Is the barrier to entry too high?

The percentage of 1/100 cards in pokemon is like .0005% of cards printed, ill give you an alibi on your second point though - it’s only your favorite pokemon because its everyones favorite pokemon

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Ahem* Charizard ahem

Just my random thoughts:

I think a certain degree of barriers to entry are important to make chasing cards you really want an exciting experience, but at the same time there are ways to enjoy the hobby without breaking the bank.

If the card I am chasing after is expensive and I managed to purchase it after making efforts to save up for it, finally receiving the card gives me a sense of happiness and achievement that I’ve worked hard to fulfil my collection goal. Feels especially good if I managed to hit an ambitious collection goal. I don’t think I would enjoy the hobby as much personally if I could obtain every card easily.

I also think pokemon has been doing a good job of releasing great art work each time a new set comes out (where barriers to entry are lowest) and buying raw singles of chase cards typically won’t break the bank.

I feel anyone can get reasonable access to enjoy the new releases regardless of time spent in the hobby.

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I am forever finding the balance between spending too much on modern and too much on not modern

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I was going to post this in the ‘recent purchases’ thread but in light of this topic getting some air time it seemed fitting to put it here instead.

Today, on the indirect recommendation of forum members in other threads (@Dyl comes to mind, so thanks), I branched out a tad and went to one of my local game stores here in Jacksonville, FL, after seeing an Instagram ad for the store. Never been to this one before, never met the people there, or really even frequented that part of town so I felt a touch out of my usual element. I walked in to a boatload of Pokemon items (and other various games), and was greeted by several friendly fellow hobbyists as well as the store owner and immediately started talking about collecting, what sets we’re into, the nostalgia of being a kid, the Harada signing coming up in Orlando, etc. I went in to the store on a whim just to see what was there. After 3.5 hours of chatting, viewing cards, meeting locals, and even watching some football, I ended up walking out with this (though I somehow forgot to include the holo unlimited Poliwrath I bought as well):

After scouring 20+ binders filled with Pokemon cards, I ended up finding raw singles that filled all sorts of collecting goals I had set out on but not yet finished: base shadowless, base unlimited, Komiya cards (my favorite artist), some e-reader common cards solely because I think the art is awesome, and a sealed Special Delivery Charizard just for kicks since I don’t own one yet. The most expensive card was the Special Delivery Charizard for $50, and with the exception of the holo Poliwrath nearly everything else was $1 or less.

I share this all here because my hope is this story can serve as a useful example for someone new to the hobby, one that they can fall back on and be excited for all of the goals that can be found within the world of Pokemon. Are Illustrators, Mario Pikachus, Moonbreons and 1st Edition Base Set Charizard awesome cards to acquire? Of course! There is no denying that. But you know what? I paid next to nothing for most of these cards which will all find a home in my collection, despite the fact that I also chase and purchase cards that are thousands of dollars. On top of that I had a blast meeting new people in my local community, seeing some cards I had never seen before, learning more about the hobby I have come to enjoy so much, and also supporting local business! And to be completely honest, truly the best part of the whole thing was something I wasn’t really expecting to matter much to me: watching a few 7 and 8 year old kids playing with the cards they just got with some loose pocket change. They didn’t care about how much a PSA 10 Scream Mimikyu costs or if Evolving Skies is going to get a reprint. They just wanted to show each other their new Pikachu card and play with each other, which made them feel like they had a front row seat to the top of the world. Sometimes it takes just a small change in perspective from the inadvertent wisdom of a child to gain some new found gratitude and pleasure in the things right in front of us.

So is the barrier to entry too high? Maybe, maybe not. But I know for not much out of my wallet and a few hours of my time I gained more than anticipated today, and I hope others take the time to do the same.

Now, I’m gunna go build my 50-cent-priced-cards Komiya binder.

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This is so wholesome, @camrok37! :face_holding_back_tears:

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This is really such a wholesome story. This gives me encouragement about trying to drive out to a local game store that hosts Pokemon events sometime. Picking through bulk is also so enjoyable!

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Your local game store: 20 binders with Shadowless, E-reader and ex singles

My local game store: $7 Lost Origin booster pack, only set left in stock

Very nice haul! :smile:

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lol mine too. I used to go every weekend but honestly idk how any brick and mortar places stay in business. Even walmart prices seem high compared to a 30 second ebay search for modern sealed stuff

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Besides charging outrageous prices on literally everything and capitalizing on casuals, window-shoppers and the few people who are still afraid of the internet, I think mine does it by perpetually diluting the selection of things that they carry.

Back in the glory days, the “theme” of a shop was a big plus to me. Sure, 97% of the shop wasn’t Pokemon but it was filled with similar or at least vaguely related stuff, which meant that you’d have a good chance of meeting someone with a common interest. Also the shop just looked good! Dragons, medieval roleplay stuff, premium hardbacks and all the goodness, diet version of the old library aesthetic with some manga tastefully hidden in shelves. And the tables were right outside the front door so you immediately knew if something cool was happening. Nowadays that store looks more like a McDonalds.

Lol. Ya I saw 170$ Vstar universe boxes at one of my local game stores the other day. Yikes. eBay is fine by me.

Gotta find the right LGS (assuming youre in a city with multiple). The biggest most popular LGS in my city has terrible prices. Most other ones actually have below msrp for pokemon (now anyways lol). Got a vstar box for 100 from one of my LGS’. Dont even wanna see what the overpriced LGS is charging for them though.

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In general, the barrier to entry is not too high. But the way that pricing and aftermarket costs for modern Pokemon cards has gone has made it more difficult for someone to be even a low-cost collector and still have access to the range of cards they used to have.

You just have to adapt to the culture/market/landscape or whatever you want to call it and either adjust your budget or adjust your expectations.

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This has been a great thread. I want to add on to some of the discussion above regarding LGSs. This is really an underappreciated option at times. Often we will run to eBay or TCGplayer or other places looking for cards, but you can find some great deals at game stores from time to time. In fact, some of the best deals I’ve gotten in the past couple years on old 1st Ed WOTC cards has been from my LGS that I buy from. Some of them have a ton of old inventory that may not even be advertised and at times they will sell them for great prices, you just need to know the cards and the market prices to score deals.

In addition, many LGSs will have loyalty programs and other promotions, and all of this adds up a lot when you spend a lot over time. I also get first in line for things like pre-orders and other special sales.

The other important benefit is the currency if you’re an international collector. When I buy from my LGS vs eBay, I’m paying in my local currency. Right away when I buy on eBay, I’m mainly buying from the US which means I’m already paying at least a 20% premium just because of my weak currency. Combine this with import duties/fees and shipping, and it can get even more expensive real quick.

So overall, the LGS option can greatly reduce the barrier at times, and it’s definitely worth exploring and keeping an eye on as you build your collection up long-term.

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It becomes easier if you kind of collect with a logical mind instead of thinking from an emotional place.

If a modern card is immediately, what I think of, as too expensive on release, I kind of “delete” it from my brain and don’t think about it too much. I’ll check sites in the weeks or months after release and see if it comes down any but if it doesn’t, I just kind of forget about it.

For older cards, if I really wanted them, I’d just grab something thats not mint condition and just be happy that I got the card I wanted.

At the end of the day, Pokemon cards are a luxury product, non essential to my day to day life and crudely speaking just a piece of cardboard. There are plenty other pieces of cardboard with great art printed on them at a price I feel happy with that I’d rather grab.

Collect within your means and don’t worry about grabbing cards that aren’t mint if it ticks off a goal.

If you really want something, use an amount you are comfortable with and flip cards and try and build up until you can afford the card you want. That’s always a great option.

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I’ve been thinking that in addition to barrier to entry there also is and has already some time been in some level a barrier to continue due to prices raising, it’s not affecting only people who haven’t started collecting yet. A lot of people have for sure started several goals, especially ones made pre covid, and suddenly a lot of those goals may be unattainable due to prices rising. I’m in lucky situation since i completed my larger collections before the prices rose through the roof but there are for sure loads of people who had collection goals consisting of old wotc holos, shinings, crystals, gold starts etc more valuable stuff that certainly are worth a big chunk off money now. I can imagine there are a lot of collectors that are forced to abandon their not completed collection goals and are just selling what they already purchased when it’s just loose pieces of some collection goal. Of course they probably made some money during the selling process but still, exit from collecting is in my opinion very comparable to not entering collecting. Probably also rising prices of high end new releases cause this but more with old stuff during the bigger price changes.

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I personally do not think the barrier to entry is too high. If your entry is trying to buy first ed base holos, gold stars, etc then yes it is quite expensive, but most of the cards in the hobby sell for few bucks at most. I don’t collect alt arts but I love the character rare cards that have been in the past few sets, and they are only a few bucks each. They have absolutely beautiful arts at a fraction of the price of alt arts. I also collect the EX era (2003-2007), and since PSA 9 and PSA 10 holos from that era can get pricey, I just collect PSA 8s that I can grab for less than $40 a piece for some of the most popular cards from those sets. Everyone has a budget, and I can assure you that there are great cards at every budget :slight_smile: