Life

Fake Pokemon Cards Sold to YouTubers for £290,000

This a deeply serious crime and no one should find it funny.
October 29, 2020, 1:46pm
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Photo: Julio Etchart / Alamy Stock Photo

Good news for those of you who enjoy laughing at the misfortune of wealthy people: a group of investors tried to spend $375,000 (£290,345) on a set of Pokémon cards, only to discover they were fake.

Why I'm a Full-Grown Adult Who Still Loves 'Pokemon'

The trading of Pokémon cards has become a booming collector’s economy. Earlier this year, rapper Logic spent £173,000 on a rare Charizard card. One Pokémon card – the “Pikachu Illustrator”, of which only 34 copies were ever issued – was recently sold at an auction in New York for $195,000.

Pokémon cards have clearly come a long way from trading your Dairylea Dunkers for a classmate’s Bulbosaur “shiny” back in the playground – and while they might not have the same cultural cachet as vintage cars or Impressionist paintings, they’re a growing area of interest for investors.

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Which is exactly why YouTube vloggers and investment collective Dumb Money (comprising Chris Camillo, Dave Hanson and Jordan Mclain) were determined to buy a set. These guys approach financial investment with an attitude you can imagine someone, somewhere, describing as “refreshingly irreverent”.

Their bio, which is annoying enough to turn Elon Musk into a committed Marxist-Leninist, reads: “We’re just like you, but we found a way to turn tens of THOUSANDS into tens of MILLIONS. How? Not by working. We quit our jobs to invest our own money. We find investment ideas in our real lives.”

Having ordered a set of Pokémon cards, the group unboxed the package on a live video stream, describing it as “a historic day for Dumb Money, and Pokémon… it’s kind of a big deal”. The vloggers said it was set to be the most expensive transaction in Pokémon history, which is exciting stuff indeed.

However, 35 minutes into the hour-long video, the guys discover – to their horror – that the cards are not what was promised at all. Not only are some of them not first-edition, some of the packs are open, and all of them have been resealed, rendering them basically worthless. “That’s a major fucking issue!” one of the guys exclaims.

While the investors themselves hadn’t made the transaction yet, and will emerge from this debacle financially unscathed, one of their associates had already dropped a cool $100,000 on the cards.

The video serves as a chilling reminder that, in this business, one should always, always buy PSA/BGA graded cards. This is basic stuff, guys. Come on.