The Pokemon fan behind the English teacher


Giselle Morales

Hitchcock and his small, squishy friends.

Giselle Morales , Staff Writer

English teacher Justin Hitchcock is a big fan of collecting Pokemon cards and started this hobby when Pokemon first came out (Pokemon Red and Blue). Hitchcock claims that he’s been there since the first base set of Pokemon cards.  

“My brother actually collected them for a while before I did,” Hitchcock said. “He would open the packs and give me the common cards out of the pack, he would take the rare cards and so my collection developed from a lot of the leftovers.” 

The first set of Pokemon cards were released on Oct. 20, 1996 containing a total of 102 cards. In February of 1996 the electronic game series (Pokemon Red and Green) was released in Japan and a year later the first episode of the Pokemon show came out. The Pokemon cards, video game, and show have become very popular, collecting millions of fans like Mr. Hitchcock worldwide.  

Despite only being able to have leftovers for some time, Hitchcock was able to expand his collection and currently has a whole room dedicated to it which includes 15-20 thousand cards. His favorite card is his most valuable one which is his PSA 10 first edition Dark Charizard which is worth $8,000. Hitchcock graded this card himself and bought the card at a value of $100. When it comes to the rarity of the card multiple factors come into play. 

“Scarcity, if a card is one out of one,” Hitchcock said. “For example, I have a Japanese gold star first edition Gyarados that’s signed by Fukuda, the artist who drew it and because of that, you can’t get that signature unless you’ve met that person. So scarcity usually, if it has a low print, or is hard to find or age, all of those things are factors in the rarity of it.”

Hitchcock does not organize his collection based on the type of the card, but his organization consists more of whether the cards are graded or not and on what he plans on doing with them.  He cherishes his collection and has a deep love for this hobby as he enjoys the activity of collecting cards for several reasons. 

“It’s a fun way to travel, to meet new people, and have new experiences,” Hitchcock said.   “Mainly that, keep having new experiences as a result of having these cards.”

“I get some cards from retail stores like Target and Walmart, but most of them I’ll buy from eBay or a website called TCGPlayer. When I want more rare cards I’ll connect with people on Instagram like private sellers. Cause the more expensive the card is, the more expensive it is to buy it online, so a lot of people will cut deals if they sell them to you personally. I also go to conventions where you can find a lot more rare cards. I’m actually going to one in March so I hope to find some rare stuff there.” 

While Hitchcock is in the search for more valuable cards he is willing to sell some of his own, as he has some that he can never let go of and others that don’t fit his interests. Not only is he a fan of Pokemon cards, but he is also a fan of the show. His favorite characters include Slowpoke, Totodile, Dragonite, Psyduck, and Bulbasaur. 

Hitchcock is not alone in his interest as most of his friends share the same passion; they either collect or play the card game or the video game. Even though at first Hitchcock’s goal was to make content with his cards, he realized it took a lot of attention and drove away from the idea; he is now more inclined on having something to talk about with his daughter. 

Hitchcock has love for his Pokemon cards, and even though he has tried to stop collecting them, he believes he never  will. He claims collecting cards is fun and that it’s quite hard for him to stay away from shiny and colorful things.