Is "Older, Rarer, Minter"... still "Better"?

With the close of PWCA auctions Sunday PSA Moonbreon sold for over $12,000 while a sealed vintage Misty deck sold for half that price. See @Leo post.

I have seen this trend with other modern cards out pricing Older, Rarer Minter Better cards. I’m a collector not too savvy on cards as an investment, yet I do look for a good value when purchasing cards, or selling to improve my collection. It does seem to me even if this is a temporary influx in the Market it still is a driving factor. How do collectors and investors gage the $ value? If modern, still available, not so rare,in mint condition out prices older, rarer, minter? Is this only applicable for truly rare cards like Illustrator or #1 Trainers?




One of these listings is a very popular card in premium condition and the other is a fringe sealed product whose contents can only be known and not seen. One of these items is a crown jewel of its category that everyone knows about, one of these items is so niche that most collectors have never heard of it.

Older, rarer, minter, better is true for items with organic interest. It does not mean much for items people have no interest in.

I collect weird niche things, especially Pokémon League material. Stickers and worksheets and stuff. These things are from the earliest days of the hobby’s organization, in some cases I own the only ones I’ve ever seen, they are in unused condition, but they hold virtually no value at all. Because there is very low organic interest in these items, they are worth basically nothing.

Something we can lose sight of as high-information collectors is what regular collectors are actually interested in, and we sometimes over-estimate the appeal of certain items. These trainer decks, even the open cards, have very low broad appeal compared to a high profile card.


Yeah popularity and exposure should not be underestimated.
I think modern collecters are grossly under represented here and therefore we get surprised by these prices.


@stagecoach . Yes. I can see your point about some items like the Misty deck. Yet, I have vintage World’s Promos that would sell for less. Just seems difficult to understand, even when I consider popularity or demand

Speculation and Expectation. We can all hold a different value to where that card might end up, and it will affects / reflects on the prices it has today. A perfect copy of a card in high demand currently, which is also rare to pull in essence checks 2/3 boxes (rarer and minter). All we need is a chance for it to develop and mature and it will check all of the 3 boxes.

Everything vintage seems to be more organic in nature and only the well known, top tier cards will increase the most in value. Actual rare modern PSA 10s / BGS Black labels could also be strong performers in the future.

Good food for thought topic!


IMO, “older, rarer, minter, better” is absolutely still a good heuristic. Although perhaps it should be “older, rarer, minter, more popular, better.” You’re comparing two entirely different items. One is an incredibly high demand set card, and one is an incredibly niche sealed item that all of 10 people care about. The popularity of the Umbreon is (currently) outweighing the fact that there are tens of thousands of gem mint copies floating around.


Ive also thought about this recently, I’ve been buying and selling JR rally promos from 2002 in PSA 10, these are all popular Pokemon (Mew, Lugia, Pikachu) etc. In mint condition, Japanese exclusive and fairly rare (~80 pop in PSA 10/few sealed copies available) & 20+ years old. Yet still sell for less than a PSA 10 Moonbreon.

As others have said, demand is a huge factor and is just leagues apart between these examples, trying to sell an item with limited interest can take ages and be difficult to get an increased price on. I don’t think auctions are great for these type of items, patience and BIN is better.

And yet - if I were asked to bet on which will be more expensive in 5-10 years, it would definitely be the trainer deck. All those products need is a little bit more attention and you can see huge increases because of what they are. Whereas modern - everyone and their dog, cat and fish knows about them - their price IMO is a much riskier bet.

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So here’s a good-natured challenge to your theory: it’s already been 30 years. How much more popular do you think something like Trainer Decks really stand to get? Is it not reasonable we are already past the peak of their popular interest?


That’s the thing though, it doesn’t really have to get more popular, it only has to endure until the customer base is wealthier, more educated; whatever morsel of publicity it could use/needs will take care of itself. If the titanic proliferation of knowledge within this hobby these last 7-10 years is anything to go by, we still have a long way to go. And by the time we reach the next phase there will be even fewer of these left, and fewer still that can be pried away from collectors.

Not saying it is gonna happen this way but in Pokemon terms it seems like a fairly safe bet.


I think it’s unlikely we are at their peak. Their only
downfall is exposure. Doing the math of how many Machamp and Blastoise collectors out there that need those cards to complete their collection and only sub 100 cards of each to go around? The fact they were test decks in the earliest stages of the games creation? They just so much more going for it.
Patience - slow and steady wins the race. It could take 20 years. But unless pokemon is dead then, I see no way these stay at the prices they just sold for. I can’t say the same for most modern. I can give you a ton of other examples though in vintage. I believe over time older, rarer, minter better will win out over modern in general. 98% of modern is minter, definitely not older and will never have a shot in hell at being rarer. Over time, it just feels like more of a risky bet. Not to mention Pokemon can at any time reprint it for as long as they want - including Umbreon. Quantity of vintage can only get lower and lower.



I think this entire topic can be boiled down to one statement: the exception is not the rule.


Technically a Black Label is rare ? Right guys ? Right ?

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Vast misrepresentation. We’re not talking about a reprinted artwork Japanese chocolate Meiji promo here. Most serious Pokémon collectors, who crossed the barrier of entry and start really getting into the hobby, know about trainer deck. It’s a fundamental part of WOTC English Pokemon history. Just remember - what’s popular today isn’t necessarily popular tomorrow. It’s flashy and new and extremely speculative. Modern is filled with that. It’s why I think 12k for a black label umbreon in 5 years will be unheard of. The pop report will continue to grow and grow and the audience that cares about that card now will move onto something else new and flashy.


The ORMB “rule” is about risk.

You shouldn’t compare the sold dollar value of the Misty deck vs the umbreon. You should compare their price trajectories. The trainer deck was not 6k on release. It had a slow and healthy growth across many years. In contrast, the umbreon has a $11000 premium tied to a label produced by a company who’s market share in this hobby has been shrinking and is currently close to 1% and almost lost a significant portion of that by simply upgrading their label design.

The ORMB rule does not tell you what something will go for today. It’s a vague guide for future value. This thread is framed as “would you rather be the seller of the Misty deck or the umbreon?” Of course the answer is obvious. The more interesting question is that if your primary goal was a return on investment, would you rather be the buyer of the deck or the umbreon?

What’s more likely, the deck hitting 3k when you go to sell it or the umbreon selling for 6k? Is it more probable that the deck hit 12k one day in the future or that the umbreon sells for 24k?

Which would you rather buy today and speculate on?
  • Misty Trainer Deck
  • Black Label Moonbreon
0 voters

Idk theres definitely some psychological thing going on with black labels. People said the same about Charizard GX SV49. I dont personally understand paying so much for condition rarity on a brand new card, but all you rly need is a small group of people who rly want it. Not to mention, black label poker cards lmao.

I think trainer deck is very niche tho and comparing it to a black label modern stonk isnt rly a good comparison. Theyre essentially polar opposites; one is a graded card and the other is a sealed deck, among many other differences

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Yes the comparison is difficult. I didn’t know it would be turned into this discussion but generated some good dialogue.

The concept of black label is cool it’s just not possible; it’s literally just if a grader decides to give a black label or not on that day. There are too many black label and CGC perfects that have obvious flaws and aren’t perfect. If it could be put into a machine that could somehow say “this is card is perfect” okay. But that’s also not realistic.

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Fair point lol

& yea idk the concept of a black label is cool in theory, but in practice, it kinda ends up feeling like a big money game. Grading in general has kinda been sucking the life out of me lately tbh lol

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I’m in agreement with you that the Umbreon is vastly overvalued. But trainer decks are clearly much more niche than English set cards. That was my point. At the current values, I’d much rather buy the trainer deck.