Despite launching over 20 years ago, the Pokemon Trading Card Game has exploded in popularity in 2020. Items once thought worthless can now sell for thousands of dollars.
Not many could imagine in 1999 that Pokemon cards would one day be worth a lot of money. However over two decades later, rare items from the TCG have absolutely skyrocketed in value.
From special tournament prizes to shadowless 1st Edition monsters from the Base Set, here are the seven rarest and most expensive collectibles on the market today.
What makes a Pokemon card valuable?
Over the past year, online personalities such as Logan Paul have propelled Pokemon card collecting back into popularity. With some cards being valued at over $100,000, it’s understandable why there’s so much excitement around the hobby.
But what makes a Pokemon card valuable? Well, it all comes down to the rarity of the card and what condition the item is in. These two factors determine how much collectors are willing to pay and why some cards go for mind-boggling amounts of money.
Top 7 most valuable Pokemon cards
Before we jump into it, it should be noted that top lists are almost always up for debate. A card’s value can be determined by the highest it’s ever sold at auction, or what it sells for on average.
Prices also wildly fluctuate with the market, and are largely dependent on the item’s grading and condition. Our list is based on what the collectible has sold for in latest auctions, and its position will be updated if it sells for less.
7. Ishihara GX Promo (2017) – $50,000
A bit of an oddity, the rare promo card dawns the artwork of none other than the CEO and President of the Pokemon Company Tsunekazu Ishihara. According to interviews, the card was actually given out to each employee at the executive’s birthday in 2017.
The extremely scarce item sold at auction in April for $50,000. Reports also estimate that only 30 to 60 of these cards may exist, although it’s hard to know for sure unless more of them make their way out into the public.
6. No. 1 Trainer Super Secret Battle (1999) – $90,000
In 1999, The Pokemon Company hosted regional contests in Japan. Winners received a No. 1 Trainer card which granted them access to the final that took place in a secret location.
Named “Super Secret Battle”, the tournament had a lot of mystique surrounding it. The reward featured a silhouette of Mewtwo, which has made it all the more desirable to fans.
In July 2020, the Japanese promo sold for an astonishing $90,000 – making it one of the most valuable Trophy cards to ever exist.
5. Trophy Pikachu Gold 1st place (1997) – $100,000 to ?
The incredibly rare Trophy cards were handed out at the Japan World Championship. Since these cards were given to winners, it makes their population extremely scarce.
The prize cards also come in three versions, such as a second and third place. The Bronze trophy, for instance, sold for a jaw-dropping $100k . So it’s anyone’s guess what the gold one will eventually sell for.
It almost feels like a crime putting the collectible at this spot. Although, due to its scarcity, it rarely goes up for sale. According to PSA, only four are known to have been graded. Whenever this item hits an auction again, we are sure it will launch to the top of the list. One is currently listed on eBay for $2 million, but has not yet found a buyer.
4. Lugia 1st Edition Neo Genesis (2000) – $129,000
Similar to Mewtwo, Lugia was an iconic Legendary for many children who grew up with the series in the 00s. So it should come as no surprise that its debut as a Pokemon card was a major hit.
Decades later, the Psychic bird has become a hot item for collectors. While hovering around $50k the past few years, its 1st Edition release sold for a mind-blowing $129,000 at a PWCC auction in November 2020.
3. Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy (1998) – $150,000
This could only be obtained by participating in a special tournament in Japan. The adorable item features Kangaskhan with its baby in its pouch, surrounded by holo sparkles.
Fittingly, the contest required both a child and their parent to participate alongside each other in battles. According to reports, there are only 11 of these currently in existence that have been graded.
In October 2020, two PSA 10s went for $150k. With its scarcity, we expect its price will only continue to go up.
2. Illustrator (1998) – $243,000
Without a doubt one of the rarest of the rare is the elusive Pikachu Illustrator card. In 1997, CoroCoro held an art competition where winners were given the stunning item which depicts the Electric-type adorably drawing other monsters.
Over the last five years, the card has consistently sold around $195k to $200k. However, in 2020, one fetched a whopping $250,000, eclipsing the previous record of $243,000 that another one fetched back in 2019.
According to reports, less than 20 of them are known to exist – almost guaranteeing that its price will continue to grow in the coming years.
1. Charizard 1st Edition Shadowless grade 10 (1999) – $369,000
As almost any kid that grew up in the 90s can attest to, Charizard has always been the crown jewel. If you didn’t have one, you desperately opened booster pack after booster pack trying to obtain it.
1st Edition versions of this 1999 base card can go for an absurd amount. Even more so if it’s “Shadowless” – an early print version that doesn’t have a shadow around the art’s border.
On October 9, 2020 former rapper and Twitch streamer Logic paid over $226k for a Grade 10 1st Edition Charizard, setting a new bar for the fire Pokemon card. However, just two months later, a new record was set.
A bidder at a December 12 PWCC auction dropped $350,000 for the 1999 Base Set collectible. Incredibly, only four hours later, another 1st Edition reportedly went for $369k according to Goldin Auctions, making it the most expensive Pokemon card ever sold.