Is the barrier to entry too high?

Hey guys, do you think the barrier to enter the hobby is too high now? Most of the cards even ultra modern are very expensive compared to only 4 years ago were very affordable. Outside of the top 1% cards if you wanted anything sealed or slabs it was pretty much doable with a few hundred dollars. Now booster box pre sword and shield is around $500 or more. We have super ultra modern cards like moonbreon around 1100, the giratina is going for around 600-700 and the 9s are even crazy expensive. 10s always has a premium but pretty much any card in a 8-9 was very affordable for the average collector. Now I’m 30 years old and make around 54k a year and live very modestly w/ no kids so I can afford to spend more money then an average person but it seems that now the average person is being priced out. I have no problem with the high end rare cards like trophies, world promos, and art acadmy cards go for higher because of such low pop. But until 2020 even as early as base set no set card was really that crazy expensive now an unlimited near mint base set charizard raw is 500-600 I remember when they were like 50-60 bucks buy it now. Even sets today with alt arts are still going for crazy premiums raw. What do you think?


You need to budget nowadays and go the single route. Sealed is too expensive to buy.


To collect complete modern sets? Sure. But that’s also partly due to how sets are created now with so many cards that are so incredibly difficult to pull.

But for the hobby in general? Absolutely not. There are tons of fulfilling collections made up of incredibly affordable cards. You just have to get a little creative with collections. Do some species with certain rules or artists or things like that.


The barrier to entry is as high as you set it. There’s so many amazing cards available at any price point. I think we’ve proven this pretty well with our cheap card challenges here on the forum.

Sure, prices for the highest of the high end stuff like sealed boxes and PSA 10 WOTC holos and even the hardest to pull modern cards are quite up there. But nobody has to collect those items. Regardless of when you start or how much money you have, there are always going to be items you don’t have the money to acquire.

What I like about Pokemon now is that there are so many easy ways to access effectively any experience you wish to have. If you want to pull old ultra rares, you can get Celebrations packs. Want to crack a box? Most on-release modern is $100 a box, pretty much exactly where it’s always been when you adjust for inflation. Want to start an artist collection? The standard and variety of art in non-holo cards is arguably the best it’s ever been.

I truly understand the frustration of feeling like you’ve been priced out, and it’s been a challenge to deal with adjusting my collection goals-which were at one time possible and now incredibly unlikely. Getting caught up over what you can’t have is counterproductive though, and can stop you from having really enjoyable experiences in the hobby. Everything doesn’t have to be sunshine and rainbows, but if you focus too much on what you can’t have, you might miss out on exciting and fulfilling new experiences.


The barrier to entry is not set by the most expensive modern cards.

What is your favorite *unpopular* alt art? Nearly every card in this thread can be found under $50. In fact, 95%+ of cards can probably be acquired under $50.

The most exceptional modern cards should not be the threshold that defines an entry barrier. I actually think it’s healthy that the average person has a difficult time acquiring the most exceptional cards. If it was easy it wouldn’t be fun.

If you’re feeling priced out because you can’t afford a moonbreon, just don’t buy a moonbreon. There are so many other great and affordable niches in this hobby


I collect MtG cards by setting the bar as LOW as it can go. 5 cent basic lands, and I’ve TONS of them, and a curated binder. One of my favorite collections. You can do something similar with cards today, such as modern komiya arts. (Even old komiya cards.)

Now, if you’re specifically talking vintage and legacy stuff, then I might agree. Previously affordable parts of the hobby have priced-out many collectors, BUT isn’t that the nature of growth in any hobby? Don’t we WANT the hobby to grow and foster more demand and thus have things become more valuable and the prices increase?
BUT as for the true ENTRY LEVEL, can you go buy something at below-retail that has awesome art and personal value? I’d say, Yes.


I honestly don’t think the entry point for collecting Pokemon cards is too high. Why I say this is because everyone’s interests and goals are different when it comes to collecting cards. There is an endless list of affordable and obtainable goals within the hobby. If you keep finding yourself getting hung up on the extreme prices of a handful of cards, you are going to miss out on all of the other wonderful, unique, and affordable cards this hobby has to offer! I’ve found some of the most enjoyable and affordable goals to put together are Pokédex binders, and artist collections. I would say majority of the cards in those binders can be found on eBay or Troll and Toad for under $10. Heck, a lot of them aren’t even $1, and I would say those are great bang for your buck purchases! And you can have a ton of fun doing it!
Sure, some cards are very expensive but that is just part of the game. If all of the cards in Pokémon were easily obtainable, there would be no chace, and it wouldn’t be as fun. I’ve found over the years that the growing prices in Pokemon are just a natural part of the game, and to remind myself that it is okay if I can’t afford a card(s) because there are plenty of other cards out there that will always be easily accessible, and fun to enjoy! At the end of the day, Pokemon cards and other collectibles alike are just non-essential luxury goods fueled by organic interest and popular demand, and it really comes down to the emotional and nostalgic feelings someone has towards that item that causes them to pay the crazy high prices that you see! In other words, we don’t need Pokemon cards to survive, but we like the feelings of happiness and joy that they bring into our lives, and some people are willing to pay whatever it takes to reach that level of satisfaction and enjoyment. Just remember there are plenty of fun and endless levels of enjoyment that you can get in Pokémon, without having to spend a lot of money! Happy Collecting!


I got a second job to help me buy more cards among other things :dizzy_face:


Another variable to consider with barrier to entry is condition. If you’re content with played cards, and even just try to avoid bends and creases, you can put nice vintage sets together too!

I’ve felt discouraged in the past that I’ll never own this card or that card, but when you want to, you find a way to still collect and enjoy what you’re doing.


If you tunnel vision on only the most expensive chase cards in modern, then naturally you’ll feel this way. TPC employed a plethora of talent artists spread out across all sorts of releases, not just the chase cards - so that they can be enjoyed affordably and accessibly. Some of the best card artworks Sword & Shield has to offer are even found in commons. They give ample reasons to explore, open packs and collect. To ignore them in lieu of the publicly determined ‘chase’ with each release is itself a missed opportunity.


going for slabs, yes
going for raw with patience, no


I’ve just barely started collecting and consider myself a somewhat frugal person, so I can identify with being awestruck at some of the prices cards or sealed product can go for. But, as others have stated, you just need to find a niche that is fun, that maybe challenges you a bit, and that is within reason given your budget. If you enter the hobby and want to be an Umbreon or Charizard species collector, you’ll probably find that a lot of cards will be out of reach or out of your comfort zone. But you adjust and find enjoyment in what you can achieve/collect rather than what you can’t. And, as mentioned above, if you loosen your condition requirements, some cards may come into range of your budget again.

I think artist collections are a great way to build an aesthetically pleasing collection on the cheap too (this is where I chose to start collecting again). It might not be as flashy or receive as much exposure as pulling big hits or buying vintage PSA 10’s, but it is just as valid a way of engaging with the hobby.

Just be realistic with your expectations and the joy will follow!

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I agree with many in this thread. It is accessable you just might have to adjust your goals. Patience is really key as @wotcfetish says. I waited a long time (years) to locate a High grade PSA slab to complete my Natta collection, that was priced low. I found it and it was even more rewarding!


yes, Natta Wake is very nice, I like the set a lot.

A friend of mine started in the hobby just a couple months ago, i gave him my advice to go for Older-Rarer-Minter-Better. In the end i just told him to grab cards in the best condition he could to keep most of its value over time. He’s slowly grabbing 1st Ed PSA9 Wotc holos and some 10s that dropped in price. He got some really good deals lately, i’d say the barrier aint too high, and with some help you could build an strong collection in a couple months thats for sure.

Regards, Octavio. -


I think this is a big point to consider, particularly for someone new to the hobby but really anyone. I regularly find myself getting interested in a particular card, start searching for it everywhere, find either a raw or PSA 4-6 copy that actually looks pretty nice and consider buying it. But then 1 minute later a find a PSA 7 that is a little closer to mint and a touch more expensive…but then I find a PSA 8 that’s even cleaner and even more expensive, etc.

It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the condition collecting game, and it’s also tough to break out of it once you’ve been sucked in. Just like others have mentioned, if you set your goal way too high you’re always going to get defeated and lose all enjoyment, which is a big portion of why I think anyone even chooses to participate in a hobby. When I got back into collecting a goal I was so excited about completing was making a PSA 10 1st Edition Base Set collection. While I physically could pay for that, I slowly realized that was just not a collection goal I wanted to pursue because I wasn’t willing to pay the PSA 10 premium for a lot of the cards in that set. I have since moved to getting binder copies that range anywhere from PSA 4-7 and it has been a blast and I find I really enjoy pulling out that binder literally to just stare at the cards (still looking for you though Charizard :sweat_smile:), plus it is a much more palatable fraction of the monetary commitment compared to my original goal.


I think any 20+ year franchise you could make this the case for, but that’s if your case is to collect everything. So many ways to enter this hobby.
-pick a favourite Pokémon and start collecting variants of that card.
-pick a favourite set and make that your aim
-pick a very typing
-pick a favourite gen

All of the above will eventually come across a grail card, that I understand may be beyond the means of a lot of people, but if you really love the hobby a long term saving goal for a grail card to complete your collection goals is feasible


I also remember when amazon stock was $2… the thing is nobody was interested in it.

Is there a way Amazon stock gets back to $2 maybe (surely not), but if it does would you buy it?

So not sure what entry points means here. If you are a player, you can make decks without ruining yourself. Cards for almost all sets are extremely affordable and plentiful.

If you are a collector, you can start now. your entry point will be low.

If the question is can i get back to the pricing in 1999 for jungle or 2019 for sun& moon team up … the answer probably not.

Times move on, today 2023 will become 2019 in 5 years ( :thinking:)… So collect now and enjoy.

in short, the answer is “No”


I think it really depends on what you’re collecting and in what condition. With vintage cards, you can still get into a lot of them in NM or so condition at a fair price. It’s really only the 9.5+ and PSA 10 graded cards that will empty your pockets quickly. Some are definitely more expensive (like 1st Ed Base holos) compared to before, but it’s not impossible to score deals on them from time to time as well. These old cards simply have a lot of appeal to many collectors, so they have to command a premium, IMO.

Overall, I built up my vintage collection much faster the past few years by focusing more on NM or even just very slightly played condition cards. If I focused more on high graded cards, I’d have a higher quality collection, but also far fewer cards at this point in my collection.

So I think you just need to budget more now, and at times makes compromises on condition. The other option is, just collect slower and save up longer. Part of the joy in collecting to me is taking things slow and finally achieving your goals after a long period of time.


+1 for species collecting. It’s been a lot of fun and very affordable. Some of the WOTC and/or 1st edition cards were a little pricey but otherwise I’ve completed most of a master set PSA 9 for less than $20-30 per card.

Some of the less popular cards are pretty low pop (because they weren’t very popular cards and it wasn’t been worth grading them, not because they’re rare) so the hunt for some of these has been a lot of fun. I’m also at the point of having to buy raw cards and grade them myself to complete the set because the pops are so low. Surprisingly enough I’ve really enjoyed this process as well!

Anyway, kind of rambling here but I’d recommend species collecting if you want a fun goal without breaking the bank.