We’re an odd species, what with our predilection for scarcity, even if that scarce item is a piece of cardboard with a cartoon drawn on it. So it is that 62-year-old South Carolina resident Christopher Polydorou is alleged to have had his home broken into, and his $500,000 Pokémon card collection stolen.
Polydorou isn’t just someone who dug out a gem mint collection of cards from his attic and got lucky. The insurance broker, as reported by The Smoking Gun, is a collector of many types of cards, and stores his collections in a temperature-controlled room within his 6,800-square-foot home on the waterfront. The Pokémon cards sat alongside more traditional cardboard compilations, like baseball, football and basketball cards, occupying a dedicated room in the seven-bedroom accommodation.
A Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office report from July 13 states that the department received a phone call from Polydorou, claiming that “an unknown person entered his collection room and removed one and a half boxes of collectible Pokémon card [sic] valued at half a billion dollars.” Fortunately for Polydorou, and remaining scraps of sanity left on the planet, the “billion” was a mistake made by the officer, the actual value of the stolen cards apparently amounting to half a million dollars. However, he also told TSG that it was in fact three boxes stolen, not one-and-a-half.
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Polydorou went on to claim that the only people who’d entered his “collectibles room” (which I desperately hope is equipped with invisible laser beams) since October last year were some “men from a HVAC company” (air conditioning repairmen), hired by his 91-year-old mother.
Speaking to The Smoking Gun, Polydorou explained that these were sealed, unopened boxes of over 20-year-old cards, including “a valuable Japanese edition.” As such, they could of course contain single cards worth close to the total estimated value.
Recent years have seen the value of Pokémon cards go a bit silly, largely inflated by millionaire YouTubers not having enough real problems in their lives, thus seeing the value of specific cards rising exponentially. It’s obviously a bubble that can’t be sustained, not least because it’s not a self-replenishing market (your new card today won’t be worth $500,000 in 20 years time), but Polydorou’s collection could have been one of very few remaining sealed boxes of early cards that still have that potential value.
The Pokémon Company has also made a concentrated effort of late to address the speculation market, reportedly taking care to print way more cards in the hopes of helping curb the shortage driving up the prices.