"Locked" inventory to flood the markets?

TL;DR → with the economies opening up in North America especially, and rules starting to become more encouraging for retailers and brick and mortars, malls, etc. is there a serious concern that there’s a shit ton of sealed inventory and supply just sitting in warehouses, backstores of shopping centers, just the shelves of stores that have been closed for 3 months, that can and will potentially flood the supply-side of the market soon and push down the prices of the NEW gen sealed product that have finally seen increases in value (Unbroken Bonds, Team Up, Breakpoint, Ancient Origins, Breakthrough) as examples.

Hey guys, new here, but been watching Scott’s YT for a while and really appreciate the more finance aspect of it all. Anyways, I held off diving deep into the buying and collecting for years now, and have legit kept my pick ups of anything vintage or retro limited to things I actually played or always wanted growing up. Anyways, as with many people in my age group (I’m 28), once this whole lock down happened, I started getting back into deep diving the markets and exploring the market as a whole, most likely one of the factors that have pushed the prices up as of lately.

My Pokemon exposure was limited by early WOTC-era product and limited to GB Blue, Red, and Yellow franchises, as is the case with many in my age group, so my apologies if I don’t hit the nail on the newer product. Now, as I’ve been following the WOTV sealed stuff for a few years now and seen most of the product become more unattainable, in an effort to diversify my investment portfolio, I, like many others have been waiting to see if the newer stuff would eventually appreciate. So I remember seeing Rudy’s YT video last year on buying bulk new Pokemon product and then the result being mediocre. And as Scott has mentioned many times, the prices just weren’t budging and a lot of the retailers and wholesalers holding product actually were pushing prices down on certain boxes just to free up cash flow right. But then the unexpected has happened, and now certain sealed booster boxes have started to appreciate right? Like I said, I don’t know much about the new gen stuff and literally only treat the product as a security or an asset and look at it for its intrinsic value, so this is what I’ve noticed that is pretty current as of today’s date:

Unbroken Bonds
Team Up
Ancient Origins
→ have all captured anywhere from 50 to 150% of appreciation

Burning Shadows
Guardians Rising
Lost Thunder
Roring Skies
Primal Clash
→ some recent sales are breaking ceilings, and they’re started to consistently start trading over MSRP, just not sure yet of a %floor to associate to these boxes, but we’ll keep seeing them go up

Now, if we roll back pre-lockdown, pretty much every one of these boxes was available at most of our LGSes (I’m from Canada, so this assumption is for NA) and in stock right? So almost 100% of businesses pushed online, if they weren’t already, and have taken advantage of this recent increase in demand to deplete their inventories. So when I look at any of my LGSs or any of the LGS nationwide, the inventory for most these boxes is pretty much at 0/sold out. The only boxes I’m still seeing are the regular base set sword and shield, crimson invasions, forbidden light, unified minds.

Now, this is where my question is going to stem from, but in Canada our shopping centers/malls have remained closed, despite slowly reopening standalone retail brick and mortar stores. The thing is almost every mall in my city and every other major or small city in the country has some type of store that sells TCG. If they aren’t a big shopping center with an EB Game/Gamestop, or other big public companies that carry Pokemon product, the “smaller” malls in other words the ones located in the poorer areas of the city are filled with shops that just sell clothes and socks for a few bucks, always have a grocery store attached there, etc. So these malls ALL have what I like to call those “variety” / convenience store buy it all / dollar store that isn’t corporate that does it all, type of store that all sell TCG.

Unfortunately for them, they haven’t been able to re open nor really have easy access to their stores and inventories and backstores, and to be frank they’re usually ran by older individuals who aren’t necessarily following the markets and the trends. If we rollback to mid-March which is when Canada started locking down, and I go and check their socials, they almost all have FB pages mainly without any type of efficient ecommerce strategy and almost all of them had posted a few pictures which displayed in the background their inventory, specifically for my interest, their TCG inventory and all priced at those dates values.

If I analyse the pictures as best as I can, I’ve called a few, etc. yes sure they are all sitting on the product that hasn’t really appreciated, but you know what, they have a case of Ancient Origins lying around, even a few sealed boxes of Ultra Prism, etc. My question or my analysis is that as much as my sample is limited (I tried to replicate this digging around accross the country actually by googling TCG stores in X smaller city) and the results are all similar. Which leads me to believe that my neighbords down south with 10-12x the population and amount of cities and smaller mom and pop neighborhood shops and all that, have a quite similar story.

Is it possible, that once logistical and transport issues start becoming smoother again, and retail starts REALLY opening up again, which means warehouses and backstores with employees to actually sit and check inventory and all that, that there will be a FLOOD of this “newer” recently-appreciated product?

Like I said, I’m not as familiar with the smaller details on new gen Pokemon stuff, so did these boxes go up because they finally stopped being printed by Pokemon making room for a whole new collection? Are their cards in these boxes and packs that have just become rarer and more sought-after in PSA 10s? Or is it simply just economics 101 and the demand grew much bigger (everyone in lock down, my generation feeling nostalgic with more access to capital, etc add all the reasons we’ve heard a million times) than the supply? And that if supply hit the market then price would just adjust itself and fall back to an equilibrium that reflects that aka reflect prices pre-lockdown?

If you had the opportunity and the capital to go up to some quasi-LGS variety store as I mention who’s sitting on cases of the first 5 products I mentioned and pick them up at their mid-March retail prices (so in USD boxes would come out to about 75-100$) is it a no brainer? Or is there a REAL concern here for some sudden dormant inventory that can potentially flood the market. Were not talking about vintage or WOTC here.

Sorry for the long first post, I’ve just lurked here for a while and I see new members get roasted quickly just for posting the same stuff all the time without any thought or effort put into sparking up an interesting discussion.


Thanks so much for taking the time to share your perspective. I really enjoyed reading this! Well thought out for sure :blush:

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Most business owners had access to their warehouses and stores, it was just that retail storefronts were closed and perhaps employees were home. If anything, business owners had more time to list more items online these past couple of months. The US largely opened retail up 1-3 weeks ago. We would have seen the flood already.

Another thing that was locked down were banks. Banks have safe deposit boxes in them, where many collectors keep high value cards. Until the past two weeks, those banks were closed and thus you couldn’t get to your cards (talk about strong hands)! I set an appointment to visit my box this week - to get a look at my cards and deposit a few more slabs.

The more mass-produced and recent a product, the more risk you’re assuming of an influx of supply of that product hitting the market. It’s not even so much a matter of retailers having latent stock. The reality is that there are thousands of individuals hoarding modern booster boxes. There is a ton of supply out there, and even though the prices have increased substantially over the past few months, I think most people are still holding off on selling because the prices are still increasing. Once the prices start plateauing, you’ll see a lot more supply hit the market and the prices might dip a bit. And there’s a risk that a large amount of supply hitting the market won’t be absorbed that well. I think this is a significant risk with modern product since people are generally buying it purely for ‘investment’ purposes and not for its own sake. It’s tough for me to tell how much genuine demand exists for it or if the price increases are a result of widespread speculatory ‘investing.’ My bet is on the latter.

I think this is not a risk with older sealed product for a couple of reasons: the latent supply is much, much, lower. What’s the latent supply of 1st Ed. Neo Genesis or EX Delta Species boxes? There’s very little. Second, there is genuine collector interest in WotC and EX-era sets. Those markets are, to a certain extent, also speculatory, but the price increases are largely being driven by organic collector interest.

So, to directly address your question: yes, this is a risk with modern product. I have no clue what the future price trajectory of this stuff will be, nor does anyone else. But what I do know for sure is that the latent supply is much higher and the typical ‘investor’ in modern sealed product has less capital at his/her disposal and so is at greater risk of having to liquidate due to economic pressures.