Trainer No. 3 is one of the rarest Pokémon cards in the world — it sold for $60,000 on eBay back in 2018. But when the seller tried shipping it overseas to the buyer, the card mysteriously vanished. That mishap is rocking the world of Pokémon trading card collectors.
Trainer No. 3 is considered a highly valuable card because of its historical value. The collectible was given out back in 1999 to the third-place winner in a Pokémon competition in Japan called Super Secret Battle. Which is to say: It’s very unlikely that you have one of these puppies in your old collection, unless you have a fake or something.
The card, which came into the hands of eBay seller pokemonplace, was sent out via USPS with an insurance cover of $50,000, the highest that you can insure an item via the mail through this service. The card, which was delivered with an assortment of other items by the shipping company, was never received. According to collector and Pokémon trading card authority smpratte, the parties involved have no idea if foul play was involved.
“My responsibility was to ship the card to Aramex […] a middle man company that then ships the card to the buyer,” pokemonplace told Polygon. “The tracking information I have was with registered mail and shows tracking and a signature. Aramex claims they haven’t received it and signed for a bulk lot.”
Unfortunately, because the lot was signed for, pokemonplace says that they cannot file the insurance claim.
Was the card lost, or stolen? Nobody knows. The working theory in smpratte’s video, which cannot be proved, is that someone in the shipping process saw how much the item was insured for and nabbed it. The problem is, much like high-value paintings in the art world, this isn’t the sort of thing you can just take back into the market.
“You cannot sell this card publicly,” smpratte said, as the card is very well-known and registered in a directory for all collectors. The card also cannot be cracked out of its plastic container, as it was a unique holo pattern that will make tampering immediately obvious to anyone looking at it. So if someone did steal it, it’s not going to be worth much of anything to them.
“I would classify it as lost,” pokemonplace said. USPS did not respond in time for publication.
Regardless, pokemonplace has issued a $1,000 bounty to anyone who has information on the whereabouts of the card, or anyone who can provide information to locate it. In the video, smpratte notes that the parties involved aren’t seeking legal action — they just want the card back, so it can go to its rightful owner.
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