Bids on an auction lot ballooned to $13.4 million because people believed it contained a rare 'Blue-Eyes White Dragon' Yu-Gi-Oh! card

Bids on an auction lot ballooned to $13.4 million because people believed it contained a rare 'Blue-Eyes White Dragon' Yu-Gi-Oh! card
Attendees play a Yu-Gi-Oh! card game at the Konami booth during Preview Night at Comic-Con International at San Diego Convention Center on July 18, 2018 in San Diego, California. Daniel Knighton/Getty Images
  • A court auctioning off a criminal's possessions listed a card believed to be worth around $46,000.
  • Minutes after the bidding started, the price of the card jumped from $12 to $77,000 and eventually ballooned to $13.4 million.
  • A separate auction for a USB drive owned by the same man and rumored to contain Bitcoin information hit $77,000.

A court in China called off a judicial auction after public bids for a rare Yu-Gi-Oh collectible card climbed to $13.4 million.

The card was auctioned as part of a judicial lot, and started at a base price of $12 on Monday, reported The South China Morning Post.

But word got around among collectors that the card was a 2019 limited edition version of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon, a card for which there only 500 copies in existence, said The Post.

Some game players initially predicted that the card was valued at around $46,000. But its price rocketed to $77,000 in a matter of minutes once the auction started and then ballooned to $13.4 million.

Thousands of bidders clamored for the card, with more than 2 million onlookers watching the virtual spectacle, reported The Global Times.


But proceedings for the auction closed on the same day, said the Times, after government officials became suspicious of the inflated price.

"This auction has been suspended. The lot is seriously inconsistent with the actual bid price, and malicious bidding behavior is suspected," read a statement from the auction platform seen by The Times.

The owner of the card, Zhang Yu Jie, was sentenced to life in prison in 2020 after being convicted of embezzling around $10 million in housing custody funds while working at a government bureau, reported The Times.

Zhang's diamond-and-gold-decorated PlayStation 4 was also auctioned off separately, among other electronics, including a few Nintendo Switch consoles, according to The Post.

The price for one of Zhang's USB drives, initially valued at $7, shot up to $77,000 after rumors circulated that the USB held information on the owner's Bitcoins, and the auction was closed on Tuesday afternoon by the court, reported The Post.


Meanwhile, the authenticity of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card in question has not been verified yet.

The market for trading cards has swelled during the Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, customers rushed a Walmart in Pennsylvania when it restocked its Pokémon cards, and one man reportedly pulled a gun.

Sales of Pokémon cards jumped 574% from 2019 to 2020, eBay said in a report.