Yesterday, we reported that McDonald's is running a promotion for Pokémon's 25th anniversary, which includes packs of the Pokémon TCG in Happy Meals. Some locations are selling the packs of cards separately while others are not. A whirlwind of interest in Pokémon cards was kicked up in 2020, created by an odd overlap of excellent sets, podcaster Logan Paul, retired rapper Logic, the release of the Sword & Shield games, Pokémon GO's success, and the 25th anniversary luring speculators in. This hype has continued well into 2021 and has led to some selling these McDonald's Pokémon cards on eBay for unusually high prices.
Here are a few things that you should know before buying McDonald's cards, and especially packs, on eBay for high prices:
- This isn't just the Happy Meals: What we're seeing is happening to every aspect of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Retail locations are being cleared out as soon as they re-stock. People wait for restocks, hovering like vultures in the stores, and they act as soon as they have a chance so that they can sell a sealed product on eBay for high prices. They are removing the supply to inflate the demand. This is not a natural inflation of the market and won't last. There is a huge difference between collectors buying product for themselves and selling doubles of a card they already have and someone who has no love for Pokémon buying and selling sealed product. The former is evergreen, the latter will never last. So before you give in on eBay to someone who is selling an entire box of these that they somehow got, know that this is happening everywhere in the hobby. Shining Fates, the upcoming special set, will be very hard to get. The following set, Battle Styles, will be very hard to get. It's an unfortunate mixture of COVID-19 shipping and production problems, predatory sellers, and actual, genuine fan interest. The hobby is soaring and it's not all negative, but it's worth taking the time to understand and have patience with the fact that this is currently the state of the hobby… but the hobby will outlast the current state.
- These cards are reprints: This isn't a dismissal of the cards. I am a collector myself and I love the cards. It's important to know, though, that when you open a pack, you will be getting four cards, and all four of them are reprints. What makes them special is this:
- They are part of a numbered McDonald's special set and, like with previous years, it is very fun to collect an entire set when it is so obtainable. It's just 25 cards, after all.
- The holo pattern that McDonald's cards use is unique to McDonald's cards, and every card has both a holo and a standard non-holo version. All cards get the 25th Anniversary stamp.
- These cards are still at McDonald's and will be for some time: McDonald's toy rotations last for some time. This just started. People are going crazy over these online and rushing to get them. Others are upset because kids aren't going to have toys because adults are buying them. McDonald's, though, is a huge corporation working with the biggest media franchise in the world here. They're going to re-up. People who want there are going to be able to get these, kids and older collectors alike. It may necessitate some work and some checking, but realize that those attempting to sell a sealed product are banking on you not wanting to do the work.
- There's nothing wrong with buying a card: While I advise against buying sealed McDonald's product, if you're collecting the cards and end up missing one or two? Certainly, it would make sense to track down and buy from a respectable seller as an individual card. There is again a huge difference between a true collector selling doubles and a scalper selling an insane amount of sealed product.
- Just be aware of those taking advantage: This is an anecdote, but I feel it speaks to the way these situations play out in the longterm. I was able to casually purchase the entire set of 2018 McDonald's Pokémon cards a month or so ago for less than people are charging for packs that you can get free with a Happy Meal. Don't do it to yourself!