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Want This Obscure Soccer Player’s Card? It Will Cost You $1.4 Billion

Last Updated: July 23, 2021
A UK soccer card shop lists a 1-of-1 Panini Prizm card featuring Finland national teamer Joel Pohjanpalo for £1 billion.

We all have items that we tell ourselves or friends are priceless or not for sale, where the sentimental value outweighs all rational thought or reason.

That’s certainly the case for Kevin Hawthorne, the owner of what’s been called Europe’s first-ever trading card shop located in the English city of Brighton. His Fora Sports Trading Company has what Hawthorne calls an “uncountable” supply of sports cards dating back decades. The entire collection at the store is insured for nearly $350,000.

With that in mind, you’d expect the most expensive trading card at the store would be a vintage Pele or Diego Maradona card, or perhaps an Erling Haaland rookie — and you’d be wrong. Hawthorne’s No. 1 favorite player is actually an obscure center forward from German club Union Berlin, Joel Pohjanpalo, whose Finland national team just bowed out of EURO 2020.

And if you want to buy his card in person, it’s going to cost you…. *Dr. Evil voice* a cool £1 billion, or $1.4 billion.

“I know no one is going to pay that for the card, but that is the value it holds for me,” Hawthorne told Henry Tomlinson of the Brighton Argus of the card, officially known as the 2020 Panini Select UEFA Euro Equalizers Black Prizm 1-of-1. “I love the player, he is a bit of a character and quite funny, and the card is one of a kind. I just don’t want to sell it.”

If someone wants to buy the Pohjanpalo card online, Hawthorne is willing to sell it for a more reasonable (but still absurd) $7.2 million, which would still break the all-time trading card sale price record by a full $2 million.

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“The value of these cards is to the seller, not the buyer, even though I will always be fair when selling the cards I am happy to sell,” Hawthorne told the Argus. “In terms of sentimental value, I can’t put a number on that. If somebody gave me millions for it, I’d probably just buy it back.”

Given the explosive growth of the global card, market, however, Hawthorne can’t be surprised if that subsequent owner of the Pohjanpalo 1-of-1 turned around and listed it for $2 billion.

About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.