Auction Action by Altan Insights: April 1, 2021

This week on Auction Action, the Altan Insights team virtually visited Heritage Auctions to review their March 2021 Trading Cards Special Online Auction. The auction was highlighted by the First Edition Pokémon booster boxes, which offered direct comps to recent offerings on Rally. 

Note that all final prices from the March 2021 Trading Cards Auction include Heritage’s 20% buyer’s premium.


On January 4th, Rally IPO’d a 1999 Pokémon First Edition Jungle Booster Box at a $34,500 market cap. Heritage Auctions sold a box for $19,200 on March 26th, which shows a continuation of a pullback that started in January 2021. After 2020 closed with an unprecedented surge, with the final realized prices of Jungle boxes exploding from $9,600 to $28,800 in just over two months, the market appears to be settling. The first sale occurred fourteen days into the new year, with a final hammer price of $26,400. This week’s sale represents a 27% decrease from the January price, but investors should also consider that the $19,200 sale is still a 100% premium from the $9,600 price tag struck less than 200 days ago. 


Rally IPO’d a 2000 Pokémon Team Rocket Booster Box for $28,500 on March 11th, which had limited comps outside of eBay and PWCC. Heritage offering a similar box that struck a final price of $19,200, which is a 128% increase from the winning bid realized at their September auction. The trajectory of the Rocket box remains positive with the past four realized valuations at Heritage increasing consistently and the latest sale signaling a breakout from the 2020 price range. While the $19,200 sale still trails the $28,500 valuation on Rally, PWCC has closed multiple sales over the $20,000 threshold with one reaching $25,100 on December 30th.


The third booster box up for auction at Heritage that also IPO’d at Rally was the 1999 First Edition Fossil Set. The sealed box currently has a $21,000 valuation on Rally and is slated to begin trading at the end of April. Boxes from the set have sold at Heritage six times over the past year and also experienced the late 2020 breakout, similar to Jungle and Rocket. From July to September, Fossil appreciated by 17.4%, before the November 19th sale which closed at $18,000, setting a new personal record for the Fossil Box at Heritage. The $18,000 mark was again hit in January, and the March sale resulted in a 13.3% decline from the peak. The final hammer price of this auction is still a 92.6% premium over September and shows a consistent uptrend in the set.

The continued positive trend of the Rocket box is a strong signal that the Pokémon market still has momentum heading into the second quarter of 2021. While both the Fossil and Jungle boxes experienced pullbacks from their prior highs, investors should continue to follow upcoming auctions to see if prices stabilize or rebound.


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