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Lorcana? More like Lorcan'ta Print Enough Cards

Lorcana? More like Lorcan'ta Print Enough Cards
September 14, 2023
Dylan Dittrich

Photo: Ravensburger

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Excuse us while we dodge the tomatoes hurled at us from the audience for that awesomely horrific pun in the title.

Over the past few weeks, the trading card game category has been set alight for a new product in a way that evokes memories of the early days of Pokémon. In mid-August, Disney Lorcana, a collectible card game manufactured by Ravensburger in collaboration with Walt Disney, began to trickle to market in highly limited quantities. With cards featuring characters from throughout Disney's history, these were sure to be a sought-after commodity for multiple generations of collectors.

It's common for those earlier, local game store-focused releases to carry very limited stock and for that constrained supply to inspire a secondary market frenzy. Wait for the big box retailers, they said. On September 1st, enough supply will hit the market for prices to crater, they said.

There was not enough supply.

Across collectible categories, a softer market has seen resellers starved for action in recent months. For the first time in a few years, typically popular sports card releases are just gathering dust on retail shelves, even meriting discounts. When a suddenly hot product like Lorcana comes along, that opportunity won't be squandered, and competition for the product at any retail venue will be incredibly stiff.

While big box stores wouldn't necessarily see much booster box inventory, pricing of booster boxes was completely impervious to the influx of new card supply. According to data from TCGPlayer, prices for Disney Lorcana: The First Chapter Booster Boxes have actually increased 13.5% to $413 since August 31st, versus an MSRP of $143.99.

Booster packs, which you would expect to be directly impacted by big box inventory, have inched up in price by nearly 3% to just over $16. MSRP for the packs is $5.99. In anticipation of the large retailer release, those prices did fall to a trough just above $13 in late August, but as release day approached, the market quickly realized that acquiring packs wasn't getting any easier in the short term.

The restocks aren't over, though, and it's been said there will be second and perhaps even third waves of printing for The First Chapter. It's believed there won't be any distinguishing attributes to those prints versus the initial run. In that regard, Lorcana would be a departure from Pokémon, and some of this early speculative activity could ultimately look short-sighted and foolish. Regardless, there will be rarities from this first set that might offer greater staying power than the field.

The rarest Lorcana cards are "Enchanted" cards, of which there are 12. All 12 are mostly selling for more than $200, led by Elsa from Frozen, which currently costs over $700 and has occasionally registered sales in excess of $1,000. The prices continue to climb on average as these cards make their way out of packs and onto the market.

While many Lorcana cards will find their way into decks to be used for the actual game (a novel idea!), the next stop for rarities will be a slab. While graders have begun to build a population of Lorcana promo cards, graded examples from The First Chapter have yet to accumulate. An early report from CGC Cards indicates they have graded just 47 cards from the set, inclusive of 18 Enchanted cards.

Should the game not only take off but also sustain its popularity, the promo cards could be Lorcana's forever grails. The six cards released at last year's D23 remain a hot commodity, and when in high graded condition, they routinely command four-figure sums, as does a Mickey Mouse card given out for free at the expo (the first Lorcana card ever revealed). The six cards that were available for purchase each carry PSA populations just over 400 and CGC populations below 20.

While the early fanfare is no doubt equal parts exciting for fans and hard on wallets, the success of the cards as collectibles ultimately depends on Lorcana's acceptance as a popular game. For that to be possible, cards need to be available for purchase while the buzz still roars.

Do we really want to isolate Elsa from the public again? We all know how that went. Poorly.

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