Last month, Paul announced on Twitter that he had bought a "sealed and authenticated" box of first edition booster boxes of Pokemon's base set. Had it been real, this would have been the sort of box to be sent to retailers when the TCG first debuted in the '90s, and is by far the most valuable expansion in the whole of the game.
However, TCG experts were immediately dubious that the cards were real. Youtuber Rattle immediately investigated the box, who found that there was a long and suspect history behind it. As summarised by PokeBeach, who was also suspicious, the case first appeared on Ebay last March by a seller known as "number1pokemonmaster". With no feedback history, a listing full of butchered English, and a willingness to send the priceless box via Canada Post for $30, collectors immediately wrote it off as fake.
Despite that, it did sell for a fraction of the value of a single booster box: $72,500 by an Ebay user known as PSAPikachu. From there it passed between a few people, before it was allegedly verified by trading card authentication company called Baseball Card Exchange and ended up with the person who sold it to Logan Paul, Shyne150. Paying $2.7 million for the box, they sold it to Paul for $3.5 million.
Even the box itself had warning signs, such as the code on the label not matching up with other known booster box cases or its own barcode, and it being faded in a way that's inconsistent with labels from the time. All in all, nothing added up about this case, and the expertise of Baseball Card Exchange was brought into question.
Finally bowing to demands to do the unthinkable and open the case to verify the contents, Paul and his partners were stunned to see booster boxes that were poorly printed and misshapen – obvious fakes. On opening one of the boxes, they found no Base Set packs, but a whole load of packs for 1991 GI Joe trading cards. Historically interesting, sure, but not worth $3.5 million.
In the video, Paul and his crew were visibly stunned, with one saying they were "all duped", and another saying it was "the biggest fraud in the history of Pokemon". Paul himself had to leave the room, saying "we got fucked, end of story".
What happens next is anyone's guess. Questions will have to be asked about every seller who has had this box pass through their possession, and the company that "verified" the box as being genuine will definitely have something to answer for.
We don't know what Paul will do about this, as he seems more interested in making money back through his new drink and Youtube ad revenue and not pursuing this further. He has an estimated net worth of over $35 million, so losing $3.5 million to become the number one trending video on Youtube and gain a load of interest in his new venture at the same time may have been worth it to him.
This isn't the first Pokemon TCG-related crime. In October, Vinath Oudomsine was charged with wire fraud after he spent $57,000 of his Covid relief loan on a single Pokemon card. In September, California-based Pokemon store Gary's Pokemart was broken into, vandelised and had much of its TCG stock stolen after it was seen selling and opening packs of Celebrations weeks before its release date. Pokemon is still big money, which only means big scams like this will become more common.
Amouranth scored a blue check after a series of bans elsewhere.