Pokémon Illustrators & Their Autographs (Part 3)
An Editorial by AestheticChimp
Change in Sales Data with Cards that
Have an Autograph + Sketch
One of the most readily apparent differences when looking at an autographed card is the presence or lack of a sketch. At various events, some illustrators will offer sketching services. There are multiple types of sketch: full body, half body, head of Pokémon on the card, and sketch of a Pokémon that isn’t on the card. Further analysis and common sense can indicate to us which would be more valuable than others, but there was insufficient data for us to provide precise metrics. Instead, we will focus exclusively on Sketch vs No Sketch.
Historically, illustrators like Arita have allowed for three cards to be signed per individual, with one containing a sketch. As a result, there is the smallest price difference between sketched and non-sketched autograph values. For our sales data collected, an Arita autograph in conjunction with a sketch was worth 9% more than an autograph itself. This smaller price increase comes out to an average value difference of about $150. The proportionally smaller price difference for Arita makes sense due to the apparently high proportion of sketches available from him.
In 2020, one anonymous collector obtained almost 200 autographs from Fukuda in Dallas, but only 15-20 with a sketch. While it is impossible for us to know the precise population of sketches versus non-sketched cards, it is readily apparent to any collector why a sketch would increase its value.
Typically, Saitou signs with a Pikachu sketch to the top right of his autograph. Examples including sketches of other Pokémon than Pikachu, in our experience, increase the value significantly, but there was insufficient sales data to provide specifics. Saitou autographs typically come in one of the following variants: English no sketch, English with sketch, kanji without sketch, and kanji with sketch. There are a few exampled with an English and kanji autograph from Saitou, but this appears to be a rather rare occurrence. Looking at the data, Saitou had an 11% increase in value in the presence of a sketch, slightly more than seen in the Arita data.
Not all illustrators sketch values are like this, however. Sugimori, for example, almost always added a Pikachu sketch in conjunction with his autograph in English and kanji. The first event he attended, he signed with English cursive only. These cards are highly sought after and exceptionally rare. Due to this, a card from Sugimori with this version of his autograph WITHOUT a sketch would likely fetch a higher premium than his trademark autograph. On a few occasions, (about publicly known 12 cards) Ken Sugimori added a different sketch to the card of another Pokémon. Typically, these were a spur of the moment decisions where he would draw a quick sketch of the Pokémon on the card itself. Examples include Mew, Mewtwo, Torchic, Plusle and Minun. Two of these cards can be seen here and are owned by us:
One such example of the value increase from this style of card is a very well-known autograph from Sugimori that contains a Charizard sketch. This card sold for $150,000, while the buyer stated he would have paid only $20,000 if the Charizard sketch has been replaced with the typical Pikachu sketch.
Himeno’s favorite Pokémon is Psyduck. As such, in the cards that she typically signs with a sketch, she adds a small psyduck drawing to the card. There are also a select few examples of her autograph where she provided a full body sketch of various Pokémon on the card. This is very rare and we were unable to obtain any private sales data points for these cards. The presence of a sketch in conjunction with Himeno’s autograph does not appear to add a significant premium to the value, but there was insufficient data to back this claim. One reason for this may be that Himeno signed exclusively without a sketch at the Tropical Mega Battle events she attended. Therefore, collectors who may be interested in the oldest examples of her autograph would not be interested in the cards she signed with a sketch.
Finally, we have Nishida. For her autograph, there was insufficient sales data to determine if sketches from her add value. There are a few examples of her signing with a small Pikachu sketch in conjunction with her autograph, but it is our opinion that this would not significantly increase the value because the major source for the value of her autograph comes from its exceptional rarity.
Stay tuned for part 4 ... and the rest of the story!
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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