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The Curious Case of an Autographed Pokémon Card that Worth $110,000

By Weilin Li
Nov. 15, 2022 updated 10:30

Two months ago, famous Japanese illustrator Naoki Saito signed his autograph on a rare Pokemon trading card. The artist doesn't give out his signature very often, and at that time, a fan named "Akira" expressed gratitude and firmly promised the artist that he "will cherish it for the rest of his life."

Saito was touched and believed Akira's words, and it's not difficult to imagine how frustrated and surprised when Saito found this precious card displayed in a shop for 16 million JPY (~110,000 USD) in Akihabara.

Saito said sadly on Twitter after seeing the picture: "I thought that if I signed your name, it would not be resold. I will not be able to sign for others in the future, and now I don't want to see anyone... Akira, I still remember your face clearly."

“Regarding the reselling of autograph cards, I was thoroughly taking measures to put the name of the person in question, but it was unexpected. It's my property, so I don't have the right to say anything about it. It's just that I'm afraid for a while and it's difficult for me to appear in public, so I'm in trouble.”

“AKIRA! I remember your face well!!!”

Naoki Saito is a certified Pokémon artist, and his illustration tutorial videos also attracted both Japanese and Chinese fans.

The circulating Pokémon card is Lillie, a prize for the Pokémon card event "Extra Battle Day" held in 2019. The card effect itself is the same as the ordinary card, but the special illustration drawn by Saito made it sought-after and highly valuable.

Some screenshots are circulating among Chinese Pokemon Trading Cards fans, in which one of the speaker claiming to be Akira, says he "valued the card but it's foolish to refuse the good price he gets".

However, we could not verify the credibility of these screenshots or the identity of the speakers. During our research, we found that the card appeared in a Douyin (TikTok) video.

The creator claims they were "unboxing a 2 million JPY (~14,300 USD) lucky bag from a card store that went out of business" and uncovered the prized Lillie card with Saito's autograph. They seem to be genuinely surprised by the finding, and the comments below the video speculated about the pack's actual value.

Even though it's only been two months, the Pokémon card may have come a long way in Japan, with multiple price hikes. We see some comments stating that the 2 million Yen lucky bag was a bust, but if the card can really be sold at 16 million Yen, it's simple math to see how profitable this business is.

Akira's Twitter account was deleted without issuing any statement. We hope Akira didn't intentionally try to profit from the artist's goodwill and kindness, but there's no way to tell.