Pokémon Illustrators & Their Autographs (Part 2)

Pokémon Illustrators & Their Autographs (Part 2)

An Editorial by AestheticChimp
Average Sales Value for Various Illustrators

Looking at these average values, we can arrange the illustrators in order from least to most valuable: Saitou, Fukuda, Arita, Himeno, Nishida, Sugimori. This is a good starting point for us but requires some more context to fully understand these price differences.

Sugimori, as the highest value autograph, has an extremely low population of his cards signed. Because he has not attended an event for about 15 years, the demand for his autograph has gone up while the supply has remained the same. Scott Pratte (@smpratte) referred to Ken Sugimori as the “trophy card of autographs” in a video describing autographed cards due to Sugimori’s historic significance and autograph scarcity.

Nishida is the lowest population autograph of any major illustrator. There were two small private signings she did for a collector in Japan and has indicated no interest in attending official large-scale signing events. We will get more into personalized and non-personalized autographs towards the end of this post, but Nishida only has 10-12 cards she has or ever will sign without a personalization, making that an extremely exclusive specification. In total, collectors estimate she has signed less than 50 cards in total ever.

Himeno’s last major event signing was at 2006 Worlds (although she has attended smaller events since then AS RECENTLY AS 2018). As a result, her autograph is very rare and her unique swirling autograph is very visually appealing. This has led to her autograph increasing in value over recent time and a new record sale for any card signed by her in June of 2022 on a PWCC monthly auction at $6,600.

Arita is a very sought-after autograph. He illustrated some of the most iconic arts in the hobby: Base Set Charizard, Pikachu, and dozens of the most beloved Modern Artworks. As such, his autographs generally demand a higher premium than one might presume, knowing that he attended so many events in the past and is still intending to sign in the future. As the illustrator with the highest autograph population (lowest rarity), the demand for his iconic cards and his popularity is what drives his value. Arita sales are, in all reality, slightly inflated due to the fact that the base set Charizard is the most common card he signed and is very sought after. Arita’s autograph on almost any other card isn't going to be worth as much as it is on a Charizard. That is the reality of the market. If we take all Charizards out of the calculation, Arita autograph sales average falls to $1,326, which is almost a 20% drop. Fukuda is the godfather of the gold stars. As the illustrator of all Gold Star Cards (Rayquaza, Charizard, Pikachu, Torchic, etc.) he is very highly sought after because of the sheer value of the cards he illustrated. His iconic style and historically significant cards demand some of the highest premiums.

Fukuda has only ever attended two events in the United States: 2006 Worlds and 2020 Dallas Regionals. Across these two events, he signed thousands of cards for hundreds of fans. Based on eBay listings and sales, as well as total sales across the past six months, he is the second most common autograph. The value of the cards he signs likely has a large impact on the average value of his autograph.

Saitou, most notably the illustrator of the Poncho Wearing Pikachu cards, is still a very sought-after illustrator. He has signed at numerous events across the years, and is likely still actively signing (although it is not officially known what his intentions are). Most recently, he attended his first-ever signing event in the United States at Dallas in 2019. His trademark English signature and Pikachu sketch is more commonly seen than his Kanji (Japanese) autograph, but there is not sufficient sales data to determine if there is a difference in value between the two autograph styles


What about sketches?  And the rest of the story will continue ... 


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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