If you were a fan of Pokemon in the 1990s, you undoubtedly still have a good number of old trading cards stored away in the back of your closet.
We all had a few Caterpies and Rattattas leftover from this craze, and if you were lucky enough to acquire a prized card like a holographic Charizard, you became the talk of the schoolyard and truly struck it rich.
Even now, new Pokemon cards are continuously being created, making many of the earliest Pokemon cards even more difficult to locate.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game will continue to produce new card types as long as Pokemon is a well-liked video game series, but none of them will ever compare to the rarest and most expensive Pokemon cards in the game’s history.
- 27. Gold Star POP Series 5 Umbreon: $27,000
- 26. Tamamushi University Magikarp: $66,100
- 25. Trade Please!: $1900
- 24. Tsunekazu Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card: $247,230
- 23. Misprinted Fossil Krabby: $2,200
- 22. The Masked Royal Prize Promo: $18,000
- 21. PSA 10 Charizard Gold Star Delta Species Holo Dragon Frontiers: $25,400
- 20. PSA 10 Base Set Holo Shadowless Charizard: $420,000
- 19. PSA 10 Holo Rayquaza Gold Star EX Deoxys: $37,420
- 18. PSA 10 Neo Genesis First Edition Holo Lugia: $129,000
- 17. PSA 10 Southern Islands Reverse Holo Mew: $5950
- 16. PSA 10 Torchic Gold Star Holo EX Team Rocket Returns: $50,000
- 15. PSA 10 Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card: $225,000
- 14. PSA 10 Holographic Shadowless First Edition Chansey: $1,100
- 13. Pikachu Illustrator: $5,275,000
- 12. Master’s Key: $21,201
- 11. 1999 Japanese Tropical Mega Battle Promo, Tropical Wind: $147,633
- 10. World Championships Sprint Battle Road 2002 No 1. Trainer Promo: $31,000
- 9. 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer: $90,000
- 8. 2006 Pokemon Promo No. 2 Trainer World Championships: $110,100
- 7. 1998 Trophy Pikachu Gold (And Bronze): $128,900
- 6. Prototype Blastoise: $360,000
- 5. PSA 10 Poliwrath Holo No Rarity Symbol: $25,015
- 4. 1998 Silver Trophy Pikachu: Never Sold
- 3. Japanese Base Set, No Rarity Symbol Holo Venusaur, Signed: $55,000
- 2. 25th Anniversary Celebrity Collaborator Cards: Never Sold
- 1. Pre-Release Raichu: $10,500 (unconfirmed)
27. Gold Star POP Series 5 Umbreon: $27,000
As one of the first shiny Pokemon to debut on a card, the Japanese version of the Shining Umbreon Pokemon card is quite sought due to its distinctive coloration and exquisite frame-piercing artwork.
However, its popularity and good appearance aren’t the only reasons why its price is so high.
One of the rarest cards in existence, the Shining Umbreon card was only released in extremely small quantities through the Japanese Pokemon Players’ Club between 2005 and 2006 for earning the most experience points through participation in organized play events.
Its high demand was demonstrated in 2020 when PWCC Auctions sold a PSA-10 copy of it for $20,000.
It should be noted that in 2021, as part of the 25th Anniversary Celebrations set, this card was printed again for the first time ever.
Even though the value of that version is significantly lower, it is still the third most expensive card in the expansion.
26. Tamamushi University Magikarp: ,100
This Magikarp card was created as a promotional item for magazine publisher Shogakukan’s Celadon University campaign.
It was given to people who were successful in becoming “Pokémon Professors.”
1000 Magikarps were up for grabs by mailing in the Entrance Test, Professor Test, Super Professor Test, and Hyper Professor Test (all located in various periodicals geared at kids produced by Shogakukan).
Even though there were so many printed, the PSA has only so far recognized 91.
PSA 10-graded cards sell at auction for $66,100, which is significantly more than any other condition.
25. Trade Please!: $1900
It wouldn’t be absurd to assume that this was a joke or a false card, but alas, not so.
This is a real card that was distributed as part of Suzukisan’s 1998 Pokemon-themed album Trade Please promotion.
Avenusaur, Blastoise, or Charizard, an evolved Kanto starter, could be won by mailing in the entry form that was included with each album, along with this special trainer card.
However, websites like PSA Card demonstrate that the original Trade Please card can reach prices as high as $1900 if it has been preserved at a high enough grade.
The starting Pokemon that came with them are also quite uncommon and costly cards.
In fact, this card was reprinted a few years ago for a similar occasion in Japan during Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary, but those copies were produced in considerably larger quantities and aren’t nearly as valuable as the original.
24. Tsunekazu Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card: $247,230
To commemorate the 60th birthday of Tsunekazu Ishihara, the company’s founder and president, these cards were distributed to the staff of The Pokemon Company.
Although the precise number of these cards manufactured is unknown, one particular duplicate sells for a substantially higher price than the others.
A copy of it that had been signed by Tsunekazu Ishihara personally was sold by Goldin Auctions in April 2021 for a staggering $247,230.
The most bizarre thing?
Even though it only received a PSA 9 rating, it sold for that much money.
23. Misprinted Fossil Krabby: $2,200
While errors might annoy the average player or casual collector, they might be quite valuable to the true collector.
A card’s value can rise dramatically if it is printed incorrectly, is miscut, has a typo, or has any other flaws.
This Fossil Krabby is an excellent illustration of that.
These numerous miscuts differ from a typical card in that a portion of the fossil symbol in the bottom-left corner of the artwork is missing.
These cards used to cost under $2 in their natural state, but this seemingly insignificant variation has significantly increased their worth.
According to Pokemon Prices, a misprinted card has set a record for selling for almost $2200.
22. The Masked Royal Prize Promo: $18,000
Given that it was just produced in 2017 and features the Masked Royal figure from Pokemon Sun & Moon, this is unquestionably one of the newest rare cards.
This is essentially a promotional card that was distributed to players at a prerelease for the new Shining Legends set that was invitation-only and only 100 copies were produced.
Despite the fact that this card is rather typical by most measures, it is exceedingly difficult to obtain, especially considering that it was distributed during such a limited occasion.
Because of this, tweets from players who initially opened it have been saved on websites like Pokeboon, and Japanese trade websites like Miyabi Hobby have previously listed the card for 2,000,000, which is currently equivalent to about $18,000 USD.
21. PSA 10 Charizard Gold Star Delta Species Holo Dragon Frontiers: $25,400
Interestingly, only one of two Charizards and the first of three Gold Star cards on this list.
One of the first occasions the Charizard was seen in its recognizable black shiny coloring was on the Dragon Frontiers Charizard Gold Star, which alone is usually enough to cause a card’s value to skyrocket.
A PSA 10-graded Charizard Gold Star that PWCC Auctions sold in February 2021 fetched a whopping $25,400.
Although copies have gone for as much as $60,000 in unverified eBay auctions, other sales typically come in at a lesser price.
20. PSA 10 Base Set Holo Shadowless Charizard: $420,000
This card’s value is significantly higher than that of any other Charizard card for a variety of reasons.
In particular, the absence of a shadow indicates that it is the initial print run of the first edition rather than just a first edition.
The very first cards Wizards of the Coast printed lacked the shadow on the right side of the art frame, giving them an added amount of value since the majority of base set cards have.
Second, even though there are thousands of shadowless Base Set Charizards in existence, they are quite rare.
A PSA 10-graded Charizard is one that is in immaculate condition.
By PSA, only 56 have ever been located.
These Charizard cards have emerged as one of the key factors for the Pokemon Card craze of the previous two years, with YouTuber Logan Paul only just opening one that auction site owner Ken Goldin predicted would fetch upwards of $500,000.
Although it often sells for much less at auction, one did last year for $264,000 through Heritage Auctions.
Charizard set a new high price of $420,000 in a PWCC auction in March 2022, shattering its own previous record.
19. PSA 10 Holo Rayquaza Gold Star EX Deoxys: $37,420
Rayquaza is unquestionably at the top tier of the royal family if Charizard is the ruler of all Pokemon.
Any set it appears intends to have great value, but none are as scarce as EX Deoxys’ Rayquaza Gold Star, which only has 56 verified PSA 10 quality cards in circulation and is therefore comparable to the well-known Holo Base Set Shadowless Charizard.
A PSA 10-grade Gold Star Rayquaza is worth an astounding $40,400, according to the PSA.
Additionally, auctions are subject to radically fluctuating price ranges.
Three items were put up for auction by Goldin Auctions in 2021 alone, with the highest going for $44,280 and the lowest for $34,440.
18. PSA 10 Neo Genesis First Edition Holo Lugia: $129,000
Neo Genesis is essentially the second generation of Pokemon’s Base Set.
It was the first time Pokemon from Silver, Gold, or Crystal appeared in the TCG, and its initial printing was hampered by a significant amount of typos and errors.
That’s primarily why a mint condition, holo, first edition Lugia from Neo Genesis is so sought-after, in addition to the fact that it serves as the mascot of Pokemon Silver.
Only 43 of these have received a PSA10 grade.
Even comparing cards in the same condition, prices for this card are very volatile.
PWCC sold a copy in November 2020 for $129,000, whereas Goldin sold one for “only” $47,970 less than a year later in September 2021.
17. PSA 10 Southern Islands Reverse Holo Mew: $5950
The creators of the Trading Card Game decided to release a special edition set of cards to commemorate the debut of the second Pokemon movie in Japan.
With just two sets of nine cards each that were distinct from every other set in the game, the Southern Islands card series was created.
These cards may go for a lot of money when sold in full sets, which is frustrating because my dad bought two of them when I was seven years old for only £20 each.
The Southern Islands Mew, which has a unique reverse foil treatment where the frame around the painting is the only element that is bright, unquestionably has the most value.
A duplicate of it was auctioned by PWCC Auctions in 2020 for $4,155, and more recent auctions have raised the price to about $6,000.
Only 19 copies have ever received the PSA 10 rating, however other conditions are somewhat more typical.
16. PSA 10 Torchic Gold Star Holo EX Team Rocket Returns: $50,000
The early to mid-2000s saw a decline in Pokemon’s appeal.
Many of the Pokemon TCG expansions at the time suffered from decreased sales and smaller print runs as “Pokemania” was about to go away.
Cards from that era frequently have higher prices than cards older than them since that Pokemon is once again popular.
The Gold Star Torchic from EX Team Rocket Returns is a fantastic illustration of this.
As a precursor to the various alternative designs, the TCG would eventually use, Gold Star Pokemon features Pokemon in their shining forms and have the Pokemon bursting out of the frame.
Who knows why Torchic in particular is valued at such a high level, but the PSA values the 17 verified PSA 10 grade copies at $50,000 apiece.
However, actual auction prices are a little lower, with one copy going for $25,400 in 2020 PWCC Auctions.
15. PSA 10 Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card: $225,000
Many individuals find it frustrating that some of the cards that are most valued today were once given away as cheap, disposable prizes in the 1990s and the early 2000s.
The family event trophy prize Kagaskhan, which was awarded to parent/child teams that took part in the 1998 Japanese Mega Battle competition, is an excellent illustration of this.
The expansion symbol at the bottom right of the illustration is a significant factor in the card’s value because it was only used on very early Japanese cards, making cards featuring it, like Kangaskhan, extremely uncommon.
Only 11 of the card’s 45 copies have ever received the elusive PSA 10 grade, according to the PSA.
For those highly sought-after PSA10-graded copies, Kangaskhan’s received between $50,000 and $150,000 at auction.
14. PSA 10 Holographic Shadowless First Edition Chansey: $1,100
Chansey is still one of the most expensive cards from the Pokemon Base Set even though it isn’t one of the recognizable starters or legendaries.
The Shadowless form of a card sells at a substantially higher price at auction than any other base set card.
The PSA has certified 48 Chanseys in PSA 10-graded holo, shadowless condition.
Despite this, they don’t usually sell for as much money as their slightly more frequent expansion counterparts, like Charizard; this is likely because they are less well-known Pokemon.
A PSA 10 Chansey was last verified to have been sold at auction in 2021 by PWCC Auctions for $27,412.
13. Pikachu Illustrator: $5,275,000
Although Pikachu Illustrator (technically “Pokemon Illustrator,” although most auctions list it as Pikachu) is frequently considered to be one of the rarest Pokemon cards ever created, there are only 39 officially issued copies and only 41 verified copies.
This card, which can be recognized by the distinctive fountain pen expansion sign and the two stars in the bottom right corner, was given to the winners of an illustration competition held by CoroCoro in 1998.
It is the only card ever printed with “ILLUSTRATOR” in place of the word “TRAINER” at the top.
The Pokemon Illustrator trainer card may be the rarest Pokemon card ever sold, despite the fact that many of the cards on the list are easier to track and connected to game events.
This is scarcely an official card in the game; instead, it resembles a Trainer support card and was awarded as a prize to illustrators who placed first in a competition at the 1998 CoroCoro convention in Japan.
It is frequently referred to be the Holy Grail of Pokemon cards and sells for absurd sums at auction.
Steve Aoki bought one in February 2021 for $420,000.
A little over a year later, influencer and wrestler Logan Paul declared that he had “earned” the title of the highest-priced single-Pokémon-card seller by purchasing the sole PSA10-graded Pikachu Illustrator for an outrageous $5,275,000, which is 131 times the asking price.
12. Master’s Key: $21,201
Another prize card that is highly sought in the world of Pokemon card collecting is the Master Key.
There are just 36 examples of this card left in existence, and it was only made in Japan.
Competitive Pokemon players who achieved high rankings at the 2010 Japan World Championship in Honolulu, Hawaii, were given the Master Key card, which prevents any new copies from ever entering the market.
One copy did, however, sell for $21,201 through PWCC.
It arrived in perfect condition, complete with the case and frame that it was shipped in.
11. 1999 Japanese Tropical Mega Battle Promo, Tropical Wind: $147,633
A yearly Pokemon Trading Card Game competition was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Just 12 of these Tropical Mega Battle cards were created for the 1999 tournament to be given out to some of the lucky 50 players who participated (who all had to be regional winners), making the number of mint copies still available today exceptionally scarce.
This legendary Trainer Card, which depicts a Psyduck taking a nap on a hammock on a tropical beach, fetches a hefty price because of its scarcity.
Despite going for as much as $65,100 at auction, according to PSA, the card is actually worth a stunning $147,633.
10. World Championships Sprint Battle Road 2002 No 1. Trainer Promo: $31,000
Due to their restricted printing and distribution, No. 1 Trainer promo cards are virtually always valued.
Finalists in World Championships receive them as prizes. But what distinguishes the Battle Road Spring 2002 promo is that each card is exceptional.
The wording of each card includes the owner’s name and the region they were the champion of.
It can be inferred that there were at least seven produced since there were seven regions for the competition.
Since it is so uncommon, PSA does not have an appraised value for it; however, it has previously sold at auction for $31,000.
9. 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer: $90,000
Such nice cards, I must say.
They were given to regional champions in 1999 and functioned as both the reward for winning a regional heat and the entry ticket for the Super Secret Battle finals, which took place on August 22, 1999, in a secret location in Tokyo.
Only seven of these cards, all of which have PSA grades, are thought to be in existence.
The card, which fetched a whopping $90,000 at auction in 2020 as a PSA 10 copy, is currently up for bids with a starting price of $198,000.
The seller is trying to earn even more for it.
8. 2006 Pokemon Promo No. 2 Trainer World Championships: $110,100
At the 2006 World Championships in Anaheim, California, each of the three finalists received a copy of this extremely valuable card, demonstrating that even runners-up receive significant awards.
Bypassing the entire organized points play the system they would otherwise have to go through, winning the card in 2006 instantly granted the finalist entrance to the competition in 2007.
A copy of the card that was graded a PSA 9 by PWCC in February 2021 was sold for $110,100.
The fact that it didn’t even have perfect PSA 10 condition but still fetched six figures should demonstrate the importance of this card.
7. 1998 Trophy Pikachu Gold (And Bronze): $128,900
The top three finishers in the 1998 Japanese Pokemon Lizardon competition received a special Pikahcu card featuring it clutching the winning trophy.
Only a few were ever printed as tournament prizes, and even fewer have appeared on PSA.
Only seven have been rated for each of the first place Gold and third place Bronze Pikachu Trophies.
One PSA 7-graded Gold Trophy Pikachu went for $128,900 on Ebay in 2021.
6. Prototype Blastoise: $360,000
The standard first edition Blastoise may not have generated a lot of revenue, but a different version that was produced before the Pokemon TCG was released has just been found and has achieved some outstanding records.
This would be the Prototype Blasotise, created as a test by Wizards Of The Coast, the game’s then-publisher, to demonstrate what Pokemon Cards might like.
Only three of the four were ever made and were ever seen by the general public.
As a result, one of the most expensive cards ever sold in game history, this card sold for $360,000.
The fonts on this card are its distinguishing feature; they are wilder and more varied than the uniform design of most current and even most classic cards.
Since it was printed on card backing from Wizards’ other TCG, Magic the Gathering, rather than the plain white material used for the version that was sold, the other version that has never been made available for purchase may be even more expensive if it is ever put up for sale.
5. PSA 10 Poliwrath Holo No Rarity Symbol: $25,015
This Poliwrath is made up of several attributes that increase card value.
It is from the initial 1996 Japanese Base Set, even down to the missing rarity indicator designating it as the first printing.
It is also holo, and the PSA has certified that it is in immaculate condition.
Even though they were made available to the public, incredibly few of them have ever been recognized by the PSA and awarded the coveted PSA 10 rating.
Only three have ever been discovered as of 2021, and only one of those three has ever been auctioned.
In 2020, PWCC decided to sell it, and it brought in a respectable $25,015.
4. 1998 Silver Trophy Pikachu: Never Sold
The Silver Trophy Pikachu, which took second place, is even rarer and came from the same Pokemon Lizardon event as the Gold and Bronze Trophy Pikachu.
Sole three copies of it have ever been discovered, and PSA10 is the only one.
The 1997 version has been auctioned before and brought in over $84,000 in 2020, despite the PSA not having any records of any auctions.
3. Japanese Base Set, No Rarity Symbol Holo Venusaur, Signed: $55,000
Collectible card buyers search for the first edition stamp on English-language cards.
However, on Japanese cards, you should search for the complete absence of any royalty mark.
None of these “No Rarity” cards are as rare as this signed, holo, no-rarity base set Venusaur, despite the fact that they are all far more expensive.
The card itself has a PSA grade of 10, which indicates that it is in verifiably mint condition.
However, there are additional PSA 10 versions of this card.
The artist Mistuhiro Arita’s signature on the case of this particular card is what makes it so uncommon.
As the illustrator of many of the Pokemon Trading Card Game’s most recognizable cards, Arita is a legend in the game. In November 2021, it was sold for $55,000.
2. 25th Anniversary Celebrity Collaborator Cards: Never Sold
Three celebrities who had participated in Pokemon’s 25th-anniversary celebrations received one-of-a-kind cards of themselves at the conclusion of the festivities.
Despite being genuine and official Pokemon cards, Post Malone V, Katy Perry V, and J. Blavin V were present.
Because collectors can only get one copy of each card, they are all one-of-a-kind and extremely precious.
Due to the fact that their recipients are well-known figures, it is unlikely that these cards will ever be reprinted or made available to the general public.
Since Post Malone is a well-known TCG aficionado and involved in the Magic: the Gathering community, it will be exceedingly challenging to contact him.
1. Pre-Release Raichu: $10,500 (unconfirmed)
The Pikachu Illustrator card, as previously established, is perhaps the most expensive Pokemon card ever sold, however, that doesn’t make it the rarest card in the game.
The pre-release Raichu, a first-generation card that wasn’t even intended to exist, receives that place instead.
With the exception of ten, it was purportedly printed by mistake when Jungle, the game’s second expansion, was being made.
The ten remaining cards were then distributed to a select group of Wizards of the Coast staff members. However, it is unknown exactly who possesses them.
No one is aware of this card ever having existed, and as of this writing, there has never been an auction for a genuine copy of the card (although one is said to have been sold in 2009 for roughly $10,500 on April 1).
However, if it were ever authenticated and put up for auction, many collectors believe one could fetch record-breaking sums.
A 2013 Yahoo Finance slideshow said it may be worth around $10,000.