Pokémon was bigger than a game for “Rad Dad” Bart Kiser. It was as big as the love he had for his children.
Kiser gifted a portion of his massive card game collection to his children Christmas morning 1999. “Some of us were a little too young to know what was going on,” says son Matt Kiser, watching home video of that holiday morning. “But we see our family … We see, especially our dad who loved us and was doing everything he can to share in that passion with us kids.”
Bart Kiser passed away in 2018, but the gift he left his children that Christmas morning is creating a lasting legacy for the Kiser family. Proving that it’s not just sports cards that collectors will pay hefty prices for, the Kiser collection is expected to fetch an estimated $3 million when it is sold by Heritage Auctions on July 24-25. That would be a U.S. record for a sale of a trading card collection that is not sports related.
The loving father, Bart Kiser earned the nickname “Rad Dad” from his career as a radiologist. He connected with his kids through the colorful cards depicting “pocket monsters.” This Kisner family is once again reminded of his love and generosity in sharing the family’s Pokémon passion.
“This is by far one of the most extraordinary collections I’ve ever seen and one of the most extraordinary families I’ve ever seen,” said Joe Maddelena, Executive Vice President at Heritage Auctions. “The Kisers are a loving family and Bart’s delight at sharing the Pokémon experience with his children is evident in just how far he went to build this epic collection – the ‘Rad Dad Collection.’”
Pokémon, the trading card game that swept the world 26 years ago, has once again gone mainstream during the past year. This year Heritage Auctions garnered world-record auction prices for sealed box sets, one of which sold for $408,000. Newfound nostalgia driving the market is the push behind Heritage’s inaugural Trading Card Games Signature Auction, its first sale dedicated to cards from Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! and others. Sealed boxes and individual cards date from the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s and are estimated to bring $3 million.
“I happened to go in our closet and there were two or three of these sealed boxes, plus 20 other boxes and I was like, OK, this is real,” Matt Kiser said.
Highlights from the Rad Dad Collection offered at auction includes sealed box sets such as a Pokémon Japanese Base Set Sealed Booster Box (Media Factory, 1996) released only in Japan (est. $40,000). These boxes were released in Japan on Oct. 20, 1996, which was a little over two years before the English version. English versions of these boxes came with 36 card packs but Japanese versions came with 60 packs.
A Pokémon Unlimited Edition Base Set Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast) remains sealed since 1999, the year the set was released (est. $20,000). It includes 36 booster packs, each with 11 cards, for a total of 396 cards. The cards have never been touched and they are all likely gem mint condition.
Bart Kiser obtained a rare Pokémon First Edition Jungle Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) (est. $15,000). This was the second set of the mega-popular Pokémon Trading Card Game, released on June 16, 1999. The set included a total of 64 cards and it was the first set to include copies of the holographic cards in non-holographic form.
The rare Pokémon Japanese Gym Challenge Set Sealed Booster Box (Media Factory, 1999) focused on the last four Gym Leaders from the game’s Kanto region: the physic-type Gym Leader Sabrina, the poison-type Gym Leader Koga, the-fire type Gym Leader Blaine, and Gym Leader Giovanni (leader of the evil Team Rocket organization). This is a sealed booster box from the set.
The set (est. $10,000) was released on June 25, 1999 over a year before the English version. The artwork on the box features the 4 Gym Leaders with a then little-known face in the background, Mewtwo. These Japanese boxes are not only rare but they also come with almost twice the number of booster packs, 60 packs in total.
A Pokémon First Edition Fossil Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 1999) (est. $15,000) was the third set of the Pokémon Trading Card Game and Bart Kiser acquired a box shortly after it was released Oct. 10, 1999. He preserved the box in its original shrink-wrap. The set included 62 total cards, and since the box includes 36 booster packs, each with 11 cards for a total of 396 cards, it’s likely that it includes more than one complete set, making it a must-have for hardcore Pokémon collectors.
Additional highlights from the Rad Dad Collection include:
A shrink-wrap sealed Pokémon First Edition Team Rocket Set Sealed Booster Box (Wizards of the Coast, 2000), est. $15,000
The 2000 booster box of the Pokémon First Edition Gym Heroes Set (Wizards of the Coast), est. $15,000
A rare, sealed Pokémon Japanese Fossil Set Booster Box (Media Factory, 1997), also known as Mystery of the Fossils (in Japan), est. $15,000
The iconic, 1997 Japanese release of Pokémon Team Rocket Set Sealed Booster Box (Media Factory, 1997), est. $15,000
The Rad Dad Collection will debut in Heritage Auctions’ Trading Card Games Signature Auction, July 24-25 on HA.com.