I have had the complete 102-card Pokemon base set since its release in 1999. I only have one first edition card, Machamp (the most over-produced first edition, from what I'm told), but even without those holy grails, the complete set could probably net me a couple thousand dollars--especially in the current collectibles bubble in which we find ourselves. Yet I've never been able to part with them. They're in a special, dedicated binder, and that binder has moved with me across state lines and stages of life.
This binder of 102 cards became an instrumental piece in my daughter's love of Pokemon. After she expressed interest in the games and played some alongside me, I took it off the bookshelf and showed her these cardboard manifestations of some of her favorite monsters. She fell in love. She perhaps fell a little too much in love...I quickly realized I needed to establish some boundaries so she knew to treat these particular cards with gentleness and respect. To give her a more productive outlet for her fascination with the cards, I got her a few booster packs.
Opening TCG boosters is just as fun and exciting in 2021 as it was in 1999.
Cory's obsessions are vast and numerous, and worlds started to overlap. She began to fixate on the idea of having a Mermaid Pokemon and a Gem Pokemon. I told her I'd pick up some cards that could come close. $10 later, I came home from a card shop with Milotic and Sableye, the two Pokemon that still top her list of favorites and became the cornerstones of her Alpha Sapphire team.
Since then, we've filled 10 pages of 3x3 card sleeves in her own personal binder--as well as a whole deck box of duplicates, now overflowing into her desk drawer. Just like my old desk! She is interested in learning the actual game, but she's not quite ready for that yet. Besides, I'll have to learn how to build an actual Pokemon deck, which I know very little about.
Before Target pulled trading cards from their shelves, deciding that the collectibles weren't worth the hassle of dealing with rabid collectors, I took Cory to a Friday morning card drop just to give her a taste of the darker side of this hobby. (She had a great time, though.)
As for my 102-card base set, I'm not sure what to do with it anymore. Now that I have this shared joy of getting newer cards with my daughter, that old dedicated binder is no longer my only touchstone to the world of physical Pokemon media. And that collectibles bubble...it's going to burst eventually. If I'm ever going to sell them, now's the time. But I'm not sure I want to. If I do end up selling them, my idea is to put all the profit into an investment account, call it "The Pokemon Endowment" or something stupid like that, and let that sucker mature for a few decades. That could be a significant amount of money. Is it worth giving up the sentimental significance of my original set? Man, I don't know.
For now, the card set remains in the binder, a touchstone of my childhood that I'm not sure I ever want to give up. In the meantime, I have a new childhood to cherish--albeit not my own--and Pokemon has given us a means to connect in that relationship. Just like it always has. Just like it was always meant to.