Pokemon trading card haul 'worth $375,000' turns out to be fake
28th October 2020

The moment a YouTuber opens a $375,000 box ‘of first edition Pokemon cards’ – and finds out that it’s full of FAKES in collectors’ mega-deal streamed live on the internet

  • Chris Camillo, a ‘social arbitrage investor’, revealed box contents on Tuesday
  • Grand unveiling took place on YouTube channel Dumb Money; he had with him silver briefcase filled with $100 bills which he intended to provide as payment
  • Onlookers quickly noticed some packs were unsealed, and colours were wrong 

A record-breaking deal involving the purchase of Pokemon trading cards -livestreamed on the internet – ended in chaos when the rare first-edition haul turned out to be fake.  

Chris Camillo, a ‘social arbitrage investor’, had hoped to seal the deal with the $375,000 (£290,000) transaction, which reached its climax on YouTube channel Dumb Money on Tuesday.

Luckily for him, he had not yet parted with his cash and instead had it with him, in a silver briefcase filled with $100 bills on a table during the grand unsealing of the ‘treasured’ box.

Camillo, one of Dumb Money’s hosts, had watched the market for the Pokémon trading card game – which launched in 1999 – rise considerably recently and thought it would be a great investment opportunity, The Guardian reported. 

But as the packs were carefully removed from the ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All’-labelled box, alarm bells began to ring.

Chris Camillo, a ‘social arbitrage investor’, had hoped to seal a deal – involving the $375,000 (£290,000) purchase of rare first-edition Pokemon trading cards – on YouTube channel Dumb Money on Tuesday

As the packs were carefully removed from the ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All’-labelled box, alarm bells began to ring when onlookers soon realised the treasure haul was fake – with some packs unsealed and with worrying colour variations

Luckily for Camillo, he had not yet parted with his cash and instead had it with him – in a silver briefcase filled with $100 bills on a table during the grand unsealing

One observer said: ‘The colour’s different on that one and that one.’ Another chimed in with: ‘That’s not a first edition card.’

And when they then observed that one of the packs was already open, a man exclaims: ‘That’s a major f***ing issue.’

Someone then says: ‘I’m going to call the sellers… money back on that’ – and ‘Wow. This a resealed box! This is unacceptable.’ 

The sellers in question were headed up by Jake Greenbaum – who goes by the Twitter handle JBThe Crypto King and describes himself as ‘Trader. Builder. Blockchain Entrepreneur’. 

Greenbaum was also billed as well-known YouTube personality Logan Paul’s ‘personal Pokemon consultant’.

The vendors wanted to be paid in cash – hence the briefcase – with the idea that the buyers would check the contents of the box before giving them the money and selling the cards next year for charity. 

One observer at the Dumb Money event (above) said: ‘The colour’s different on that one and that one.’ Another chimed in with: ‘That’s not a first edition card’

The cards themselves are said to have been purchased from an unnamed third party.

Those involved with the transaction, on both sides, strongly dismissed suggestions that the whole epsiode was a stunt, according to the Guardian.    

The international Pokémon phenomenon is one of the most lucrative animation franchises in history.

Schools worldwide were forced to bring in strict gambling rules in the late 1990s as children incessantly fought over the collectible trading cards sold in shops, magazines, and fast food meals.

The cartoon series, launched in Japan in 1997, follows Ash and his friends Misty and Brock as they fight evil with monsters, ‘Pokémons’, they can store in a small ball.

Each Pokémon has its own special powers and different strengths.

In the show, owners pit their pocket monsters against each other – the winner keeps both.

As the slogan ‘Gotta catch em all’ suggests, the aim is to collect all the pocket monsters – a battle schoolchildren worldwide simulated using the collectible playing cards. 

Gotta catch ’em all! The colourful world of Pokemon

Pokémon, created by Satoshi Tajiri, started as a video game called Pocket Monsters in Japan in 1995.

An instant hit, it was commissioned as a TV series in 1997.

It was temporarily taken off air in 1998 after at least 700 viewers were hospitalised due to excessive use of strobe lighting and special effects in an episode on December 16 1997. People aged three to 58 suffered epilepsy symptoms for more than 24 hours.

Pokémon, created by Satoshi Tajiri, started as a video game called Pocket Monsters in Japan in 1995. An instant hit, it was commissioned as a TV series in 1997

After returning to Japanese screens in April 1998, and renamed Pokémon, the series was syndicated to America – and soon became an international phenomenon.

The franchise includes computer games, cards, TV shows, books, stickers, movies, toys, and even vitamins.

The Pokémons were released in ‘generations’.

The first generation, labelled Red and Blue, consisted of the ‘main’ 151 characters. These reside in the fictional region of Kanto – inspired by Japan’s Kanto district.

The franchise includes computer games, cards, TV shows, books, stickers, movies, toys, and even vitamins

The second generation, Gold and Silver, introduced 100 more Pokémon in 1999. 

In the past an ultra-rare Pokemon card featuring the character Pikachu has sold at auction for as much as $195,000.

The Pikachu Illustrator card was given in January 1998 to winners of the CoroCoro Comic Illustration Contest and only 39 were ever made.

It’s believed only 10 of the cards in circulation are in mint condition and it is unclear how many are still privately owned.

The ‘Pikachu Illustrator’ first sold in the early 2000s for around $23,000.

The card, considered the most valuable and iconic Pokemon card among collectors, was designed by Atsuko Nishida, one of the chief graphic illustrators of the series.

It depicts the fan-favorite yellow rodent Pikachu, holding what appear to be drawing utensils.

Another card that could be worth a pretty penny is the first edition Shining Charizard, a fan favourite from the height of the Pokémon craze in the late 90s.

Cards in pristine condition regularly sell for around $1,000 or more on eBay.

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