The world’s rarest Pokemon card has sold at auction for $195,000 (£151,000), making it the most valuable of the series in existence.
Only 39 copies of the Pokémon Illustrator card were produced in 1998, with just 10 certified copies currently known to be owned by collectors.
The card, which features an illustration of Pikachu drawn by artist Atsuko Nishida, was produced specifically for a competition held by the magazine CoroCoro Comic.
For their January 1998 issue, readers could submit their own illustrations for a drawing contest, with 23 copies of the card awarded to first and second place winners.
Two further contests, one to design your own Pokémon card and the other to draw an inventive “Pokémon attack”, were held throughout 1998. A further 16 cards were subsequently awarded to winners.
The rarity of the cards has inspired a number of counterfeit versions to hit the market in the two decades since their release, which have only boosted the value of officially certified copies.
Along with featuring original artwork by Nishida, the graphic artist who first designed the Pikachu character, the Pokémon card is the only one of its kind to feature the word “Illustrator” written along the top.
Over the years, the Pokémon Illustrator Card has become increasingly valuable. In the early 2000s, the cards were typically sold for around $23,000.
One of the cards was last sold at auction in 2013, where it fetched $54,970 – then a Pokémon card record, which has now been smashed by the most recent auction, held in Lynbrook, New York, in early October.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies