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NFL Linebacker Revealed as Owner of Rare, $1 Million Pokémon Card

Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Blake Martinez is revealed as owner of one of the most famous, valuable modern trading cards, a Pokémon Illustrator, valued at $1 million or more by CGC Trading Cards in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by CGC Trading Cards.)

Newly signed Raiders player Blake Martinez owns one of only 41 known examples, according to authenticator CGC Trading Cards

This is pretty much the holy grail of Pokémon card collecting.”
— Matthew Quinn, V.P. of CGC Trading Cards
SARASOTA, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, October 6, 2022 / -- NFL linebacker Blake Martinez, recently signed by the Las Vegas Raiders, has been revealed as the owner of one of the most famous and valuable modern trading cards, a Pokémon Illustrator. One of only 41 known examples, it was authenticated this week by experts at CGC Trading Cards ( in Sarasota, Florida.

“In 1997 and 1998, Japanese comics magazine CoroCoro Comic conducted illustration contests for its fans, and winners received one of the specially-printed Illustrator promotion cards depicting a character from the Pokémon franchise,” explained Matthew Quinn, CGC Trading Cards Vice President.

The Martinez Illustrator promo card is from 1998 and depicts one of the most popular Pokémon characters, Pikachu.

“This is pretty much the holy grail of Pokémon card collecting. It is in gem mint condition, one of the finest known. It is gorgeous, stunning, a 9.5 on the 10-point grading scale and we estimate it would bring $1 million or more in an auction,” stated Quinn.

Martinez acquired the card in a private transaction in September and submitted it to CGC Trading Cards for authentication and grading.
He described it as the “crème de la crème” of Pokémon cards. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he said.

Before joining the Raiders this month as an inside linebacker, Martinez previously played for the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants football teams. In addition to being a professional athlete, Martinez is a collector and dealer of trading cards under the name Blake’s Breaks.

CGC Trading Cards is a division of Sarasota, Florida-based Certified Guaranty Company, which is part of the Certified Collectibles Group, the world’s largest third-party authentication, grading, and certification service for trading cards, coins, comic books, and other collectibles.

For additional information, visit, call 877-662-6642, or email

Donn Pearlman
Donn Pearlman & Associates Public Relations
+1 847-971-0566
email us here

Blake Martinez and Matthew Quinn with rare Pokémon Illustrator card.