Pokémon card sellers and experts warn against “third party packs”

TULSA, Okla. — Pokémon card sellers, Internet celebrities, and card collectors are all warning people shopping for Christmas gifts about what are called “third party” Pokémon card packs for sale.

The card packs are not issued by The Pokémon Company International, but they also aren’t necessarily a scam because they contain real Pokémon cards most of the time. These packs usually come with more cards than the traditional Pokémon card pack, but they also come at a price at least three to five dollars higher than a Pokémon Company approved and sealed pack of new cards.

“They do not hold to any of the same rates as a booster pack would,” said Daniel Parham, co-owner of Dragonslayer Games in midtown Tulsa. “You’re not guaranteed a rare. You can get all commons. You can even get fake cards in there.”

Just like everything else in the world, there is a shortage of Pokémon cards in stores, and Parham said, cards are in higher demand this holiday season not just because of the renewed popularity in the anime franchise but also because it is the 25th anniversary of the franchise’s debut on the world stage. In order to keep up with demand, some big box store and pharmacy chains have started to sell what are called “third party packs”. These packs are more times than not full of used Pokémon cards repackaged and sold at a higher rate.

The cards inside are often legitimate Pokémon cards, but multiple people, including YouTube celebrities, have taken to the Internet to warn people to stay away from the packs saying the cards inside are worthless, old, used, and in some cases, have been cycled out of sanctioned play for official Pokémon card battles.

FOX23 asked Parham to analyze a third party pack that we bought for $6.99 at a pharmacy four blocks away from his store. He quickly spotted problems.

“There’s some energies. Not seeing anything of note in here. It’s all commons and uncommons. Like I said no guaranteed rare,” he said. “Most of these I’d sell for about ten to twenty five cents. A pack like this I’d sell for two dollars tops.”

Parham said many people are often fooled into buying third party packs because they say things on the front like “one foil card inside”, but Parham said just because a card has a foil like surface to it doesn’t mean it is automatically a rare and great find. He said in many cases, adults doing shopping for children are often duped into seeing that there are legit cards inside through the clear container they’re sold in, and they think they’re getting something special because of the words on the packaging.

Parham said your best bet both cost-wise and for collecting purposes is to buy packs that only have The Pokémon Company International printed on the back. Not only are you paying fair market value, but you also have an actual chance of finding a rare or valuable card inside the sealed, untouched pack. With a third party pack, he said, someone has already handled the cards and gone through them and taken out anything of extreme value.

“We’ve seen cheap, used, and sometimes even fake cards in these things,” he said. “I wouldn’t ever get this for anyone.”

FOX23 News reached out to The Pokémon Company International for comment on third party packs multiple times, but we did not hear back.

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