Pokémon Illustrators & Their Autographs
An Editorial by AestheticChimp
Overview and Contents Autographed
Pokémon cards are an exciting, exceptionally nuanced, and wonderful part of this hobby we all share. There is continuously growing interest for this niche, but there are very few resources available for those looking to venture into this realm. Even a deep dive into Google returns only a couple forums and whispers amongst various collectors makes up the vast majority of the information surrounding these special cards. We have set out to fill this information gap in the community. What follows is a brief overview of the Pokémon autograph market and some of the many factors that impact it. Together we will take a look at:
- Where Autographs Come from in Pokemon
- Average Sales Value for Various Illustrators
- Change in Sales Data with Cards that Have an Autograph + Sketch
- Impact that PSA Card and Auto Grades Have on Sale Price
- The Relationship Between Card Value and the Relative Autograph Value
- Relative Scarcity for Various Autographs
- Comments on Personalization on Autographs
- How to Approach Pricing an Autograph
- Disclaimers and Transparency Information
Where Autographs Come From in Pokémon
There are, for most collectors, only two ways to acquire an autographed Pokémon card themselves: Attend an event where someone is signing or send your cards to illustrators who offer mail-in services (no major illustrators are currently doing this, but illustrator Yuka Morii offered this for a while). It is also possible, technically, for individuals to meet with illustrators in person, outside the context of an event, and get them to sign some items. This is the way in which all Nishida autographs were acquired, but is not a sustainable or common occurrence. This leaves, realistically, only one option: Attending an event with an illustrator there signing cards. But where do such events occur?
Over the past 25 years, there have been dozens of major Pokémon events and conventions. At a select few of these, some major Pokémon illustrators have offered their services to sign fans’ cards. Most notably, there is almost always at least one illustrator who attends each Pokémon World Championship each year. Arita, for example, hopefully will be present at the 2022 Worlds in London, signing cards (not confirmed at the time of publication of this blog). This tournament will be the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that a major illustrator has attended an event with the intention of signing cards; and we are still awaiting details for the next signing event in the United States. He had to cancel an appearance in Jacksonville in March of 2022 due to travel restrictions. Update: Mitsuhiro Arita will be signing in France at TGS Pau in October 2022.
For those of us who were unable to attend any of these past events, the only option remaining is to purchase autographed cards that are floating around in the wild. While there are raw, un-authenticated autographs out there, it is our recommendation to beginning collectors that you should purchase only autographs that have strong provenance (proof of signing such as a good story of who exactly got it signed and when or photographic evidence of the card being signed) or cards graded by PSA/DNA or by BGS. All of the following market analysis will be conducted using cards that have been authenticated by one of these services.
In July 2022, Pokémon illustrator and artist, TOYIKA attended Bold Matsuri in Jacksonville, FL. This was his first public signing. Dick & Jane’s sponsored the event. BoldMatsuri.com attracted over 6,000 attendees and more than quite a few more fans seeking autographs on their favorite character designs, from Charizard, Lugia, Diagla, Gyarados, Arceus, Umbreon and about 100 other cards for which he is accredited with were seen flying around the convention amongst the several hundred who stood in line to meet him and get something special signed for their collection. It appears he had fun and they both posed for a group photo with his fans at the end of the event. Here are two of our favorites that he signed over the weekend.
Their (his) latest work and passion is in collaboration with his wife, Sevnzel.
Sevnzel ／ セブンゼル Instagram @boldmatsuri @se7nzel
THE GREATER OF TWO EVILS “ #424D99 “
Check out this awesome video of Sevnzel creating one of their characters!
A Quick Look Some Noted Illustrators
Above are some of the more notable illustrators and their aggerated sales averages. We will delve into the pricing as we continue with this discussion in our next blog post.
And the rest of the story will continue ...
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Copyright @ Dick & Jane's / DJ Filips Entertainment, Inc 2022
Disclaimers and Transparency: Sales data was compiled through a few sources: PWCC Results, Goldin Auction Results, Heritage Auction Results, eBay Sales (sourced from 130point) and Private Sales Data. Some private sales data come from members of the community, other private sales data came from our own private sales. Some private sales included cards of exceptional nature and, while we recognize the importance of these sales and will touch on them when we discuss the highest known sales for each Autograph, these high-end outliers were not used in any statistical analysis that will follow. In total, we compiled roughly 100 data points across six primary illustrators: Arita, Fukuda, Saitou, Sugimori, Himeno and Nishida