It’s a card that can never be used in the game, but that’s not what makes it special.

Tokyo trading card game specialty shop Hareruya 2 writes its name in Japanese with the characters 晴れる屋, which translate to “sunny shop.” The store’s name, though, is a pretty obvious play on words with “Hallelujah!”, and if you’re a collector looking through their stock right now, you just might find yourself shouting that reverent exclamation.

That’s because Hareruya 2, which is located in the Akihabara neighborhood, has a Pokémon Illustrator card for sale. The rarest of Pokémon cards, it didn’t matter how many packs you tore open, you weren’t going to find one. The only way to get a Pokémon Illustrator was to win it, as they were prizes from manga magazine CoroCoro Comic as part of a reader art contest back in 1997. Even then, the cards were only awarded to the best of the best, those whose illustrations were deemed worthy of the contest’s Grand Prize or Outstanding Performance Awards.

There are believed to be fewer than 45 Pokémon Illustrator cards in existence, but now there’s one available at Hareruya 2, just waiting for someone to come along and buy it. That’s basically a miracle, but miracles don’t come cheap. Hareruya 2’s asking price? 200 million yen (US$1.55 million).

▼ Hareruya 2’s Pokémon Illustrator card

That’s not the kind of money anyone wants to drop without being very sure of what they’re buying, and so Hareruya 2 says the card has been appraised by U.S.-based organization Professional Sports Authenticator, which judged it an 8.5 on its 10-point condition scale.

▼ Hareruya 2’s store manager and Hareruya’s company president presenting the card

For those wondering what sort of gameplay benefits there are to the Pokémon Illustrator card, it provides none. The card is, essentially, an award certificate, with no listed effects of any kind should it be used in competitive play. In other words, it’s a collector’s item in the truest sense of the term.

It’s worth pointing out that the Pokémon Illustrator has been in Hareruya’s possession, and for sale for 200 million yen, since late December. Such a coveted card going unclaimed for that long suggests that the asking price might be higher than speculators think its future value would be. On the other hand, Pokémon Illustrators don’t come up for sale very often, and if the price feels right for you, Hareruya 2’s can be purchased through their website here by clicking on “add to cart,” which isn’t something you can say about a lot of things that cost 200 million yen.

Source: Akiba Keizai Shimbun, Hareruya 2
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