I see you, Charizard. I see you.
Who didn't dabble in Pokemon when we were kids?
Honestly, I learned to grind with Pokemon. When I was in 2nd grade, all the other kids had Pokemon cards and played the Gameboy games. My parents were not into it at all. They told me that if I wanted to get Pokemon cards and play the games, I had to earn them. Challenge accepted.
I remember one day the teacher at our after school program brought a box of Pokemon cards to use as prizes. Whoever was best behaved got to pick first. I was in. Got a Machamp holographic (at least that's what we called it back then). Another kid wanted to trade for it. The concept was new to me. He ended up giving me like 10 cards. I could now play the card game. I was basically guaranteed to lose, but I could play. Fire lit.
Most kids get allowances, but my situation was complex. We had a list of 20+ chores that had different values. The harder we worked, the more we earned. A Gameboy Color was $80. Pokemon Yellow was $20. $100 was the goal and I was ready to grind. I think it took me like 6 months, but as I rolled into 3rd grade, I was able to buy my own Gameboy color with my own money. Still proud of that.
What happened to my cards?
Most likely, the same thing that happened to you.
I remember the garage sale. I remember thinking "hey, I'm 13, I could really use some cash". I decided to try to sell them at a garage sale. I brought out a little TV dinner table and a ziplock bag full of my Pokemon cards (I was not ready to consider selling my football cards yet, which were technically worth an infinitely small fraction of what my Pokemon cards would be worth now). A kid walked up, asked how much for the Pokemon cards, my dad said $5 for the whole bag. I said not the whole bag. My dad said, yea, the whole bag, and handed me $5. To be honest, I wasn't even mad. I felt like I got fleeced out of like $15 and I got over it. The truth is that I had everything. I had all of the big cards that you hear about today, including the Charizard. I got all of it by trading and grinding before I knew I was trading and grinding, and then sold it for $5.
I AM DETERMINED TO NOT LET THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO MY BOYS.
I love the hobby and I love ripping packs with my boys. I love football. Truman is 6 and Roman is 4. They each rip a silver box from our Pack Plus Program each month and we have fun talking about the different teams and players. However, Roman only cares if he pulls a Kirk Cousins. A base Kirk Cousins is better than any autograph he could pull. Truman gets it a little more. It's fun! I love being a card dad!
We all know how expensive the hobby is in today's world, and we know how valuable cards can be. With the ability to move cards as efficiently as we do with Brothers In Cards tempts the potential of selling the hits immediately when we pull them. So we do - pretty much everything we pull together from our monthly silver boxes ends up on eBay to help fund the next rip. I know enough about sports cards to keep it a great opportunity throughout their entire lives.
But like I said, I am determined to not let my boys suffer the same fate of having no fruit to their childhood collecting.
Pokemon is a much cheaper and much more reliable investment for kids.
A box of the new 2022 Elite Football costs $275.
A box of the new Lost Origins Pokemon costs $105.
While I personally would rather rip a box of Elite, I know that it's probably a coin toss on whether I will make my money back on my pulls. With Pokemon, I would say I have seen 9/10 times, the cards you pull are worth more than the box. That picture above shows a Giratina Alternate art card worth $250 that the boys and I pulled out of that Lost Origins box. Even if we didn't pull that card, we would have had a minimal loss if any loss at all.
I would also argue that the boys enjoy the Pokemon rip sessions more. There are more packs. There are more "hits" (they call them "specials"). They love the art and the colors. They love hunting for Charizard and Pikachu. It's cheaper fun, to be honest.
So here is my Pokemon strategy:
From time to time (basically every time a new product releases), the boys and I will rip a 36-pack booster box. I google (like a newbie) the Top 10 cards to hit from each product. If we hit one, I sit it back to grade when I am ready to send a bulk order to PSA. I honestly do not care about the condition. We put the hits in top loaders and we put one of each base card in binders. We put the rest in a 2 row.
I plan on continuing these Pokemon rip sessions for as long as they enjoy them. From what I understand, Pokemon gets hot every 5 years when the new anniversary comes around. Truman will turn 15 on an anniversary year. Roman will be 13. At that time, 9 years from now, we will pull out all of the cards we have pulled together over the years. There will be graded cards. The non graded cards will be in significantly better shape than all the cards we had when we were kids. To date, I believe we have spent less than $1,000 over the last year and we have significantly more in value from the cards we have pulled.
They will have work to do, but they will have assets that they can turn into real cash. I believe that Pokemon cards will pay for Truman's first car. I believe that when my boys are in their teenage years, they will have a real opportunity to foster their entrepreneurial bloodline. I still have a lot to learn about Pokemon, but we are having a great time in the stage we are in and I truly believe there will be benefits in the future!