You understand that Pokémon's popularity is bigger then Mario.
Has Mario ever been on legal tender? Not that I know of.
(Only royalty and highly esteemed people get there face on money)
Sure Nintendo's mascot is Mario and Mario has been around longer then Pokémon...
But back in the day Pokémon exploded back then. It does not just include just game sales but also anime and other products.
In the golden age of Pokémon, Pokémon was more popular then Mario.
Understand popularity based on sales must include all products not just the games.
LoZ on the other hand, has many fanatics like Pokémon and Mario. Not to mention that OoT ranks as one of the best games ever.
LoZ's fanbase is like the Star Wars, Star Trek, and Tolkien fanbases. There are quite a lot of fanatics which in my opinion counts more then normal fans. One because they do things (like make fan series, movies, and novels) that keep advertizing the series. Two fanatics stay fans for life.
Let me throw a number your way.
A quick Google search of Pokémon's Net Value...
Pokémon stands at $24 Billion
Compare that to only the game sales which does not even break a billion let alone 24 billion.