Hey, I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me (possibly with additional resources) about how the Pokemon market has been doing over the years? I’ve been in it now for just over a year and all I have personally seen is prices rising, but I don’t think it has been that way forever, does anyone have some simple timeline of any big spikes, big crashes, etc.? To avoid confusion I’ll note that I’m talking about collector cards here, so valuable cards that are out of print for a while.
Bonus question: If someone knows whether sites exist that track all Ebay prices of specific cards over the years then that would be great too!
To give you an idea I got back into collecting in 2010 or so. WOTC booster boxes were apparently really cheap in 2008 and before. At the time I entered there was some steady growth. I was buying WOTC boxes around $100-150 in some cases (Gym Heroes, Rocket, and Jungle come to mind). My first purchase was 20 Fossil packs for $2.50 each. The supply on the market was much greater and there was much less competition.
If I remember HGSS wasn’t the most popular (despite great artwork imo). I noticed some growth probably around B&W then more after Sun and Moon and GO (obviously). Big increases over 2016 and 2017. I think new game releases always give the secondary market sales a bump.
That’s interesting to hear! Such stories are definitely helping me to form a bigger picture, $100-$150 for WOTC is crazy, that’s pretty much the retail price when it was being sold?
Was there an idea already back then that Pokemon was possibly going to be as big as it is now regarding value?
I’m also trying to find out whether I can make my money back if I ever stop collecting, has the market increased every year? The margin does not matter a lot, a 5% increase is pretty good I think, though more is better. I have heard a story of a price drop a few years ago, but not sure anymore on what cards it was, whether it had a specific cause and how big of a drop it was?
It would be wonderful if a robust source of price points going back several years were spreadsheeted for everyone to see.
I can’t imagine how someone could conclude that the growth in the market for Pokemon cards since 2016 is healthy, sustainable, or lasting without relying on the kind of data you’ve requested. Could anyone who believes that share what data you rely on or how you arrive at your conclusion?
This was an excellent question, in my opinion, Skiwi!
For the past few months someone on E4 is tracking the price changes on sealed boxes. Which gives a good indication on what sealed product is doing on 3-month intervals.
With PSA cards, you should check the PSA graded thread. It tracks all the ‘new’ graded PSA 8, 9, 10’s for all WotC sets. It can help you guessing a price, but that’s about it. The increase of how much Base Set is being graded just in past 12 months is kinda insane.
Kinda can’t find the thread right now, but they can help out to some degree.
I agree with Gray that looking at historical prices doesn’t really do much good if your intentions are to forecast the future few years of the hobby. Your best information will be more of the recent trend and how you assess the forces behind the trend. The market is simply different in 2010, for example, than now.
My opinion and how I’ve positioned myself is the belief that Pokémon will be around for the long haul, with more individuals returning to the hobby with more disposable income and also newcomers who will look into the WoTC era, but otherwise started in later eras, AND possibly some higher-end cross collectors now that Pokémon is beginning to register on the radar of those folks, and all that should help drive the market for the next few years, maybe even 10.
It would be nice to see the trend in the past few years, but till we get someone who can set up a open-source database and teach me how I can input data, these random tables we all have individually will not be super helpful. I like to see charts, pretty charts! We could maybe get a kick-starter going and hire some great Silicon Valley CS major who likes to setup such a database. Though how do we get reliable historical data to input and how does the process of new data points get input are questions as well. Or we just start now and basically input data from confirmed sales and all eBay sales. This will just get the ball rolling. This database will just become more valuable the longer it exists. The sooner we start, the less work we will have. LOL.
It’s actually easier to do this than you think. I’ve written the code in my spare time to automatically scrape ebay and throw the listings in a database. I haven’t been running the code though. Maybe in the future
Yes, parsing was a bit harder, pages are pretty uniform though. A few weird oddities to watch out for like buy it now vs auction. Trying to grab the description is hard. But overall it was still a relatively easy task assuming one knows how to work with strings.
I just made a hash map of interesting features and threw it into mongoDB.
One of the hardest tasks is knowing what search pages to scrape (what search keys? “pokemon psa”?) And trying to classify the data in a meaningful way for analysis (ex. Trying to differentiate a “charizard psa 10” from a “no charizard psa 10?”). I was thinking about potentially using a machine learning approach for classification but that ideally would mean I need a lot of training data.
There certainly wasn’t as much money involved back then so it was more of just something to do for fun. I bought a lot of packs and boxes that I opened without a second thought (Skyridge, Neo Destiny, Neo Discovery, Gym Heroes). A lot of people were liquidating storage units which I believe we have seen less of in the past couple years.
I would say people viewed it as an investment back then but grading wasn’t a huge thing. Once grading caught on more I think there was just more money involved in general.
Has the market increased every year? As a whole I would say yes, at least from the time I began collecting (2010 onward). Individual cards had increases AND decreases. Most of the time I think this was due to PSA population increases and market availability. Knowledge of the hobby has also grown so the market also changed as new information became available. Sealed product from WOTC and the original EX era have always been on the rise, however, the EX era boxes had a sharper increase at one point (2013ish?). This increase may have been in part due to the “race for a PSA 10 Gold Star set” but that’s a different story…
Interesting thoughts! I’ve been thinking about setting up an eBay database too, I’ve already got something going for the PSA pop report, but classification is going to be the most difficult part and I’m not quite sure yet how.
The most “scary” trend that I’ve seen in the last year is that everything has just been rising and I’m not sure whether it is correct to conclude that this will be the case for forever, but if you look at the neighboring sports market, then they seem to be doing pretty well!