Hello ChannelFireball readers! Today I’ll be going over a variety of topics in a news format article. There’ll be an update on Shining Fates, some recent actions of the grading companies and Logan Paul’s 1st Edition Base Set booster box openings.
Before I get started, I just wanted to remind everyone that while I do consider myself to be very informed, everyone should make their own decisions after doing their own research. I would hate for someone to blindly make decisions based off information in this article and then have a poor outcome. For disclosure, I do not have a single Shining Fates card now – however, I do have a large number of 1st Edition Base Set cards.
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Shining Fates Update
The demand for Shining Fates is at least on par with Hidden Fates upon its release, perhaps even exceeding that. The singles are doing well, sealed product prices are very high and everyone and their mom wants to crack some packs. While it’s great to see for the brand, it creates a frustrating experience for some Pokemon lovers due to the difficulty of obtaining anything. It seems like the product set to release on March 5 is just going to get gobbled up and lumped in with the rest of the already released stuff.
Now that I have shared my thoughts on the current demand, I just wanted to provide some bullet points on the main product prices. These prices are current as of March 3, 2021.
- Packs – $11.50
- Elite Trainer Boxes – $108
- Premium Collection Boxes – $105
- Skyla – $57
- Charizard VMAX – $500
- Suicune – $54
- Galarian Ponyta – $19
Now some bullet points discussing these prices and comparing them to my thoughts in previous articles:
- Packs are about where I thought they would be right now. I do expect these to decrease in value as product truly rolls out, but then to increase over time. Most of the sealed products will follow this trend in my opinion.
- Look, I had a lot of confidence in Skyla, but I did not expect the price to be $57 right off the rip – sheesh. I expect this card to be valuable in the long run, so the price does not surprise me, it is just shocking how fast it reached this figure. A dip in the short-term is possible, but it will not drop to where any of the other Supporters are at right now.
- Speaking of other Supporters, they are all in the $6-$20 range. Some might even drop further. In the long run, though, this seems cheap, especially for the ones with more iconic artwork. I expect these to follow similar trends to the full art Supporters of the past. My personal favorite of these is Poke Kid, as it seems to have the most potential since it features Eevee.
- Everyone’s favorite Charizard VMAX has dropped about $300 since release, from $800 to $500. This was clearly going to happen; it literally does this every single time. I would not be surprised to see this card hit the $300 range in the coming months. Over time it will regain its value and flip its trajectory around though.
- Shiny Suicune, holy cow. This is by far the most expensive baby shiny, even if you include the ones from Hidden Fates in this comparison. I expect this price to decrease in the coming months, but I am not as confident in that as I am with other predictions.
- Baby shinies! They are doing about as they expected, except the Suicune mentioned above. The more popular ones are $15-$18 and it scales down from there until you hit the bottom at around $4 a card. Most of these will decrease in price, as did the Hidden Fates ones, which were around $1 for most of them at one point. They then recovered nicely over time. I expect these shinies to act similarly.
- Finally, we have the other shiny VMAX cards of the set. They are doing exactly how I thought they would be doing. Ditto and Lapras are sitting at around $30 and all the others are $10-$15. I expect these prices to decrease in the short-term and then increase in the long run. I am basing this off what happened with Hidden Fates and how similarly this set has acted thus far.
PSA Raises Submission Prices
PSA announced a price change for submitting cards recently, which ultimately resulted in the price nearly doubling at every service level. I say nearly simply because I am only familiar with some of the service levels, as I have never used anything above express, but those very well may have seen this increase as well. The two service levels I want to pay the most attention to are their bulk and regular submissions services, as I feel those two are the most popular currently and they are the ones I have made use of the most out of what is still available.
As for the bulk service, going from $10 to $20 is a severe increase for what it is. The bulk service is meant for lower end cards, as it has a price cap and requires a minimum number of cards. The fact of the matter here is that price increase kills margins for resellers and even makes collectors submitting through this method sort of unreasonable.
This even hurts the regular service quite a bit as well, as it was already rough paying $50 for anything above bulk since the economy service was removed. The regular service was not a great replacement, but this price change kills any resemblance of a midrange service. Paying $100 per card has got to be reserved for high-end cards and you can’t submit things in the bulk category that exceed the price cap, so you aren’t really left with any real options here.
I don’t speak for everyone and I am certain that PSA will continue to get a lot of businesses, but there is no chance I will be submitting with PSA while the prices are as they are now. It just doesn’t make sense for me and I have already been straying away from them due to their long turnaround times. PSA is a great company, I have a very large number of cards with them, but their current prices and turnaround times are just not consumer-friendly and I feel a lot of people will agree with me on that.
I am sure you all are wondering what the reasoning behind the price increases are and to me that answer is obvious. These are just my personal thoughts, I have no inside information, but here comes my reasoning for all of this. It is no secret that PSA has been very behind on returning submissions, hence the long turnaround times and previous price increases (much smaller ones). Additionally, they now have a banner on their website that states they are receiving so many submissions that the processing times have been impacted. They were already impacted to the point of taking nearly a month to be officially processed, but the banner now warns of a three month wait. This, along with the price increases, signals to me that they simply cannot handle the number of submissions they are getting. The price increase will help to deter people from submitting cards, which will hopefully help them get caught up, while the increased cost per card will help PSA continue to make money. Now, in my mind this is a temporary thing while they get everything under control and continue their plans for expansion. Ideally, they figure everything out and can offer lower prices and quicker turnaround times eventually. However, if the submissions just keep on piling in, it would be difficult for the company to justify lowering their prices when they are getting the same amount of business at double the pricing. With, it should be interesting to see how this plays out – I am hoping for the best.
Now, I just wanted to touch on a point that I constantly see brought up when it comes to turnaround times, grading companies and delays. People always say “well they could just hire more people” or ask why the companies don’t just do so. The issue with this is that they can do that for some of the positions that need additional workers, but they can’t just hire more graders off the street. People they hire for grading need to have advanced trading card knowledge and/or to have received extensive training prior to doing any real work. Having the knowledge that is required is not a common thing, which is why the average Joe off the street could not fill the position. I don’t know the specifics behind their training guidelines, but I imagine that would be a slow process, meaning it would not help immediately and could even be underway currently. There is no way of knowing what they are doing for sure, but simply hiring a bunch of people is not as simple a fix as some people think.
CGC Prices Increased, Turnaround Times Increasing, Payment Flexibility
Before I get started, I just wanted to say that some of what I said above applies here, as for why the turnaround times are increasing and the difficulty of hiring more employees. Though, there are some major differences here that I plan to address.
CGC announced their price increases about a month ago now, but with PSA announcing theirs and CGC turnaround times increasing further, I felt it worth discussing here.
As for the price increases, the bulk portion is what I am going to focus on here, though I know that prices were increased for other services as well. It was announced that bulk submission levels were going to be increased from $8 to $9 and that subgrades were being increased from $5 to $7. Obviously, these are not the biggest increases we have seen, but when submitting a lot of cards, the cost increases really add up. They are still the cheapest option and they provide a good service, so I am content with how things are even after the increases. Hopefully, prices do not continue to increase further, though, as that would be getting to the point where submitting under the bulk service level is no longer worth it.
As for the turnaround times, the only thing officially announced is that orders containing subgrades would be delayed an additional five days to what was listed on the turnaround time estimation. This makes sense, as I am sure subgrades add a little extra work. Increasing the price and turnaround times of subgrades help to deter people from getting subgrades on literally everything without thinking about it, which is part of what clogs up the assembly line. Outside of the small additional waiting period for subgrades, the turnaround times have increased substantially. Bulk started off at 30 days and then doubled to 60 days and today it is sitting at 77 days. This is obviously much quicker than PSA and BGS, but it still much higher than it was in the past.
Lastly, the one cool thing to come out of the price increases is the payment flexibility that they offer now. Instead of paying for the grading fees when they receive the submission, you now pay for them when the cards reach the grading step. You still must pay the fees of course, but with turnaround times taking almost three months, it is nice to not have that money tied up as you are waiting for your cards to return.
When CGC first got involved with Pokemon, they said they were not going to raise prices or increase turnaround times. While they have obviously not stuck to their word on this, the increases have not been that bad overall and I believe they have every intention of decreasing the turnaround time.
Logan Paul’s 1st Edition Base Set Box Openings
A couple weeks ago, Logan revealed he had a whopping six 1st Edition Base Set booster boxes. The last time he opened just one, prices of the set increased and there was a ton of hype around it. At the point of his announcement, I had just purchased a bunch of 1st Edition Base Set cards and I decided to purchase some more once I heard what was happening. This is because I consider the investment to be very low risk and I considered the situation to be high reward as well.
Anyways, as for the opening itself, the packs were auctioned off individually this time, as opposed to the flat $11,111 cost per pack that was offered last time. The increase in cost per pack was very significant this time, as it more than tripled! This just goes to show how the price of 1st Edition Base Set has developed, along with how many people are interested in it now. The price per pack is very expensive and sadly means a lot of people can’t participate, but the fact of the matter is that these packs reached their price point because of people bidding on them. The fact that they get to be featured during a popular stream and know that their product is guaranteed legit certainly helps the price as well.
Honestly, especially with the sealed product, I only expect 1st Edition Base Set to continue going up. Packs are already pricy and scarce and that is not going to change. It is just impossible for that to change because Pokemon is not going to print more and the demand will always be there for the small amount that is left. I do not see the cards getting cheaper either.
That review of the 1st Edition Base Set happenings is going to be it for this one, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the article and maybe even learned a thing or two, as I did try to include something for everyone here. If this article seems like it was well received, I will write more of these in the future whenever there is enough news to create one. With, if you have anything to say about it, feel free to leave a comment down below. I always try to respond, I love hearing from you all and as always, I am taking article topic suggestions if you have something you really want to read about. I will be back next week with another article, until then I hope you all are able to keep up with the madness that is the current hype around Pokemon. Until then, peace!