Was wondering what you guys think about the scarcity of first ed base vs. shadowless on the open market, and do you think shadowless cards will begin to disappear like first edition base?
Scott has said in his videos that shadowless may be more scarce than first edition, but those holding shadowless cards may not see the difference with the shadow and put more value on the first edition symbol. Through a ton of my searches over the last few months I have seen many shadowless cards in people’s collections, but very rarely see first edition base. Interested to see where shadowless will be at in the future. I see PSA 8 holos selling for $40-60 online and that seems super cheap to me
I think it goes straight back to the point you made about many people not knowing about shadowless. 1st edition is unmistakeable so anyone with 1st edition cards, even with little to no Pokémon knowledge, knows that they have 1st edition and can quickly learn that they are more valuable and likely look to sell right away.
Shadowless takes just a tad more know how.
I think 1st edition appear more scarce because people have known about 1st edition to sell and it’s the most popular set with collectors so that naturally reduces availability.
Shadowless seems more plentiful because there is less demand and less track record of people knowing about or caring about shadowless when you’ve had 1st edition this whole time.
I think shadowless will pick up. I think picking up PSA 8-10 now is a good idea.
Shadowless cards are very cheap right now compared to the 1st Ed base. To me, I prefer shadowless instead of 1st Ed because there will be more 1st Ed cards than shadowless cards due to the fake stamps and people playing with the shadowless cards rather than the 1st ed back then (collecting the rarer version).
Shadowless cards have this vibe to it that makes it unique. There are no other sets like it to date. The 1st edition has the coveted stamp which is very collectable but value-for-money-wise, Shadowless is king.
There are already some Shadowless cards that have “disappeared.” Shadowless Chansey has a lower 9 pop than most of the 1st cards have 10 pops. There are so few Shadowless 10s in particular compared to 1st that ever hit eBay. From what I see, Shadowless is much rather than 1st. That being said, the 1st Edition cards have their own identity. They are the 1st Edition. Most people would rather have 1st Edition than Shadowless of any card. Shadowless cards like Chansey and Raichu and possibly Blastoise are just impossible to find in the 10 grade and, assuming the right buyers are there, will easily sell for more than 1st Edition. Shadowless has the numbers on its side but it will always be overshadowed (heh) by the pure collectibility and recognizability of the 1st Edition cards.
At that price, just buying them and putting them in a binder to admiring them is worth it. I have no doubt that the price will reflect its scarcity in the future but for now, we have $10 Shadowess holos for sale ^^
Just keep in mind the PSA population can be deceiving. There are a few things to keep in mind. The PSA Shadowless designation is newer relative to the 1st ed label. 1st ed base has been graded since 1999 and there are likely quite a few shadowless cards with the “unlimited” label.
Another major factor is that 1st ed base has always been the obvious conservative investment since this hobby existed. People have been grading (and regrading) these cards for a long time so the PSA population is more mature and reflective of the true supply of 1st ed base out there. Correct me if I’m wrong, but shadowless has only really boomed in the last few months. These cards may have just been overlooked. For an example of what I mean, I believe it was @scratchdesk who shared a picture of a nice looking shadowless blastoise that he had just thrown aside because it wasn’t 1st ed and was thanking his past self for keeping it. Now that we hit a point where it’s worth grading shadowless cards, we may see a sudden spoke in the number sent in for grading.
Anyway, I’m not trying to make a claim about which one is scarcer, just reminding people that pop is a pretty terrible way of quantifying print numbers.
Shadowless and 1st Edition Base are the same print run. Shadowless was actually the first set printed; then some of those Shadowless cards had the 1st Edition stamp placed on them. Scott talked about this in one of his videos.
I’ve discussed this in the past (in some cases the ancient past), and when I left the hobby there were two theories regarding the amount of Shadowless product.
As background, printing companies always overprint (to account for printing losses), and almost always print to a contractual range. If WOTC wanted 1,000 cases of a product, then the contract might have specified a range of 950 - 1100 cases with WOTC willing to take whatver was produced. Carta Mundi (or any other printer) would have then calculated their likely internal losses and produced some higher figure so that the final amount of good product would be in the contractual range.
In addition, WOTC knew that there would be additional series of Pokemon cards to be printed. So I have no doubt that Carta Mundi printed huge amounts of sheets with the card backs, since that was a separate process, and would be the same for all cards.
The two theories for shadowless print size differ as follows.
Theory 1. The printer printed excess card fronts for the first edition print. In this scenario WOTC had a firm amount of 1st edition it wanted. The excess was held by the printer to be added to the base set unlimited run. When the new artwork for the base unlimited was issued, WOTC made a financial decision to allow the remaining “already printed” shadowless product to be issued with the base unlimited product. In this scenario the amount of shadowless was likely a lower amount than 1st edition, because the printer, even if building inventory (and even if the printer thought unlimited would be the shadowless art work) would probably not have doubled the size of the 1st edition release.
Theory 2. Everything from the initial print run was stamped 1st edition and released. But WOTC was overwhelmed by the immediate popularity of the game. The Base Unlimited artwork and corrections were not ready to be printed, but WOTC needed more product. WOTC had the printer make a second run with the existing (shadowless) artwork, but without the 1st edition stamping. Shadowless was sold until the Base Unlimited artwork was ready for prime time. In this scenario the amount of shadowless was a function of WOTC art approval logistics.
There was no concensus of which theory applied as of 2000-2001. We were hampered by the same problems as now. Shadowless wasn’t easily recognizable except to those who were sensitized to its existence. There was an early Ebay power seller (Gene was his first name, can’t remember the last) who specialized in shadowless in the early 2000’s. If anyone (non WOTC) had a clue about how much was made, it would have been him.
Yeah I’m thinking Shadowless is just extra/leftover sheets from after the 1st Ed print run. As Gary said before, WOTC didn’t waste anything back in the day. This is why you even have 1st Ed cards in some Shadowless packs or odd errors like Ghost Pikachus or No Damage Ninetales in theme decks.
As far as how much product was printed, no one knows for sure. If I had to guess, I would say slightly less than 1st Edition but it could also be more. No one cared that much for Shadowless back in the day when I was collecting and playing. Most of these cards got destroyed so we can’t just base our estimations from pop numbers and such.