The Rise of Vintage TCG Collectibles – Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME

Pokémon TCG collectibles Yu-Gi-Oh!

by Jaden Chorney

Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is the “new kid on the block” when it comes to vintage TCG collectibles. Magic: The Gathering (MTG) takes the cake – they are no doubt the winner when it comes to the most valuable and collectible vintage TCG. Then there’s Pokémon that’s making huge strides to be closely behind. Just recently, a sealed Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Booster Box from 1999 sold in auction for $198,000 USD to famous YouTube celebrity Logan Paul.

People who collect vintage MTG or Pokémon cards probably don’t take Yu-Gi-Oh! that seriously *yet*… it’s younger, has a different audience, less popular in terms of collectability, it’s essentially the “new kid”, etc. 

But I want to emphasize the *yet* part because Yu-Gi-Oh! has plenty of rare & nostalgic hard-to-find old cards to seek out and collect. The kids who grew up collecting the original base set Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are in their mid-to-high 20’s now making some decent income for themselves, and are now just starting to buy these old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards for a variety of reasons whether it be for nostalgia, collecting and/or investment. In fact, I myself am one of these individuals! More on that later though. 

The point being… we’re just starting to see an increase in demand and value for old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. In my opinion, I truly believe this is just the beginning and it will continue to go up and up, similar to what we’ve seen happen with vintage MTG and Pokémon cards. 

Some background on the original Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG sets that were first released in North America…

The base set (a.k.a. alpha set) Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon (LOB) was the first ever set released in North America back on March 2002. Followed by Metal Raiders (MRD) in June 2002, Magic Ruler (MRL) in September 2002, and Pharaoh’s Servant (PSV) in October 2002. This puts Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG about 3 years behind Pokémon and about 9 years behind MTG. So the lag in popularity, collectability, and value in comparison to vintage MTG and Pokémon cards starts to make sense now.

Some of the most iconic and nostalgic monsters to come from these Yu-Gi-Oh! sets include Blue Eyes White Dragon (LOB-001), Dark Magician (LOB-005), Red Eyes Black Dragon (LOB-070), Gate Guardian (MRD-000), Summoned Skull (MRD-003), Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon (MRL-000), and Jinzo (PSV-000). 

I personally own a few of these iconic cards in my Yu-Gi-Oh! collection! I have the original Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon, Gate Guardian, Summoned Skull, and even Jinzo in 1st Edition and near mint condition.

How did I find out vintage Yu-Gi-Oh! cards were starting to gain popularity in the collectibles world? Well I started going through my old hockey card collection while I had lots of spare time sitting at home in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic (a historic tale for another time… *sigh*), which is when I came across my binder full of old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards from years ago. I collected Yu-Gi-Oh! cards back when I was in Grade 6. It was my most favorite TCG to play and collect growing up as a kid. So I started looking through my old collection and researched values online through eBay and other websites. That’s when I was astonished to find out a lot of these old cards are actually worth some money! See photo below for some examples (i.e., recently sold item prices on eBay).

More and more people who grew up with Yu-Gi-Oh! are starting to collect again and this demand has started to drive up the card values.

I was so excited I decided to take all my Yu-Gi-Oh! cards out and sort them into each set (LOB, MRD, MRL, PSV). Then this sparked my interest to start collecting again. I want to complete each of the original sets released in 2002 and put them on display in fancy collector’s binders. But I want to go further and get some of my most iconic, nostalgic and valuable cards professionally graded. Not only does this protect and seal the cards for years to come but grading these type of cards generally help increase its value if the condition is near mint or better.

That is exactly what I proceeded to do and started researching professional grading companies. I live in Ontario, Canada and came across KSA Certification in my searches for local grading companies. I wanted to go with a local grading company, the prices were fair, they’ve been in the business for a long time (since 1996) and I liked the look of their cases. I felt like they were a reputable company I could trust to handle and grade my precious old cards from my collection. In this blog post you will see three examples of my old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards graded by KSA Certification. 

Hope you enjoy!

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