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What Is A First Edition Pokemon Card


Pokmon Game #4 Charizard Holo

What is a 1st Edition Pokemon Card?

Average Value in PSA 10: $23,224

As the de facto face of Pokémon, much has been said of the iconic 1st Edition Holographic Charizard. Maybe its the spectacular artwork. Maybe its because Charizard has been a popular, powerful character since the inception of the franchise. Whatever the case may be, the card that has been likened to the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card of the Pokémon realm is, without a doubt, the most desirable of the set. In PSA 10, the card has sold for as high as $40k and regularly commands values in the $20k range.

Pokmon Game #16 Zapdos Holo

Average Value in PSA 10: $1,494

The first of the original legendary birds in card form, followed by Articuno and Moltres in the Fossil series, Zapdos rounds out the holographic cards for the 1st Edition set. With an electric close to these iconic holographic issues, Zapdos can achieve values of around $1,500.


*Editors note: A previous version of this article noted the #10 Machamp at $180 in PSA 10, based off of Auction Prices Realized. Upon further review, that figure has been adjusted to reflect SMR values of $1,000.

Base Set: Unlimited Edition

There were reportedly six separate printings of the Unlimited Edition of the Base Set. The first five print runs had a copyright line that read: © 1995, 96, 98 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK. ©1999 Wizards.. These five print runs are completely identical, with no way to differentiate between them. The final print run, which was only available in the United Kingdom, can be differentiated by a change to the copyright line which reads, ©1995, 96, 98 Nintendo, Creatures, GAMEFREAK. ©1999-2000 Wizards. Cards from the sixth print run are much rarer due to their limited geographical distribution.

Unlimited Edition made a number of aesthetic changes to the face of the cards. The overall card appears to be a lighter and brighter printing than the previous Limited Editions. The drop shadow was added behind the art box to add some depth to the card. In addition, certain text, such as the Pokémons HP value, was set in a bold typeface.

With five to six printings, these cards are by far the most common Base Set cards in existence, and their prices reflect that. Unlimited Edition was printed to meet the insane demand of a public that became obsessed with Pokémon. A Charizard from these printings could fetch about $500 in Near Mint condition from a collector.

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Top 5 First Edition Pokemon Cards

Any shiny, shadowless 1st Edition Pokémon card will be reasonably valuable, but there are a few which manage to stand out from the crowd.

Buy on eBay

Lets switch things up, moving on to a set that was released the year after. Lugia was the cover star for the next round of Pokémon games, and while he might not match up to many older options, its still a card that is highly prized by collectors.

A white background is the source of a number of issues that are also seen with the 1999 Chansey card below, leading to higher values than the norm. There are often problems with the lining too, so there are only 41 PSA 10 examples out of almost 1300 that have been submitted.

Lob Monster Reborn #118

First edition English Pikachu Pokemon card 60/64

A charmingly expensive Yu-Gi-Oh! card

Sold for $6,600 in May 2021


Image: alewisam/eBay

One of Yu-Gi-Oh!s most valuable spell cards, Monster Reborn was first released as a Super Rare in the TCGs first-ever set of booster packs – Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon – in March 2002.

Monster Reborn allows you to special summon any available monster in either players graveyard, letting you potentially use your opponents strongest monster against them. This rare card is so mighty that its currently in the Limited section of the Forbidden and Limited Card List, meaning you can only carry one copy in your deck as opposed to the usual limit of three per card.

Something interesting to note is for the first three Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG sets, spell cards were known as magic cards, with some speculating a change to avoid potential legal troubles from Wizards of the Coasts Magic: The Gathering. The English dubbing of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime referred to them as magic cards for their entire run, much longer than the TCG, with the change coming only after the release of the second anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, to Western audiences in 2005.

A PSA Gem Mint 10 2002 LOB Monster Reborn #118 sold on eBay for $6,600 in May 2021. It was a first edition card, making it part of the first batch of cards printed in the set. The code above the top right of the description box indicates it is card number 115 from the LOB set.


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A Note On Pricing And Condition:

The examples throughout this text all utilize the Pokémon Charizard, who typically fetches the highest prices of any Pokémon from these early sets. Those looking to sell their collections should not expect Charizard-level pricing for other cards from these sets. While other Pokémon, like Blastoise and Venusaur, carry decent value, none approach the level of Charizard.

The pricing examples all note that the estimated retail pricing reflects a card in Near Mint condition. Finding cards from this era in Near Mint condition can be quite difficult. Pokémon cards are essentially pieces of a game, and many became treasured possessions of children who took them to school in their pockets to show off and trade. As a result, cards frequently show significant wear, which significantly affects their value. Unless exclusively stored in binders and played with in card sleeves , there are few Near Mint examples in circulation. In addition, cards that came from a household with heavy cigarette smoke, or that were stored in a damp attic or garage in the intervening years, can have a lowered value, even if the card physically appears otherwise Near Mint.

If you are considering selling your cards to a store, expect a much lower price than the retail price as stores would typically only pay between 30% and 60% of the retail value of an item.

First Edition Holographic Clefairy

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,500


Clefairy is a lovable Pokémon that is incapable of fighting and first evolves from Cleffa and later to Clefable after exposure to a Moon Stone.

The adorable creature uses its small wings to store moonlight that can allow it to float away when in danger.

Known for its extreme shyness, Clefairy is rarely seen and will only emerge from its mountain shelter under a full moon.

Almost as rarely seen in high grade as Clefairy itself, this card can bring $2,500 or more in PSA 10 condition.

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Pokemon Japanese Base Set Holo No Rarity Symbol Holo Charizard

Sold in November, 2020 for $57,877

The 1996 Japanese “No Rarity” Charizard card is a true piece of hobby history as it marked one of the first appearances of the iconic character.

Most Japanese base set cards will contain a “rarity symbol” in the lower-right corner of the card that varies based on the card type.

Holographic cards in the set feature a star symbol, so if you find one without the rarity symbol, then you know you’re looking at the more rare, first-print “no rarity” Charizards.

The “no rarity” Charizards are much more difficult to find as PSA has graded 3,634 regular base set Charizards compared with only 273 “no rarity” Charizards.


Furthermore, roughly 14% of the regular base Charizards have achieved a PSA 10 grade compared to less than 2% of the “no rarity” Charizards.

The Set That Everyones After

How To Tell If Your Pokemon Cards Are 1st Edition?

Long story short, 1st Edition means the first run of cards for that release. Each 1st Edition card released gets a neat little stamp, just below the featured Pokémon, to signify its 1st Edition status. That little stamp is key, as it separates 1st Edition from lesser sought-after sets. Its important to remember that immediately following Pokémons inaugural 1999 release, there were a couple of aesthetic tweaks made, tweaks that werent reflected on future releases thus the emergence of Shadowless and Unlimited. These factors make the first run of 1999 cards super scarce, and if weve learned anything in the hobby, scarcity typically translates to desirability and yes, value.

The king of Pokémon, which some even refer to as the 1952 Mickey Mantle of the trading card game, is Charizard. Commanding upwards of $20,000 and beyond, Charizards value, and that of 1st Edition cards in general, seems to only increase. But dont worry, you can still get your hands on 1st Edition boxes it will only cost you around a casual $50,000, while individual packs can be yours for around $800 apiece.

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Squirtle First Edition $370

Squirtle is the first evolution of Blastoise and carries the 2nd most value of any of the big three pre-evolutions. Although grading has slowed down drastically, prices have dipped in the Pokemon market. That said, Squirtle is one of the essential characters of the show and is a must have for any collector. Be sure to assemble your Squirtle-Squad by acquiring his English Rookie card.


PSA Pop: 1418 – 600 – 633

Current Value: PSA 10 $1175 PSA 9 $370

Pokmon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9

A legendary Pokémon on a legendarily rare Pokémon card

Sold for $144,300 in May 2021

Lugia is one of the most iconic and popular Pokémon in the entire series, having starred on the front of early Game Boy game Pokémon Silver and its Nintendo DS remake SoulSilver. A legendary bird Pokémon from Gen II, Lugia is one of the most powerful and hard-to-find Pokémon that players can catch in the video games – so its only fitting that its Pokémon card is also extremely rare.


The Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 Pokémon card is described by auction house PWCC as one of the most difficult Pokémon cards to grade, as the result of a number of errors and misprints that were included in the early runs of the Neo Genesis set for the Pokémon TCG. Later print runs were corrected, but many of the cards from the expansion remain more common in their earlier uncorrected forms.

As of May 2021, PWCC claims that only 41 Gem Mint 10 condition Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 cards have ever been graded by PSA, with just three earning the maximum BGS 10 Pristine rating from grading company Beckett Grading Services. The Lugias rarity means that it ranks almost as highly as the legendary first-edition Charizard when it comes to the most valuable Pokémon cards.

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Pokmon Ex Deoxys Gold Star Rayquaza #107

$60,065

This is the first of two Pokémon Charizard variations, originating from the 2005 Ex Deoxys Trading Card Game expansion.

This specific variant deviates from the highly collectable original cards released, with a more active fire-breathing dragon, supposedly shaded slightly darker than other variants.

These Gold Star cards are considered so powerful in the game that only one can be held in a deck during battles.

Not All Cards Are Worth Something

1999 Pokémon Game

Its worth noting that your average Pokémon collection wont make you rich. Most cards in recent sets arent worth more than $1, and even the rare ones often arent worth more than $10. However, there still is value in the older cards the ones that have been sitting around in self storage for years. Base set cards can be surprisingly valuable, and if youre lucky enough to have a first edition holographic card, you could be set up for a pretty penny.

If youre looking to maximize your return, use sites like pokemonprices.com or eBay to do research, checking each individual card of uncommon rarity or higher. Blindly selling your collection without doing the legwork on Pokémon card value could end up selling yourself short and giving a collector a great deal.

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What Are First Edition Pokemon Cards

First edition Pokemon cards are cards that come from the 1999 Pokemon card set. This card set was the first Pokemon set released for the United States market.

Think of these cards as rookie cards for Pokemon characters these were the first real cards released of some of these Pokemon figures. Thats why they were and still are the most sought-after and most popular Pokemon cards out there.

There were 102 cards included in the original set.

Even though there were many Pokemon card sets released later on, this first edition set still outperforms all other sets in terms of values.

Some of these cards from the first edition set will sell for six-figure amounts. So if you happen to have one at home, then youre laughing.

Pokmon Blastoise #009/165r Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram

A two-of-a-kind card that suddenly became one of the most valuable Pokémon cards of all time

Sold for $360,000 in January 2021

One of only two such Pokémon cards in existence – making it extremely rare – this Blastoise suddenly became one of the most valuable Pokémon cards of all time after it sold at auction in January 2021 for a whopping $360,000 .

The ultra-rare Pokémon card was created in 1998 as a presentation piece by Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast to convince Nintendo of Japan executives to allow it to handle the TCGs English-language release. The game would eventually make its international debut one year later in 1999.

While two Blastoise Presentation cards were produced, this is the only one that has been seen publicly. Even more impressively, it has been graded at a NM/Mint+ 8.5 level by certification website CGC, meaning that the 20-plus-year-old card is in near-perfect condition. The location and state of the other Presentation card remains unknown – meaning that this may well be the only such card of its type left.

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Pokemon First Edition Alakazam #1

Alakazam is one of the most menacing cards in the game. It has two spoons, which have mind-bending abilities, so almost nobody would like to come up against this card in the game.

You will be able to use two abilities: Confuse Ray, and Damage Swap. These two are both powerful abilities, and one of them allows you to confuse your target, which renders the target powerless.

Alakazam is also the #1 card in the set, which means it has a special place inside the first edition pack.

Overall, this card is one of the more popular cards from the set. In the best conditions, this card can sell easily for a five-figure amount.

Unlimited Cards Are Well Less Limited

Are your Pokemon Cards 1st Edition? Teaching you what cards are 1st edition – FYI PROBABLY NOT

Just like its name, 1st Edition came first, then Shadowless, then Unlimited. Unlimited cards all come with the shiny holographic features from Pokémons first run, but without 1st Edition stamps, thus without the inherent value of 1st Edition status. Plus, they are more common than Shadowless cards, making Shadowless versions more valuable than their shadowed brethren. Remember, rarity and desirability often go hand in hand in the hobby. Unlimited cards were, and still are, more widely available, easily attainable, and sadly, less valuable.

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Holographic Shadowless Blastoise: $2475

Out of the three final-evolution Kanto starters, it’s Blastoise who has the least valuable Shadowless holographic card, reaching heights of $2475 on Pokemon Prices. We say “least valuable”, but that’s still a lot of money for just the one card, and its hardly far behind its sibling Venusaur.

That’s if Blastoise is still in mint condition, of course, which is a big ask considering these cards are over 20 years old. Carrying the powerful Water-type move Hydro Pump, this version of Blastoise was a pretty impressive card to carry in your deck back in the day, but at this point its still a solid collectible card.

Shonen Jump Championship Series Cyber

A monstrously rare Yu-Gi-Oh! card

Sold for $30,100 in October 2020

Image: PWCC

Cyber-Stein was the first ever SJC prize card, handed out at the first batch of championships between December 2004 and July 2005. There were nine tournaments in total in this batch, the first being at GenCon SoCal , a short-lived regional version of the huge North American tabletop game convention Gen Con.

There were 18 copies released in total, with only two being given away per tournament however an extra two copies were given out at the 2008 Costa Mesa SJC, as it was the 50th edition of the SJCs. One was embedded in a material called lucite and approximately 126 copies were released at a February 2009 promotional event called Upper Deck Day. This means that there are only around 147 copies of this Cyber-Stein ever to be made, making it one of the rarest Yu-Gi-Oh! cards of all time.

Clearly inspired by Frankensteins monster, Cyber-Stein is a level 2 effect monster that allows you to special summon any fusion monster from your extra deck, providing you pay the hefty price of 5000 life points. Cyber-Steins ability is extremely valuable, as it gives easy access to strong fusion monsters with numerous powerful effects. Its for this reason that it is currently Limited like Monster Reborn, so you can only carry one copy in your deck.

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First Edition Holographic Nidoking

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,500

Nidoking is a dual-type poison and ground Pokémon that is the final evolved form of Nidoran.

With its sharp teeth, pointy ears, plated underside, claws and venomous horn that protrudes from its forehead, Nidoking is obviously a very intimidating reptilian creature.

However, its powerful tail is the primary weapon of choice to smash its enemies or create the spacing Nidoking needs to execute one of its devastating charges.

High grade specimens of this card can sell for around $1,500 or more.

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