When a collector and former toy shop owner spent a few pounds on two boxes of Pokémon cards in the late-90s, he had no idea they'd make him tens of thousands of pounds.
The electrical contractor from Cambridgeshire bought two packs of the sealed cards from America 22 years ago for £30 each.
They were kept in a box under the stairs for decades after the owner moved house and forgot about them.
But after stumbling upon the rare and valuable finds recently, he decided to put them on the market – where they're expected to fetch some £36,000 at an auction tomorrow.
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The owner said: "It is bonkers, I know, but these are the kind of prices Pokémon cards are fetching now.
"I'd completely forgotten I had them. They were still in the box I put them in when we moved house 22 years ago.
"When I found them, I thought nothing of it really but then decided to check what sort of prices they were selling for. I was really surprised."
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The man, who preferred not to reveal his name, said the shock find was linked to the shop he ran with his wife part-time.
"From 1999 to 2000 I had a shop in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, selling Pokémon cards and Beanie Babies.
"It was a sideline, a hobby. My wife enjoyed running the shop and we used to travel to toy fairs around the country at the weekend.
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"When Pokémon took off, I started to import cards from America. They were made for kids and bought by kids.
"Packs of 11 cards used to sell for £2.50 each. They can now sell for £500 or more.
"When the shop closed, I put some of the unsold cards to one side at home. Back then, I never imagined they would be worth thousands of pounds today.
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"But there are a lot of serious collectors now and lockdown has fuelled the hobby even more."
The collection consists of a one Fossil Booster Box containing 36 unopened packs, which is set to fetch £11-12k.
With the addition of another booster box worth above £10k and sets of promotion cards worth thousands each, the total the owner is likely to earn is almost £40k.
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The haul will be sold at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire tomorrow (Thursday).
Auctioneer and head of the Hansons toy department David Wilson-Turner gushed about the prospect of being part of such a transaction.
He said: "It's a spectacular find that we're really excited to sell.
"Pokémon trading cards are massively popular to buy and collect and have been steadily rising in value for more than five years now.
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"Wealthy young people in their 20s and 30s who got into Pokémon when they were children are buying rare cards and prices have spiked.
"Prices could be fuelled even more this year because of Pokémon25, an ongoing celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise.
"It began with the original Japanese release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green for Game Boy on February 27, 1996."
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