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Pokemon: Illustrator Pikachu Card Explained

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  • Posted on 08th Apr, 2022 18:00 PM

Logan Paul has just got himself a Guinness World Record for owning the most expensive Pokemon card ever sold, the elusive Illustrator Pikachu card.

p>Dropping just a few months after the original games, the first set of Pokemon trading cards have become legendary in the collecting world. What was just a trading card game is now the pride and joy of many enthusiasts' collections, with some original cards fetching for thousands at auction now. Among the shadowless holographic Charizards and 1st edition Lugias, there's one particularly elusive card that rarely shows its face: the Illustrator Pikachu card.

While the original base set of 1st edition Pokemon cards are fairly sought after, the Illustrator Pikachu card is on a whole other level. Belonging to the subsect of Pokemon cards that were awarded as part of a competition, the Illustrator Pikachu card is currently the most expensive single Pokemon trading card, with a PSA 10 card selling for over $5 million.

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The Origins of the Illustrator Pikachu Card

A year after the first set of Pokemon cards were released, in November 1997, a contest took place in the CoroCoro Comic, a monthly Japanese Manga magazine. Called the "Pokemon Card Game Illust Artist Contest," this competition tasked readers with drawing their own Pokemon card and sending it into the magazine.

In the January 1998 issue of the CoroCoro Comic, three winners were chosen, who each received 20 Pokemon cards featuring their own illustration along with one copy of the Illustrator Pikachu card. 20 more contestants were chosen to receive an "Excellence Award," which landed them a copy of the Illustrator Pikachu card.

In the May of 1998, another contest was held by the Manga magazine, this time titled "Mewtwo's Counterattack Comemmoration Illust Artist Contest." June 1998 saw another CoroCoro Comic competition, named "Pikachu's Summer Vacation Commemoration Illust Artist Contest."

These competitions both asked readers to draw their own Pokemon card, and also come up with their own attacks. Excellence Awards and Best Awards were handed out to 16 individuals, who each received a copy of the Illustrator Pikachu card.

Officially, only 39 Illustrator Pikachu cards were distributed in total, leading it to be the rarest Pokemon card in existence. Although there has been an instance of more cards appearing on auction, as in 2020, two more Illustrator Pikachus were sold by Yuichi Konno, one of the original creators of the Pokemon trading card game. It's still unclear just how many Illustrator Pikachu cards are out there.

The Most Expensive Pokemon Card Ever Sold

Back in 2013, a Pokemon Illustrator Pikachu card sold for $100,000. In 2019, an Illustrator Pikachu card was sold for $195,000. This card was graded a 9 out of 10 by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA,) meaning that it's exceptionally close to being mint. A few years ago, infamous vlogger Logan Paul got his hands on a PSA 9 Illustrator Pikachu card.

In July 2021, Logan Paul traded his PSA 9 card for a PSA 10 version, a completely mint, undamaged card. On top of trading his PSA 9 card, which was estimated to be worth around $1million, Paul also paid out $4million to the seller, resulting in the PSA 10 version costing just over $5million.

In a pretty shocking move, Logan Paul wore the PSA 10 Illustrator Pikachu card around his neck during his WWE debut, taking it off just before he entered the ring. Backstage, Paul was handed a Guinness World Record for the "Most Expensive Trading Card Sold at a Private Sale." Right now, Logan Paul is the sole owner of a PSA 10 Illustrator Pikachu trading card.

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