Target halts sale of trading cards, including Pokémon, over safety concerns

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Target said it will temporarily stop selling trading cards, including Pokémon, after a disagreement over the collectibles sparked a fight at a store in Wisconsin.

In an emailed statement, a Target spokesperson said that beginning Friday it will "temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokémon trading cards within our stores." The cards will still be available for purchase online.

"The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority," the spokesperson said.

Last week, a man was injured after he got into a fight with four suspects in the parking lot of a Target in Brookfield. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the brawl started after the men got into a disagreement over trading cards.

Police told the outlet that four men between the ages of 23 and 35 physically assaulted the victim. The man, 35, suffered minor injuries that did not require hospitalization.

The victim, who has a concealed carry weapons license, allegedly grabbed his gun and the four men fled. They were eventually located and arrested on charges of battery, strangulation and disorderly conduct, the outlet reported. Brookfield police did not respond to NBC News' request for comment.

According to eBay's first-ever State of Trading Cards report, there was a 142 percent surge in domestic sales of sports, collectible card games and non-sport trading cards in 2020 than the year before.

“Last year saw an industry-wide surge in collecting and flipping trading cards due in large part to people staying home and finding new ways to spend their time, turning to cards while there was a lack of sports on TV. In addition, new collectors are entering the trading cards space as another avenue of investment to diversify their portfolios,” said Nicole Colombo, general manager of Collectibles & Trading Cards at ‎eBay.

Colombo said they believe this newfound enthusiasm for trading cards will keep the same pace in 2021.

The most popular cards are Pokémon, with sales increasing 574 percent from 2019 to 2020, according to the report.

A 1999 Pokemon Base 1st Edition Holo Thick Stamp Shadowless Charizard sold for $350,100. A 1999 Pokemon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard sold for just under $300,000.

Rounding out the report’s list for the top five most popular cards are basketball, baseball, Magic the Gathering cards, and football.

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