, 20, 30 years. In addition, we’ve seen how in other hobbies that a lot of modern collectors cross into vintage and vice-versa.

The trend in many vintage cards is well established at this point. 1st Edition Charizards are simply proven to be highly desirable, and they only get older each day. You can’t erase 20 years of attrition, and in another 20 years they’re going to be 40+ years old. To me this is no different than vintage vs modern sports collecting, it has a lot of similarities and both markets have their strengths and weaknesses and offer different things to people.

Another way to look at it is, what if we compare the relative growth of 1st Ed Base Charizard over 20 years compared to 5 years of a Modern box? The Charizard and other vintage boxes have vastly outperformed their modern counter-parts to date. So yes certain modern products have done well over 5 years, and in some cases outperformed vintage over the 5 years, but where will everything stand 20 years from now? Will the supply & demand factors truly push modern that much higher? Will the supply even allow it to happen organically? A lot of these modern investors seem to ignore where things were in 1999 until today and focus too much on the short term movements.

There’s just so many variables involved here where it’s difficult to come to an honest conclusion. I think all these Pokemon collectibles are going to do well over the next 20 years, but I honestly don’t think anyone can say that one era of cards or products is going to always outperform the other every year or decade. They’re going to have gaps that get filled over time, and the market is always changing.


Well, yes, we can’t look forward. All we can do is use past events to try to understand why certain things happen the way they do. You’re essentially experimenting; you look at what happened, make a prediction about why you think that happened, and then try to apply that to something else and see what happens. That’s not to say you should assume that a past trend will continue into the future, that’s an extrapolation error; but, the only way to learn is to experience, which will certainly include looking into the past. It isn’t easy to isolate variables and the ‘answer’ may not ever be concrete, but I think striving to understand what has occurred, and why, is good.

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Yea, I find a lot of modern ‘investors’ tend to use hopium as like 90% of their long-term strategy lol. Not to mention, comparing anything to sets still in print in the modern era doesn’t really mean anything imo. Just because people care about what’s popping right now, doesn’t necessarily mean they will care in ‘X’ amount of years.

I think an issue with the modern argument is the assumptions. Something being ‘vintage’ doesn’t make it inherently more valuable. WOTC is the beginnings of Pokemon (plus it’s isolated as the only group of sets not produced by TPCi), I believe it will remain relevant as long as Pokemon is. SwSh has more of an up-hill battle to establish an identity within the TCG over time, in my opinion. What makes SwSh stand out within a sea of other sets and eras?

I agree that it’s viewed too short-term. Long-term is used when it is beneficial to their point, but they seem to flip back and forth on it. Idk it’s an interesting convo to have, though, I think the conversation of ‘fundamentals’-- what makes one thing move different from another, is a good focus.


Modern “investors” give off heavy Crypto/NFT vibes. They share the same insecurity, mainly because no one truly knows whats going on. There is also a lot of chart usage without understanding. I never see any mention about the reasons for why sets are increasing. Its always a vague observation, just like in crypto, “see the line went up”.


And misplaced verbiage.

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Occasionally I watch some modern investment channels (it’s a guilty pleasure, no I don’t love that about me either), and they put so much effort into analsying $5 movements of evolving skies boxes and worrying about how a reprint will make the $10 the box went up by disappear.

It’s so much stress over something they have no control of, for such little reward.


Right, ultimately the value in any of this stuff comes down to a desire and interest to buy it at the price point it’s available. That’s pretty much what gives any of these cards value. So it’s entirely possible that WOTC cards could lose or increase in value, but the same could happen with modern or any other collectible or investment. My personal belief with any investment is that the more risk involved, the more intelligence and knowledge you need to apply if you want a positive outcome, but without risk there is no reward either.

As far as SWSH goes, I think the Alt Arts will represent this era well. Those are some of the nicest Pokemon cards I think anyone has seen and pretty universally agreed upon to be. They’re really the ‘home run’ of every set, and I think they’ll always be pretty desirable. The main issue though with SWSH to me is that it’s an era after a huge amount of interest/hype and market optimization has taken place.

Basically, I think the market has gotten a lot smarter now than ever, and for this reason I don’t think the opportunity is quite as great as previous and slower eras. If we all knew where a set like Skyridge was going to end up, I’m sure tons of us would have filled a warehouse with booster boxes, so this element to me is now pretty much gone from the modern sets, which inherently adds to the risk with supply and other things. Now everyone seems to be heavily focusing on whats popular now in the short-term and I feel it won’t necessarily replicate the performance of previous sets/eras for these reasons.

@smpratte - I studied charts/technical analysis on and off for 8 years. I can assure you that the entire thing is based off nothing more than probabilities. All the lines, patterns, indicators. None of it guarantees results, and many people use it to look smarter than they are. It’s a way to gauge a market, but ultimately you need a lot more long-term data to work with to improve your odds as the longer trends are the most established. This is why crypto can be so volatile. Not only does it lack many regulations, it also lacks a lot of long-term data for people to confidently invest in it compared to other traditional markets.