On November 5, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You was released to theaters across the United States to celebrate the anime's 20th anniversary. Billed as a loose retelling of the show's first two seasons, it's packaged nostalgia for those of us lucky enough to be children at the height of Pokémania.
But it also raises important questions.
If nearly 20 years have passed since Pokémon: The First Movie's release, does that mean it's time to check in on our childhood Pokémon cards? Should we dig our old binders out of storage? Should we see if our predictions about the cards growing worth were right? The answer to all of these questions is, of course, yes.
It's been nearly two decades since the 'First Generation' of English Pokémon Cards launched. These sets focus on the original 151 Pokémon and were released from early 1999 to July 2000. In order, they include Base Set, Jungle, Fossil, Base Set 2, Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, and Gym Challenge.
The good news is their values have generally risen since their release.
A representative from Collector's Cache, a leader in online Pokémon Card selling, told SYFY WIRE that while "there are periods when [their value] has stagnated… it's now just a steady rise with scarcity increasing." There are many standout rare cards from these sets, as well.
The most valuable card on Collector's Cache in this early generation is a 1st Edition (read: limited release) Base Set, Holo Charizard, which retails for just under $600. The following nine most valuable cards are similarly 1st Edition Holos from Base Set, ranging from prices of $314.99 (Blastoise) to $98.99 (Chansey).
Of course, even a 'heavily played' regular edition Base Set Charizard (this is the one we all drooled over about during recess) currently retails for $34.99 on the site, showing that your cards don't have to be super rare to be valuable. Many Holos and Rares in these first sets routinely sell in the $10-50 range on the site. Lesser cards can also be worth significant money in bulk. If you're looking to sell them, there are more than a few good options available — though you should be careful how you unload them.
Last year, around the release of Pokémon Go, a few articles about Pokémon card valuation appeared. These were mostly based on eBay asking prices. This method fails to take into account how much money the seller actually earned in the transaction. If you are looking to figure out how much you can consistently earn for your cards on eBay, then you should look for how much similar cards sold for.
Outside of eBay, there are a handful of reputable sites that will buy your cards from you, including TrollandToad, PokeOrder, and even Collector’s Cache for unopened packs. I've sold cards in this manner in the past. It's generally the quickest way to offload them in bulk, though I recommend doing a trial run with less valuable cards first to see how the process works.
And if you plan on keeping them around, that same representative from Collector's Cache suggests storing them in a "cool, dark place with low humidity" and in plastic sleeves. As fans grow older, and the cards' value steadily rise, now's a good time to make sure they're stored properly. Whether you do this for nostalgia's sake or your own future earnings is up to you.