What Makes Japanese Pokemon Cards Special
It has to do with the fact that since they are the source card for all translated versions, non-Japanese collectors have a particular obsession with obtaining cards that have not yet or will never be released in their own country. This can be seen with promotional cards released only in Japan, which often go for high prices overseas like the 15th Anniversary Full Art Pikachu, the newer Battle Festa Pikachu, and the older CoroCoro Shining Mew.
Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card: Between $75000 To $100000+
Trainer cards are extremely rare. They were awarded to three winners at the Pokémon tournament in Japan in 1997. It is believed that only four copies of each card were given to each of the winners. The front of the cards has a picture of Pikachu holding a gold, silver, or bronze trophy. In Japanese, it says, The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournaments champion/runner-up winner/third place winner is recognized here, and the honor is praised. By presenting this card, you may gain preferential entry into the Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament.
Topsun Charizard Blue Back No Number Error
Sold in January, 2021 for $493,230
As with the other Topsun cards mentioned earlier on this list, Top-Seika didn’t distribute them until 1997, even though their copyright date reads 1995.
And since they weren’t part of the official Pokemon Trading Card Game, they are considered more in the realm of novelty collectible cards.
Still, an early Pokemon card is an early Pokemon card…
And, whether you’re talking about the prism holos, green-backs, or blue-backs, collectors are willing to pay thousands of dollars for several of the Topsun cards when graded in PSA 10 condition.
But a price tag of thousands of dollars turned out to be quite an understatement in January 2021 when Goldin Auctions sold the most desirable of them all, the only “no number error” blue-back Charizard on record in a PSA 10 holder, for a whopping $493,230.
The blue-back checklist contains 150 numbered cards in total, but for some reason, about 50 of the characters were also printed with no number on them by mistake.
So, while the standard blue-back Charizard should contain a “006” on it in the upper-left of the front of the card, the “no number error” will be blank.
If you can find one and are lucky enough to have it graded PSA 10, you could be looking at life-changing money.
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Are Your Pokmon Cards Rare
With regards to most Pokémon cards, there are 4 levels of standard rarity that are worth mentioning for now.
Its also important to note here, when we are talking about Rarity or how Rare a card is, I am not referring to the actual scarcity of the card or hard it is to fine.
Pokémon cards have different rarity classifications that are assigned by the Pokémon company themselves and can often be identified by the symbol printed on the card.
This can be somewhat confusing to those new to the trading card scene as most people will use the term rare interchangeably between the Classification rare and Monetary value rare.
This isnt something you should worry too much about as often a card that is Monetary value rare will also have the classification of Rare, hence why many players will use the term interchangeably.
You can figure what classification level a card has by looking for a small symbol in one of the bottom corners of your card:
- Common: A small black circle
- Uncommon: A diamond shape
- Rare: A tiny star
Promotional: A black start with the word PROMO written across it
As a general rule, the rarer the Pokémon card classification the more money it will be worth. However, this isnt always the case, so its best to be vigilant when evaluating your Pokémon collection.
There are certainly some Uncommons, and possibly even commons, that exist from much older Pokémon sets that might be considered more valuable than modern-day Rares.
What About Your Cards
The regular Charizard card might be worth around Â£300, Dan, from trading cards and collectibles shop Game HQ, tells Newsbeat.
Most cards that people have will be the mass-produced ones so they wont be worth as much, but they can still be worth a lot of money as long as the cards are in good condition.
It might be time to ask your mum to dig out your old stuff, but if you do, which ones should you look out for?
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Valuable: Pretend Magikarp And Gyarados
Unless you were in Japan to witness the grand opening of the Pokémon Center in Hiroshima, we doubt you’ve seen these cards recently. This is a rarer XY-P card, but throughout the collection, you can see a common thread: be there or be square.
As a set of two, listings suggest a ripe $2,000. That is pretty hardcore for some cute looking cards!
First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard
A PSA 10 Base Set 1st Edition Charizard just sold at auction with an ending bid of $183,812.00 via .
Including the 20% buyer’s premium, the total transaction value exceeds $220k.
As of now, this is the highest known sale of the card.
This card is often referred to as one of the most sought after cards, having been printed in the Pokémon Trading Card Games early days. They have been in existence for over twenty years and are limited in number. Its distinguished by a printing error as it doesnt have a shadow underneath the fire breathing dragon Pokémon.
As such, it stands out as one of the most valuable cards of all time, with the error being corrected in most of the subsequent print runs. This shadowless iconic card was purchased by former rapper, Logic, for a staggering $220,574 at an auction held in October 2020, thus, setting a new record as the most valuable Pokémon card.
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How To Find The Worth Of A Specific Japanese Card
The standard format card can be analyzed using this technique. You can find the price of the English Pokemon cards by visiting different websites.
Once you have figured out the price, you can use the formula below to get to the worth of the Japanese Pokemon cards you want to buy or sell.
English Pokemon EX Card Price x 5066% = Japanese Pokemon EX Card Price
Not Worth Much: Burger King Gold Plated Card
Whilst many different fans loved getting hold of a gold-plated Pokémon card, they are unfortunately pretty useless when it comes to selling with it only costing $20 to buy. Nevertheless, they’re still a cool card to own!
The main reason this card doesn’t make much money is that it was so common and popular. Everyone who got one had the sense to keep it and make some money off it. The more common the card the less it’s worth.
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Holographic Shadowless Venusaur: $3260
Just like its Kanto starter counterpart Charizard, Venusaur’s Shadowless, holographic, first edition version is a coveted card among Pokemon fans. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Charizard’s $500,000, but Venusaur always was slightly less popular compared to the other Kanto starters anyway.
Nonetheless, these cards were rare even in their original late-1990s heyday, so you can imagine how sought-after they are now. Buying one through Troll and Toad right now can cost you as little $390, but the compilation site Pokemon Prices has records of them selling up to $3260.
Japanese Promo Pikachu Illustrator
Sold in February, 2021 for $375,000
During the late 1990s, CoroCoro Comic, a Japanese manga magazine, held a series of illustration contests in which entrants submitted their own unique Pokémon designs and attacks.
Little did they know then that these contests would give rise to one of the rarest and most valuable of all Pokémon cards: the Pikachu Illustrator.
Not only did contest winners receive multiple copies of a card that featured their very own winning design, which was exciting in its own right, each of them also received a copy of the Pikachu Illustrator card as an additional prize.
On the card front, contestants received a special message:
“We certify that your illustration is an excellent entry in the Pokémon Card Game Illust Contest. Therefore, we state that you are an Officially Authorized Pokémon Card Illustrator and admire your skill.”
Just 39 copies were distributed to the contest winners, but anyone is welcome to guess how many still survive today.
Considering this example graded PSA 7 sold for $375,000, it’s highly likely we’d see a price tag north of $1 million for the one example in the hobby graded PSA 10.
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What You Need To Know About Mcdonalds Pokemon Cards
Earlier this year, McDonalds stores announced the Pokemon Happy Meal in celebration of the Nintendo propertys 25th anniversary.
The meals came in a specially designed yellow box with Pikachus smiling face on the front that opened to reveal the fixings of a Happy Meal and a future gold mine for any lucky resellers that managed to get their hands on the meal.
Four Pokemon cards were included inside each box, mixed and matched from a pool of 24 starter Pokemon cards. They came in blind packs of four, with one holographic card in each. Those holographic cards are now going for upwards of $200 on the resale market.
Japanese Super Secret Battle Number One Trainer
Sold in July, 2020 for $90,000
With just seven examples of this card graded by PSA, the 1999 Pokemon Super Secret Battle “No. 1 Trainer” promo card is one of the rarest Pokemon cards in existence.
Held between July and August 1999, the regional Super Secret Battle events gave school kids ranging from third graders to eleventh graders the opportunity to compete for a chance to be crowned champion.
Upon winning, the champion of each regional tournament would receive this item card as a prize.
Designed by Hideki Kazam, the card features a holographic image of Mewtwo on the left and a Pokeball on the right that make it instantly recognizable.
Across the bottom, the card reads The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournaments champion is recognized here, and this honor is praised. This proves that the person who possesses this card participated in the Secret Super Battle Best in Japan Deciding Match.
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Pokemon Neo Summer Battle Road #3 Trainer Trophy Card
Sold in July, 2020 for $18,600
As an award for finishing in third place in the 2001 Neo Summer Battle Road Tournament, contestants would receive this number 3 trainer card that came in a special case.
Trophy cards like this one are some of the rarest and desirable Pokemon cards in the hobby.
Just under the “No. 3 Trainer” text is a fantastic image of the main protagonist of the Pokemon anime, Ash Ketchum, flanked by Growlithe and Pikachu.
Below the image is a text box that reads: “The Pokemon Card Game Official Tournament “BattleNeo Summer Road” third place winner is recognized here, and this honor is praised.”
What Are My Pokemon 1st Edition Base Set Cards Worth
If you own any of the cards listed below, condition is the biggest factor in figuring out what your cards are worth. The prices below illustrate what these cards are worth after grading in mint condition as PSA 9’s & 10’s.
Important to note: It is very unlikely that your cards will grade this high if they have been played with. If you have these cards laying around in less than mint condition, it still may be worth getting them graded as long as they are in pretty good shape.
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Pokemon Japanese Topsun Holofoil Charizard
Sold in October, 2020 for $37,600
The Charizard is the most desirable Topsun prism holofoil card.
You’ll notice it features the same imagery used for the cover art of the Pokemon Red videogame released on the Nintendo Game Boy in Japan in 1996.
As mentioned earlier regarding the Topsun prism holofoil Blastoise, these cards feature a 1995 trademark date.
Still, most believe Top-Seika didn’t distribute them until 1997, after the official Pokemon Trading Card Game launched in 1996.
Do You Have Any First Editions Pokmon Cards
First edition cards tend to be worth more than other cards, so if you have some of those in your collection you might just be in luck.
For the most part, first edition cards are easy to spot as you will often see Edition 1 printed next to the bottom left corner of the cards art frame.
For example, take a look at a first-edition holographic Charizard that can get you, depending on the condition, anything from $2,000 USD to several hundreds of thousands of dollars.
While other editions still may get you around $100 USD on average, having a good condition 1st Edition card is always a good place to start if you are looking to sell cards from your collection.
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First Edition Holographic Magneton
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,750
Composed of three individual Magnemite held together by a strong magnetic force, Magneton is a dual-type electrical and steel Pokémon.
Often found near industrial areas and power plants, this mechanical creature charges itself by eating electrical currents.
Magneton is certainly one of the more unusual-looking of all Pokémon.
Look At Sold Listings For The Same Pokemon Card
On the left-hand side of the eBay search result, or in the filters tab, you can choose to view only sold listings.
The reason to do this is sellers will often list cards for more than theyre really worth, resulting in listings going on for months with no one buying the card. But if you view only sold listings, you can instantly see what people are actually willing to pay for the card.
If your card is in worse than near mint condition, you will need to look through these sold listings for cards in matching condition. Typically, sellers dont put their card condition in the title, so it can be difficult to use the search function to find matching cards.
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Black Star Ishihara Signed Gx Promo Card
A card featuring the Pokémon Company’s President himself.
Sold for $247,230 in April 2021
The most recent card to make headlines for pure value, this card sold for nearly a quarter of a million dollars at auction on April 26th 2021. You can find the full details at our story here, but this card depicts Pokémon Company founder and current president Tsunekazu Ishihara, and was given to the company staff as a celebration of the man’s 60th birthday in 2017.
That makes the card rare, but this specific version is even rarer, as Ishihara actually signed this near-mint card to boost its price even further. The “2017 P.M. SM Black Star #TPCi01 Tsunekazu Ishihara Signed Pokémon GX Promo Card”, to use its full title, is a testament to the raw power apparently held by the Pokémon president. The ability “Red Chanchanko” is in reference to the red vest traditionally worn on 60th birthdays in Japan, and prevents the effect of any attack, ability or trainer card against Ishihara. Meanwhile, its GX move “60 Congratulations”, tells you to flip 60 coins, and take a present for each one. A truly legendary card.
Pokemon World Championships Number 2 Trainer
Sold in February, 2021 for $110,000
From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 20, 2006, the best of the best battled at the World Championships held at the Hilton Anaheim hotel in Anaheim, California.
Contestants across three divisions competed feverishly to be one of the top 32 players from each division to advance to the finals on Sunday to crown a champion.
Those who finished in second place received this number 2 trainer card which features a fantastic image of Pikachu holding a silver cup trophy.
The official 2006 Pokemon World Championships logo rests in the bottom-right corner, adding a nice touch to an already impressive-looking card.
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Where The High Values Came From
It started with resellers camping out all night for the cards, so McDonalds employees put a one-per-customer limit on the Happy Meals in order to stave off any violence should the first person in line buy everything in stock and leave everyone tired, hungry, and cardless:
But by allowing everyone a buy-in for the market, trades could be made. Value has since gone up by taking into account the sentimental value of the Pokemon, the look of the card, and the leveraging power each collector had with their own hand of four.
This left lucky owners of certain holographic cards with highly collectible McDonalds Pokemon cards on their hands.
Not Worth Much: Pikachu Latios Trainer Kit
There is nothing visually compelling about this card. It doesn’t even have descriptions for either of the moves. It just exists, and that’s really all we can say about it.
The lowest you can obtain this card is $2. Unlike other cards, there are really no price inconsistencies. What you see is what you get.
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First Edition Holographic Charizard
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $24,000
The #4 Charizard is by far the most desirable of all the first edition Pokémon cards.
Charizard made its first appearance in the Pokémon Red and Blue video games released for the Nintendo Game Boy and Game Boy Color back in the mid-90s and trainers have been relying on the character’s overpowering fire and flying abilities to win battles ever since.
Just how powerful are its fire abilities?
Well, simply refer to the bottom of the card’s front and you can see that Charizard is capable of melting boulders and starting forest fires with ease.
Charizard’s appeal as a dragon and one of the more rare cards certainly adds to its popularity but I think where this card gets an extra boost in value comes from the fact that Charizard appeared on the cover art of the Pokémon Red video game:
That additional exposure greatly increased the character’s notoriety and has driven up the value of this card similar to the effect we see with the Garbage Pail Kids card, Adam Bomb, and its status as the original cover art for that series.
Regardless of why this card is so popular, its value will continue to soar just like the lovable flying dragon creature itself.