The summer into fall of 2020 saw some very interesting auction results for old Pokemon cards. The upward trend seemed to kick off with the sale of an extremely rare Trainer card at a Heritage auction in July for $90,000 (see "Video Games, Pokemon TCG Cards"). However, the real fireworks came in September when a sealed Pokemon 1st Edition booster box went for $198,000 (see "Heritage Auctions Offers First Edition Sealed 'Pokemon' Box, High-Grade Video Games, and Lower Grade Bucket-List Comics at Their September Auction"). It was later revealed that the box was purchased by a YouTuber named Logan Paul, who has 22.6 million followers, when he live-streamed the opening of the box. The box-opening video now has 9.9 million views as of the publication of this article.
In October, Iconic Auctions dropped the hammer on a 1999 1st Edition Shadowless holographic Charizard #4 card graded as Gem Mint 10 by PSA (see "Famed Rapper Logic Buys Gem Mint 10 Charizard 'Pokemon' TCG Card At Auction For $220,574"). This time, an unusual situation happened, where the identity of a couple of the bidders were made public while the auction was going on. Rapper Logic and Paul were both releasing social media posts about bidding up the card while the auction was occurring. Logic eventually won the card over Paul, at an astronomical number, and went off onto to Instagram to make a heartfelt post about his purchase which garnered more than 400,000 Likes.
Then, on October 15, Logan Paul released a video about his recent visit to Las Vegas to meet with a man referred to as Gary, "The Pokemon King." Gary is a heavyweight among collectors of Pokemon card collectors, and had once tried to sell his collection to Rick Harrison on an episode of Pawn Stars. Paul ended up purchasing a Beckett-Graded Pristine Gold 10 Charizard from Gary for $150,000 in the video, which got 6.5 million-plus views.
The potential hype generated by Paul's media machine is likely having a trending effect on desirability of certain Pokemon singles and sealed product. Beyond millions of views he's garnered for his videos, he has also gotten other YouTubers, like Gary Vee and Andrew Shane a.k.a. "Randolph Pokemon," into the fray by making cross-promotion videos. Paul has also admitted to buying these cards as an investment on one of his recent YouTube videos:
"I have no doubt in my mind this card will be worth a million dollars between two and three years from now. They are called appreciating assets. I'm done by Lamborghinis, I'm done buying stuff that won't make me money."
In this respect, high-end Pokemon cards are a "doubly-blessed" asset for Paul. Not only can he enjoy the cards while they appreciate, but he can also use them to generate ad revenue on YouTube as well as add value to his purchases' provenance through his videos.