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Home > Lang. Arts > The $3.5 Million Dollar Pokemon Disaster

The $3.5 Million Dollar Pokemon Disaster

This article describe the 2021-2022 massive fraud involving Logan Paul's purchase of a $3.5 million case of Pokemon cards.

Fake Pokèmon case

Introduction

Pokèmon is one of the world's most popular media franchises.  Born in Japan in 1996, Pokèmon are fictional creatures trained by humans to fight each other for sport. There are currently over 900 different kinds of Pokèmon, including Pikachu, the face of the franchise. Pokèmon video games are among the best selling video games of all time and Pokèmon trading cards are the world's most popular trading cards. 

A Celebrity Purchase

In 2021, YouTube superstar Logan Paul purchased what he thought was a rare unopened case of first edition Pokèmon cards for 3.5 million dollars. The box supposedly contained six boxes of pristine first-edition Pokèmon cards, never touched by human hands. The case had been authenticated by the Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE), a well-known and trusted authenticator of unopened sports cards. Although BBCE has authenticated tens of thousands of unopened sports card items, it had relatively little experience with Pokèmon cards. 

All that Glitters is not Gold

Paul posted an image of his beloved purchase on Instagram, and immediately, experienced members of the Pokèmon community cast doubt about the authenticity of the case. The case in question actually had a dubious history. Before it was purchased by Logan Paul, it had actually been sold on eBay by a seller who struggled to answer questions about the case, and who ended up shipping it without insurance. Why would someone ship such a valuable item without insurance? Furthermore, experienced Pokèmon collectors indicated the bar code on the case was questionable and different from the bar codes found on the few other cases of first edition Pokèmon that have been identified. Many claimed the case was most likely a fake, but because it was authenticated, Paul continued to claim it was real. Being a YouTube celebrity, however, Paul decided to stage and promote a video that he claimed would answer the question once and for all. Millions of people waited for it. 

Verdict

On January 11, 2022, Paul posted the YouTube video that included the seller and members of BBCE to determine once and for all whether the case was fake or authentic. BBCE would open it on camera to investigate the contents inside the case.  Before opening the case, the owner of BBCE explained his process for authentication. He claimed the aging of the tape and indentations on the cardboard revealed that the case had never been opened. Once he opened it, however, it was clear something was wrong. The boxes themselves were not the typical first-series boxes expected. When the plastic wrap was cut on one of the boxes, and it was opened, it was filled not with packs of Pokèmon cards, but rather, packs of G.I. Joe cards, worth virtually nothing! It was a homemade forgery and a massive fraud - the largest fraud involving trading cards in history. The owner of BBCE uttered "We were duped. Agreed?" Stay tuned for the rest of the story coming soon. As of the date of this article, Paul's video has been viewed 4.1 million times.

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