Last month, Logan Paul, huge Pokémon fan, boxer, and semi-retired YouTuber who has done some questionable things for the vlog, was very excited to acquire a case of six First Edition Base Set Pokémon card booster boxes for $3.5 million. This was a holy grail-type purchase: For years, the Pokémon fan community has wondered if any undiscovered unopened cases like this even still existed.
It turns out, maybe it didn’t exist after all.
According to an extremely thorough investigation by Pokémon fan news site PokeBeach, several clues tipped off the Pokemon fan community that this set might be inauthentic. Paul eventually bought the cards after a series of sales last year. The case originally popped up on eBay in March 2021, when the Pokemon card market was hotter than its ever been. And yet, the seller, number1pokemonmaster, chose to sell on eBay rather than Sothebys or some other highly reputable auction house (eBay is fine, but it’s rare for a collectible worth literally millions of dollars to be sold there, as PokeBeach points out.)
number1pokemonmaster had very little feedback, and their account is seemingly no longer active at all. The seller had three different stories for where he got the cards: from an old woman’s estate sale in Canada, for his 12th birthday, and abandoned in an attic. The box originally sold to the highest bidder for $72,500, but the deal fell through when the seller refused to allow the buyer to inspect the cards themselves. And the box was authenticated by a company called Baseball Card Exchange, which doesn’t have expertise in Pokemon cards.
Maybe the most damning evidence presented by PokeBeach was that the barcode on the box doesn’t match the printed product code. The label also isn’t faded, as labels made in the 90s from the card maker Wizards of the Coast typically are.
The fact that it was even on eBay at all was suspicious—selling such a valuable item outside of an auction house, and then mailing it to the buyer for $30 via Canada Post, were other red flags. Also, if it were real, fans would have recognized its value and bid way over the $72,000 price; single packs from this set have been selling for between $7,000 and $12,000; have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A booster case has six booster boxes of 36 packs each, meaning that this auction was for 216 individual packs of cards and thus should have—if authentic—sold for much more than $72,000. The box eventually went to a buyer called cardkahuna, who was the one to authenticate it through Baseball Card Exchange; cardkahuna flipped it to another buyer for $2.7 million, who then sold it to Paul for $3.5 million.
Paul made a video about receiving the cards in December, where he says it’s the “only known one in the world.” As PokeBeach points out, that’s not even true: Collector Gary Haase also owns a Base Set. Basically, no one in this situation seems to know what they’re talking about.
After several outlets reported on PokeBeach’s findings, Paul tweeted that he was going to get his purchase properly verified:
“update on this: I’m flying to Chicago this weekend to verify the case with BBCE, the company who insured its authenticity,” he wrote. “to be continued…”
Paul did not immediately respond to a request for comment.