Pokémon Illustrators & Their Autographs (Part 5)
An Editorial by AestheticChimp
The Relationship between Card Values
and the Relative Autograph Value
One of the most interesting concepts that we observed before approaching this project was the fact that autograph sales seemed exponential. Cards worth $5 would sell for $500, but cards worth $500 would sell for $10,000+. This led to us seeing if the autograph value was specifically related to the value of the card, or if this was just confirmation bias on our parts. We followed the same method as before: subtract the card value from the sale price to determine the auto value. Then, we calculated a correlation value between the card value and autograph value. The higher the value, the more the value of the card impacts the value of the autograph.
Nishida had the lowest correlation between card value and autograph value at .196. Saitou was next with a correlation of .319. Arita saw a correlation of .539. Fukuda was very highly correlated with a value of .770. Sugimori saw the highest correlation at a staggering .917.
One example of comparing price points for this sort of thing can easily be seen in Sugimori autographs. Our signed Alakazam from Base Set (worth $50) sold for around $6,500 after buyer’s premium and taxes. A private owner of a signed copy of a Grand Party (worth $1,000) turned down a $50,000 offer. That would have been more than $45,000 in autograph value difference! This disparity of value comes from the rarity and the value of the card that has been autographed. The rarer a card, the more expensive, the higher the value of the autograph itself on the card.
Relative Scarcity for Various Autographs
Another extremely important aspect of a card, in addition to its rarity, is the scarcity of the item. (We will be once again following Scott Pratte’s guidance on definitions here) Scarcity, in the context of this analysis, means the ready availability of a given autograph. The way we will measure and compare these will be using two metrics: number of active eBay listings (authenticated by PSA/DNA or BGS/JSA) and number of eBay sales in the past 90 days. This will give us a rough idea of how readily available an illustrator’s autograph is. Going from most easily purchased to least, we have Arita with almost as many listings/sales as all others combined, Fukuda with half as many listings as Arita, and Saitou taking up third place with 37 listings. The other 5 illustrators listed in the graph above total out to 15 active listings and ZERO public sales on eBay. Sugimori has 7 listings with no sales; then Himeno and Yoshida both with 2 active listings make up some of the scarcest autographs in the hobby. Nishida, because she has such a finite quantity of autographs, has never had a public sale. She is the current pinnacle of major illustrator autographs.
What is seen here is that, essentially, the more recently any illustrator has signed cards, the more cards are available. It is basically self-apparent why this is the case, but it begs an interesting question: what will happen to the price of these autographs should one of these illustrators attend a major event in the United States? While we do not currently know, it is just as likely to crash the autograph market for that illustrator as it is to reinvigorate it as more people become aware of the autograph niche of the hobby. An interesting analysis to be done in the future.
Stay tuned for part 6 ... and the rest of the story!
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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