This article, published on January 3, was updated on January 13
The Paul family just can't catch a break. First, Jake Paul is accused of flexing a fake Richard Mille watch, now his older brother, Logan, is being roundly mocked for seemingly getting ripped off on a multi-million Pokémon card sale.
In case you haven't heard, Pokémon TCG (Trading Card Game) ephemera is big business nowadays. Beyond the fans who play the game, there's a whole subset of collectors who seek out first edition cards and rare booster packs — it's a big enough market to inspire six-figure auction prices a subsection of resale siteStockX.
Logan Paul, boxer and suicide forest exploiter, is keen to explore any new investment opportunity.
The internet-famous 26-year-old swiftly jumped on the NFT craze in early 2021. Then, in early June, Paul was endorsed by emerging auction platform Superbid; he celebrated by wearing a pristine first edition Charizard card as a necklace (price: upwards of $250,000).
Suffice to say, Paul knows there's ample demand for rare Pokémon cards.
Hence why he apparently paid $3.5 million for six "sealed and authenticated" first edition Pokémon booster boxes a purchase that sent shockwaves throughout the Pokémon TCG community.
For reference, a single booster box contains dozens of Pokémon card booster packs and these packs each contain a random set of 10 cards apiece. If Paul's acquisition was the real deal, he'd just acquired hundreds of sought-after first edition Pokémon cards, some of which could be worth hundreds of thousands individually.
In a lengthy report, Pokébeach's admin and Rattle investigated Paul's new acquisitions, scouring the available evidence until deciding that his "Base Set" case "may be fake."
The team first found that Paul's box was sold on Canadian eBay by a seller with no feedback and shoddy grammar in their listing.
Pokémon collectors turned up their noses; there were too many red flags to ignore and the seller wouldn't allow anyone to inspect the package before buying. Note that individual first edition Base Set boxes — not even necessarily sealed — ordinarily rake in over $400k at auction and this "complete collection" of six boxes would've been worth over $2.6m if real.
It ended up selling for just over $72k on eBay and, after consulting an authentication service, the buyer turned around and sold it to Paul.
The box was deemed genuine by an authentication service that had little-to-no experience in judging the veracity of Pokémon cards, however.
Finally, Pokébeach and Rattle also broke down some technical problems with Paul's set, ranging from the barcode to even the plastic wrap.
Long story short: to the experts, it looks like Paul got taken for a ride.
Thing is, this is going to have long-term effects for more than just Paul.
He recently partnered with "community marketplace" app WhatNot to give away a first edition booster box unrelated to the sealed six-piece case that he purchased, for instance.
Even though the box that Paul gave away isn't from his potentially fraudulent case, its authenticity is up for debate just because it came from Paul's collection.
However, the Pokémon TCG community is willing to forgive and even help if Paul simply reaches out.
"A note to Logan Paul: why do you keep consulting these uninformed individuals who don’t know anything about Pokémon," Pokébeach asks at the end of its report.
"The Pokémon TCG community has several members who have been here since the beginning who are passionate about the franchise and can help you... So feel free to contact us if you’re serious about collecting!"
A day after the internet lit up with callouts, Paul claimed to be handling the matter head-on.
The boxer reported that he's soon flying to Chicago to "verify" the case with Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE), the company that initially attempted to authenticate his Pokémon cards despite not having any experience in the matter.
You'd have thought Paul would want to do his due diligence before he paid a couple million dollars for some suspect trading cards but to each their own.
Rather than immediately update the world on the status of his cards, Paul instead launched PRIME, an energy drink brand, with fellow YouTuber-turned-boxer KSI and partied with reported predator Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports on January 9.
On January 12, Paul returned to Twitter to turn lemons into lemonade.
Did he spend over $3.5m on fake Pokémon cards? Well, he wasn't telling, at least not until publishing a (monetized) YouTube video on January 13 that'd reveal the results.
And, guess what? Paul got duped. Of course, he only admitted it in a video that began with a fifteen-second ad for his new energy drink (it's a win-win for Paul 'cuz he's getting paid from video streams).
Over the course of seven minutes, Paul and his cronies groaned as BBCE authenticators (the guys who claimed the case was authentic in the first place) peeled apart the wrapping and revealed that his supposedly sealed packs of Pokémon cards were instead filled with worthless G.I. Joe cards.
"This is the biggest fraud in the entire history of Pokémon," one so-called expert says. Not sure if that's verifiable, but sure.
One has to wonder if Paul knew that the cards were fake all along and that he planned to get $3.5m-worth of free press from people reporting the blunder (including yours truly). It's not like it's even the most embarrassing thing the Paul brothers have done recently, after all.