Unique Pokmon Card Designs:
- Holo rare cards that have a shimmery, shiny effect to the image
- Reverse holo cards are shiny and shimmery everywhere except on the image
- Ultra-rare cards have the greatest Pokémon characters and are called EX, GX, V, Half Art or Half Body
- Full Art or Full Body cards have a picture that covers the entire card, with words overlapping the image
- Each card has a number, but Secret Rare cards have special numbers, like 113/115
- Rainbow Rare cards are part of Pokémons Sun and Moon series
- Promo cards are exclusively available at Pokémon events
How Do You Know If You Have A Rare Pokmon Card
The info in the corner of the card can only tell you what the creators of the game knew when they put the card to print, but the hobby of collecting gives objects lives and stories far beyond anything their creators may have intended. Just like with finding the value of baseball cards, age is one of the most significant factors in determining Pokémon card rarity: simply by the nature of cards deteriorating or being lost over time, older cards tend to be rarer.
While people of all ages collect Pokémon cards now, most of the oldest cards were once owned by young kids who didnt put much thought into keeping them in pristine physical condition. Bent corners, scuff marks, and other signs of wear are very common old cards that are still in great physical condition are much rarer than their worn-and-torn counterparts. Check out our guide to finding out how much Pokémon cards are worthfor more in-depth info on Pokémon card condition grading.
The age of a card, a casual assessment of its condition, and the aforementioned official rarity designations will give you a general idea of how rare a particular card may be. From there, you can punch its name into the PSA Price Guide, find its entry, then click over to the Population tab to find out how many officially graded copies of that card are in circulation. Looking for eBay listings will give you a look at the broader market since you cant count on every last card being formally graded.
Pokemon First Edition Venusaur
Sold in December, 2020 for $22,615
Venusaur, notorious for the large flower that protrudes from its back, is the final evolved form of one of the original starter Pokémon, Bulbasaur.
That flower serves more than just a decorative purpose, though, as Venusaur uses it to absorb energy from the sun’s rays.
Like Charizard and Blastoise, who derive extra notoriety for appearing on video game box art, Venusaur was the mascot of the Pokémon Green video game released for the Nintendo Game Boy in Japan in 1996.
As one of the most recognizable Pokémon, collectors are willing to pay hefty price tags for 1st edition examples of this card in high grade.
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Pokmon Snap Best Photo Contest Cards
The series of Pokémon Snap Photo Contest Cards covered here originated from the Pokémon Snap Nintendo 64 game. Created as a promotional contest in support of the N64 video game, players were encouraged to take snapshots of the actual game. Judges evaluated the photos, and the winners that were chosen had their work printed on special cards that acknowledged them as the card’s artist. In the end, very few of these cards were ever made making landing them on our list of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time.
What’s it worth? In circulation, some of these cards have sold for over $8,000 with the Gyarados card being one of the more sought-after examples. Here, we’re celebrating one of the cards from the series featuring the lovable Pikachu.
Backless Blastoise 1998 Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Holo 009/165r Cgc 85
The Backless Blastoise may appear to look a lot like the Blastoise from the original Base Set, and that is because it is a Wizards of the Coast prototype from when they were tasked with producing the first-ever English language Pokémon set. This card was printed in 1998, one year before the Base Set hit the United States, and was printed without any artwork or logo on the back of the card, hence the name, Backless Blastoise. The card was never meant for the public, but no one could predict in 1998 that Pokémon would take off in the way that it has. In January 2021 this rare Pokémon card sold for $360,000 making it the third most expensive Pokémon card ever.
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Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Of All Time
Initially released in Japan in the 1990s to accompany the Pokémon video games, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has transformed into one of the most popular trading card games of all-time.
Because of the red-hot popularity of the franchise, some of the most expensive Pokemon cards can sell into the six-figure range…
That may sound shocking, at first, but given that Pokémon is a worldwide phenom, there is a vast, passionate collector base around the globe just waiting to get their hands on these prized cards.
From trophy cards, to First Edition Pokemon cards, to lesser-known rarities, the value of these cards is quite impressive.
And in this guide, we take a look at the 50 most valuable of them all.
Let’s jump right in!
Ex Deoxys Pokmon Gold Star Rayquaza #107
Rayquaza, a legendary monster introduced in the Game Boy Advance version of Pokémon Emerald, is a powerful creature and long-standing fan-favorite.
This Rayquaza card comes from Ex Deoxys, a Pokémon expansion released in 2005 to accompany the video game release.
This already rare card was made all the more valuable due to its condition and quality rating.
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Pikachu Yellow Cheeks Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition 58/102 Psa 10
While the name of the Pikachu Yellow Cheeks Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition 58/102 suggests that it is the first-ever Pikachu card to be included in an English Pokémon set, in reality, it is not. The first Pikachu card printed by Wizards of the Coast presented Pikachu with red cheeks that were given to the Pokémon by Mitsuhiro Arita. However, Wizards of the Coast changed Pikachus cheeks to yellow because they felt it better complimented the yellow lightning bolts jolting from Pikachus face on the card. Both Pikachu 1st Edition variations are rare Pokémon cards with PSA having graded less than 1,500 total copies of each of them, the Pikachu card that takes the title for most expensive Pokémon card to sell on StockX is the Pikachu Yellow Cheeks Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition 58/102 PSA 10 for $3,500.
Pokmon Number 1 Trainer Card
This card predates the ever-changing, annual Pokémon World Championship cards. Before that point, the Trainer cards awarded would only change artwork a few times over the years and this card is the fourth significant change we see. Featuring artwork by Ken Sugimori, it was initially awarded during the Japanese World Challenge Summer event held in 2000. The winners here were awarded this card which allowed entry for the finals held that following August.
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Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind Promo
- Release Date: 1999
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $65,100
While not the most flashy Pokemon card on the list, the Tropical Mega Battle promo is an absolute holy grail for Psyduck fans. It doesnt get more adorable than seeing the Water-type mon playing the ukulele while chilling in a hammock with Jigglypuff.
Long before The Pokemon Company solidified the TCG competitive scene into the World Championships in 2004, one of Japans earlier iterations of the contest was known as the Tropical Mega Battle. In 1999, the tournament was held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Only 50 players from various countries around the world were invited to compete against one another. Because various Trophy Pokemon cards were given out at the event, the Tropical Wind iteration is incredibly unique. The collectible resurfaced in a PWCC auction in October 2020 and sold for a mouth-watering $65,100.
Japanese Promo Card Holo Illustrator Pikachu
Card sale date: February 2021
Card selling price: $375,000
What makes it special: As the most popular and well-known Pokémon character, its no surprise that Pikachu tops the list of most valuable Pokémon cards. Only 39 Illustrator Pikachu cards were given out to the winners of three art competitions conducted by CoroCoro Comic magazine.
Competitors created their own Pokémon art, and winners received this Pikachu card, showing the character drawing two other Pokémon Charmander and Mew. This artwork was created by Atsuko Nishida, who designed Pikachu for the Game Boy Advance.
Specifics of the particular sale: The PSA rated this card as near mint condition grade seven, which is coded as PSA 7 NRMT.
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Pokemon Players Club Shiny Espeon
Well, this card is arguably identical to the Shiny Umbreon I had mentioned earlier, but trust me, theyre not the same. This Shiny Espeon is more conspicuous in color, and its price varies greatly.
It has its fair share of popularity among game lovers that are keen on Shiny Pokemon cards. Although its rare and quite expensive, its available on Troll and Toad for just $2,000, and this is due to its creativity and beauty.
You can also do well to conduct your little research and buy them on reliable sites but always settle for the utmost quality.
Charizard Gold Star Holo Dragon Frontiers
- Release Date: 2006
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $25,405
Prepare to see more Gold Stars in the list, as the specially marked Pokemon cards will continue to make their appearance throughout the top 20. Next up is Charizard from 2004s Dragon Frontiers.
It should come as no surprise that the marked item would be a massive hit with fans, considering it features artwork depicting a Shiny Charizard. The rare variant of the Kanto mon looks stunning with its artwork depicting it scorching fire all around it.
According to PWCC, one of these scarce collectibles went up for bidding in a February 2021 auction. When all was said and done, the unique item fetched an eye-popping $25,405 which is makes it one of the rarest Pokemon cards of that generation.
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First Edition Holographic Blastoise
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,500
A water-type Pokémon, Blastoise first appears in the Pokémon Red and Blue video games as the final evolutionary stage of Squirtle, one of the original three starter Pokémon.
Relying on twin water cannons that retract from the shell on its back, Blastoise is capable of delivering powerful blasts of water with superior accuracy.
And just as we saw Charizard’s boost in popularity stemming from its appearance on the cover art of the Pokémon Red video game, Blastoise was the center of attention on the Pokémon Blue video game:
Rightfully considered one of the coolest-looking of all Pokémon, Blastoise remains a collector favorite and this card can bring thousands of dollars in high grade.
Pokemon Base Set Shadowless 1st Edition Holo Charizard
- Pokemon cards value: $420,000
Almost half a million dollars! Imagine finding that in your loft. Featuring iconic art from Mitsuhiro Arita, this is the most widely coveted Pokemon card ever made. But just having the card isnt enough. Over 3,000 of these have been passed along to graders, but only 121 of them have been granted PSA 10 Gem Mint designation.
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Pokmon Charizard 1st Edition Card #4/102
Charizard is unquestionably one of the most popular Pokémon characters. Given his presence on the original Pokémon Red game cartridge, he’s linked to the brand almost as closely as Pikachu. Due in part to that popularity, a highly graded first edition card has proven itself as one that is dependably sought out by collectors and consistently valuable.
What’s it worth? The value of sale has been widely speculated, but it can easily sell for as much as $20,000 for a high-grade example. Add to that the play value of this one and you can see why people have been on the hunt for all versions of this character’s card since the card game’s inception.
St Edition Neo Genesis Lugia
It’s rare for a card released in the West to sell for crazy money unless they happen to be part of the base set. For that reason, the original owner of this 1st edition Lugia card was probably a little surprised when it was sold by PWCC Auctions for nearly $130,000 in November of 2020. Six months later, and the price rose higher still when a copy of the card sold for $144,300.
There are 41 copies of the card to have received the PSA’s GEM-MT 10 rating, although the current record holder was actually graded by Beckett and received a 10 Pristine rating. Whether or not this sale will lead to other Neo Genesis cards skyrocketing in value remains to be seen, but – prior to the recent movement – the average sale price of a 1st Edition Neo Genesis Lugia had been just $70,000.
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Summer Battle Road Mew Victory Orb Trophy
- Release Date: 1999
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $60,000
The second tournament Trophy Pokemon card on the list, the Mew Victory Orb Trophy was given out during the 1998 Summer Battle Road competition. Spanning nine regions across Japan, only the top three Trainers in each bracket scored the rare Pokemon card.
According to PSA, only 16 of them have been given the coveted Gem Mint 10 score. One of these pristine collectibles popped up at a PWCC auction in December 2020 and ended with 51 bids for a final price of $60,000. It even came with the original plaque handed out at the finals.
As we dive deeper into this list, prepare to see more of these trophy Pokemon cards dominating the top spot. Since they were awarded at tournaments, they are intricately more scarce population-wise, and thus more valuable.
First Edition Holographic Gyarados
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,800
This serpentine creature is an extremely temperamental and destructive Pokémon that relies on both its water and flying abilities to unleash its wrath.
Its tough scales are practically impenetrable while its sharp fangs are capable of crushing rocks.
Because it lives in both fresh and saltwater, it’s best to stay clear of water in general if you want to avoid Gyarados.
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What Does Pokmon Card Rarity Mean
The official way to judge Pokémon card rarity is through the rarity designations printed on each card. On North American Pokémon cards, these are placed in the lower right corner of each card and take the form of a rarity symbol and a set number.
A circle on the lower right corner means its a Common card, a diamond means its an Uncommon card, a star means its a rare card, and a star with the word Promo on top means its a special promotional card. Promo cards are typically given away for special occasions, rather than being sold. Japanese Pokémon cards use a letter-based rarity scale instead, with C for Common, U for Uncommon, and R for Rare.
So theres one answer to the question of how do you know if you have a rare Pokémon card? If it has a star or an R in the lower right corner, its rare, officially speaking. Some cards have a holographic foil finish to either their card art or to the background design elements, making them Rare Holo and Reverse Holo, respectively. Ultra Rare cards are designated both by their foil appearance and an additional decorative designator after the standard card name, such as ex or Prime.
Finally, Secret Rare cards are identified by having a card number higher than their total set number. For instance, the Dark Raichu from the Pokémon Trading Card Games early Team Rocket expansion was numbered 83 out of 82 for the set.
Can You Play A Game With Pokemon Cards Or Are They Just For Collecting
You can play a game with Pokemon cards.
The official game that was designed by The Pokemon Company International is called The Pokemon Trading Card Game .
That said, there are a lot of people that never play the game and just collect the cards.
There is also an official online version of the game. As of writing this, it available for Windows, MacOS, and in the App Store and Play Store, but it cannot be played on smart phones .
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Holographic Shadowless Charizard: $500000
There are a lot of factors that make the Holographic Shadowless First Edition Charizard card worth so much compared to any other Charizard card. Firstly, it’s a first edition version of the undoubtedly most popular Kanto starter, which already makes it extra valuable to most pokemon fans. Alongside this, the card is also shadowless, which essentially means the card lacks a shadow between the box containing the image of the Pokemon, and the rest of the card.
This “Shadowless” effect is not a misprint or a mistake. It’s actually the original Pokemon card design, as the foiling process has changed and provided a different look to modern holographic and foil cards. These Charizard cards have become one of the prime reasons for the Pokemon Card trend of the past two years, with YouTuber Logan Paul opening one as recently as February 2021 that was estimated by auction site owner Ken Goldin to sell for upwards of $500,000.