Gary “King Pokémon” Haase is, despite his lofty title, just a 67-year-old guy from Las Vegas who has a hard time selling off any of his enormous Pokémon card collection. And yet he holds this royal title thanks to the decades of obsessive collecting that’s resulted in him accumulating the world’s most valuable stash of cartoon animal cards, worth at least $10 million.
Input profiled the Magikarp Monarch—who we imagine was, at one point, no more than a lowly Prince Of Pikachu or Squirtle Squire—to learn how he ended up in this spot. After collecting Coca-Cola bottle caps, comics, sci-fi memorabilia, and other kinds of trading cards as a child, Haase got into Pokémon in 1998. He even imported some of his first cards “from Japan ... before they were localized to the U.S. market.” When, in that same year, he had to leave his job to receive treatment for malignant melanoma, Haase’s Pokémon collecting turned into a new career that involved years of driving around buying cards so he could resell them online for income.
Rather than cash out while the market is so hot that people are actually trying to murder each other for a pack of cards, Haase mostly holds onto his collection. One of his only lapses was selling a rare card to YouTuber/actual pocket monster Logan Paul for $150,000 last year. This decision was part of Haase’s larger work to increase Pokémon card value by legitimizing the market through tactics like introducing card-grading and authentication to the hobby, promoting it by getting booked on a 2016 Pawn Stars episode, and getting excitable YouTube men to scream about their purchases to a huge audience.
As a next step toward his ultimate goal, we suggest Haase issue a royal decree declaring that getting into Target parking lot brawls in an effort to buy cards is punishable by a lifetime exile.
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