The Blue-Eyes White Dragon 20th Anniversary Gold Edition card was first announced in 2018, limited to only 500 cards, and priced at 200,000 yen ($1,800). At a recent auction in China, where the expected value was around $45,000, the price suddenly increased to over $13 million.
The numbered cards were originally sold only through Konami’s online store in Japan, launching in February 2019.
According to Abema Times, ANN News, and The Huffington Post Japan, the card was originally seized through a corruption case by a courthouse in Anhui province, China. SCMP adds that the auction was selling assets of a man sentenced to life in prison for embezzling nearly $10.8 million from a government fund.
The card was put on an auction site on June 21 at around 4pm. Other goods from the man’s possession included several Nintendo Switches and a diamond and gold encrusted PlayStation 4.
The card, however, does not have a certificate of authenticity, and The Huffington Post added that it’s unclear whether the card is genuine or not. That’s actually beside the point. What’s important is the way the bidding went wild—really wild.
Within minutes, bidding reached $77,000. In the home stretch, there were over 2,000 bids, the numbers going sky-high. By the evening of the 22nd, the bidding was up to $13.4 million.
ANN News reports that Yu-Gi-Oh! is popular in Japan, but it doesn’t seem popular enough to command these prices. It certainly seems like something odd was going on!
The auction site noted that the bidding “diverged considerably” from the card’s actual value and that it was possible there were “speculative, malicious bids” that drove up the numbers. The item was then suddenly pulled, and it’s not certain whether the auction will take legal action against spurious bidders.