Pokémon heist: Over $500,000 worth of unopened boxes reportedly stolen from collector

Hide those cards, kids.

Image via The Pokémon Company

Remember when your mom told you to make sure you keep all of those Pokémon cards safe? She was right.

A Pokémon collector reportedly had cards stolen from their collection in South Carolina, and the missing cards are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The exact amount is a matter of some dispute; the owner, Christopher Polydorou, told The Smoking Gun that the cards were worth $500,000, while police reported a valuation of $200,000. Regardless, it’s enough to pay off at least one U.S. citizen’s student debt.

The exact cards in question are a mystery, and that’s part of why they’re worth so much money. What was actually stolen from Polydorou were multiple unopened boxes of Pokémon cards purchased “more than 20 years ago,” according to The Smoking Gun. That would put the boxes release right around the beginning of the Pokémon craze following the release of the game and its subsequent explosion in popularity.

Pokémon card collection has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the last few years thanks to several popular content creators purchasing expensive boxes of Pokémon cards and opening them on stream, including streamers like Mizkif, Ludwig, and xQc. While rare individual cards steal the show in these pack openings, they’re often far less valuable than the older boxes themselves, as it’s incredibly difficult to find a rare, original card in good enough condition to match the eye-popping amounts their perfectly-graded cards are worth. If a box holds no rare card, it essentially becomes worthless. But as long as it’s unopened, it maintains the potential to have one of these rare cards, driving their price up.

If Polydorou’s boxes contained a first edition holographic Charizard that was graded as a perfect 10 by PSA, for example, that single card could be worth as much as $375,000. In all probability, none of those boxes have a perfect, original holo Charizard card. But they could, and that’s the whole point.

Regardless, it’s a lot of money down the drain for Polydorou if the cards cannot be retrieved. And that’s why your mother is always right.