LARGER THAN LIFE, or at least a deck of playing cards
While the resurgence of the Pokemon TCG has caused many of us to take a dive back down memory lane and rediscover the old sets and old favorite cards, there is one category of Pokemon cards that doesn't get mentioned very often, yet they have existed longer than cards in English have. I am referring to Jumbo Pokemon cards, which as you may infer from the name, are larger than the typical Pokemon, sometimes by quite a large margin. The very first Jumbo promo to be released was in 1997 through Coro Coro Magazine, and it featured Pikachu, Clefairy, and Jigglypuff all on the same card, something that also had not yet been done in the TCG. The jumbos I will be talking about today do not include box toppers or Pokemon Fan club promos, as both of those are in their own category when it comes to price point and would be hard to judge against jumbos released as part of a promotional event or campaign. Next week I’ll be writing a whole piece on the Pokemon fan club cards because WOW thats a wild and expensive ride.
Jumbo promos occupy an odd space in the collectosphere. While some are extremely rare and feature very popular characters, the demand for them has always been tepid on the whole. Different collectors have their own reasons for whether or not they pursue vintage jumbos, but the cards themselves present some significant challenges for serious collectors. For one thing, the cards are very easily damaged. With so much surface area to keep safe, keeping your jumbo promo in mint condition is like trying to protect a slightly thicker piece of printer paper. The edges and corners are easily damaged, and as these were mostly given out during promotional events rather than as part of a sealed product, the condition of the jumbo cards were often below near mint by the time the customer even received it. Finding crisp corners and edges on these can be near impossible, lowering the appeal of grading many copies. As a seller, shipping these cards can be a big headache as well. Great care must be taken, and likely you will need to invest in some comic book packing material to really do the job right, and even then there is no card sleeve big enough for many of the jumbos.
OK SO WHY BOTHER WRITING ABOUT IT
Well because of all the issues I stated above, the prices on many of these cards are quite low considering their age and scarcity. The cards themselves are super cool collectors items and can be easily stored safely by simply purchasing Comic book boards and sleeves. They are also affordable! In a market where nobody knows what's a dip and what's just the market sinking, these cards are awesome additions to a collection and won't make you miss a mortgage payment. The Jumbo base set Charizard released in Coro Coro is the second most expensive jumbo promo on my list and the PSA 8 (an EXTREMELY high grade for a jumbo card) sold for only $365. Raw copies in great condition can be found for around $150-$175 as well. Our top spot is handed to the English version of the Shadow Lugia which was only available on October 2 in New York in 2005 to promote the release of the game Gale of Darkness. Mint copies can fetch over $250 raw and are very hard to find. The card also features a very cool alternate form of Lugia which makes the card very desirable, scarcity aside. So yes, our top spot for raw card price still sits at under $300, while most vintage jumbo cards can be grabbed in decent condition for under $50 on eBay. I wanted to write about the Jumbo cards because I feel like they are overlooked, but hold a unique place in the history of the Pokemon TCG and make excellent additions to collections for not a lot of monetary investment. The Coro Coro Jumbo Legendary Birds promo is one of my favorite cards, and the idea of having all three birds on one card would later be repeated for the Hidden Fates set many years later.
To conclude, I think it worth anyone’s time to do a bit of digging and see what Jumbos are out there to collect. If you haven’t seen the Zoroark jumbo promo that features Rayquaza, Groudon, and Dialga, LOOK IT UP! It is a STUNNING card and I was convinced to buy one just from doing research for writing this article. Jumbos are a fun way to spice up your collection, and add pieces that a lot of people may have never seen before. Whether you stream and want to add a bit of variation to your background, or you just are looking for a new avenue to look into, Jumbo promos have a lot to offer and are worth a bit of research.