Pokemon First Edition Hitmonchan
Sold in November, 2020 for $23,100
Packing tremendous punching power, the fighting-type Hitmonchan is another collector favorite who can strike with extreme quickness and precision.
Ken Sugimori delivered an excellent design for this card as Hitmonchan’s boxing gloves, shoulder pads, and five protrusions on the top of its head create an aura of a Pokemon that you don’t want to face.
Hitmonchan cards were some of the most commonly used cards in competitive play, making them tough to find in top condition.
Most Valuable First Edition Pokemon Cards
Originally released in Japan as a video game, Pokémon later transformed into a trading card game that began hitting store shelves in the U.S. in 1999.
Today, these trading cards are some of the hottest non-sports cards in the hobby.
And with a catchphrase like Gotta Catch Em All., it’s easy to understand why.
On top of common and rare cards in the base set, there are variations such as Shadowless and First Edition Pokémon cards needed to complete an entire run.
Those First Edition cards are especially some of the rarest and some are even considered to be among the most expensive Pokémon cards in general.
And in this guide, we take a look at the 25 most valuable.
Let’s jump right in!
Pokemon Ex Team Rocket Returns Torchic Gold Star
Sold in December, 2020 for $25,400
Released in 2004, the EX Team Rocket Returns set marked the seventh expansion from the EX Series and featured 111 cards in its checklist.
Three of the cards, #107 , #108 , and #109 , are special holographic shiny rare cards noted by the gold star next to their name.
First introduced in the third generation of Pokemon games, Torchic is one of the three starter Pokemon that originate in the Hoenn region.
This orange and yellow chick may look cute and cuddly, but make no mistake, this fire-type Pokemon can shoot fireballs at its enemies that will instantly leave them burnt to a crisp.
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Pokemon Japanese Neo Summer Battle Number 2 Trainer
Sold in November, 2020 for $20,105
Just a bit ago, we had a look at the number 3 trainer card from the 2001 Neo Summer Battle Road Tournament.
And now we are looking at the card that contestants would receive for finishing in second place in that tournament.
The card has pretty much the same look and feel as the third-place card, but Chancey and Doduo have joined Pikachu and Growlithe in posing with Ash Ketchum, as he holds a silver medal.
Even in a PSA 7 holder, this card will sell for thousands of dollars to give you an idea of just how coveted these trophy cards are.
Psa 9 1st Edition Charizard Shadowless Thick Stamp: $17000
You read that righthere’s yet another ultra-valuable Charizard. 1999 Charizard cards are among the most sought-after cards for collectors, and this 1st Edition holographic card is a gem among Charizards. Not only does it have a high PSA rating, but being “Shadowless” means it belongs to the first or second edition of card releases, before a drop shadow was added to the box surrounding the characters. The “1st Edition” stamp clarifies its rarity.
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$1500 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Mewtwo
Of course the first actual badass villain Pokémon is worth a lot in card form. Surprisingly though, he isn’t worth more than the next cards coming up. Mewtwo has always been a very popular member of the Pocket Monsters cast so it’s definitely completely expected for him to have a top dollar card.
Mewtwo’s shadowless defective appearance in the Pokémon trading card world will cost you from $1500 up to $4000 depending on the condition of the card. Bonus points if you’ve gotten it graded.
Pokemon Trainer Deck B Blastoise
Sold in March, 2021 for $20,000
This Blastoise card is one of the rarest in existence that was originally part of the Trainer Deck B or “Misty’s Deck” given out as a promotional piece to Pokemon League members ahead of the official launch of the Pokemon TCG in North America.
The Trainer Deck B theme deck contained sixty base set cards in all, with the most desirable of them being Blastoise.
Had Charizard been included in the Trainer Deck B set, it would have been the most desirable, but that’s beside the point.
An easy way to recognize a Trainer Deck B Blastoise is that it is the only non-holographic base set Blastoise.
And, if you’re still not 100% sure, you can flip the card over and you’ll see that the card’s reverse is printed with a distinct red border and “Misty’s Deck” verbiage.
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First Edition Holographic Poliwrath
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,500
This round, blue powerhouse is a dual-type water and fighting Pokémon known for its strength and endurance.
A versatile swimmer capable of going long distances without tiring, Poliwrath is also known to be able to run on the surface of the water for brief periods of time.
Easily identified by the black swirl on its white underbelly, Poliwrath is a formidable opponent that can easily outlast its enemies due to its superior stamina.
Pokmon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind
An ultra-rare promo card – one of only a dozen ever made
Sold for $65,100 in October 2020
Only 12 Tropical Wind cards were produced as promo cards for the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle, a precursor to the Pokémon World Championships, making it one of the most valuable Pokémon sets around.
The Tropical Mega Battle saw 50 players from around the globe take part in a tournament for the trading card game in Honolulu, Hawaii. The only way to participate was to win a battle in your local region and earn an invite, making it an exclusive event for the best Pokémon trainers in the world – and the cards offered as prizes some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
This particular Tropical Mega Battle promo card, the 1999 Japanese-language copy of Tropical Wind, has sold at auction for as much as $65,100 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, with the most recent record-breaking sale taking place in October 2020. PSA estimates its value to be as high as $148,482, making the ultra-rare card a contender for one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever made.
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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.
First Edition Holographic Alakazam
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,800
With its psychic powers that stem from its extremely powerful brain, Alakazam can bring massive headaches to those unfortunate enough to be nearby.
The evolution from Abra to Kadabra to its final form of Alakazam is one of the more fun name transitions of the series while this card itself is one of the more fun to own.
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Pokemon First Edition Chansey
Sold in November, 2020 for $36,877
Fewer than fifty examples of the First Edition Holographic Chansey have received the elusive PSA 10 distinction, making it one of the most difficult First Edition Holos to find in that grade.
Chansey is a lovable pink, normal-type Pokémon that uses the egg held in its pouch to complete its signature move known as “Soft-Boiled” to help heal people and other Pokémon.
Many believe that Chansey can bring joy and happiness to those who catch it in the Pokemon world, while this card in high grade will bring lots of money to those who own it in the real world.
Pokemon Korean First Edition Charizard
Sold in March, 2021 for $40,000
Unlike some of the other first edition Pokemon cards distributed in different regions and languages in 1999, the Korean version did not debut until a year later in 2000.
Still, they can fetch colossal price tags on the open market just like the other first edition sets.
Not surprisingly, the Charizard is the most desirable of the Korean first edition series.
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St Edition Shining Gyarados Neo Revelation Psa : $12000
This Gyarados card released as part of the Neo Revelation expansion in 2021, is special for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a 1st Edition card, but it’s also yet another “Shining” card, featuring a Gyarados with red skin. For Pokémon fans, few things are better than nabbing a shiny Pokémon, and that also applies to Pokémon card hunting.
Pokemon Japanese Play Promo 50000 Points Espeon Gold Star
Sold in June, 2021 for $25,700
Earlier, we had a look at the 2005 Pokemon Japanese Play Jolteon gold star card that required 20,000 EXP Points to redeem and explained how difficult it was to achieve.
As Pokemon Players Club members completed specific actions, such as attending an event, winning a battle, or placing in a tournament, they could accumulate experience points.
As if accumulating 20,000 EXP points for the Jolteon wasn’t hard enough, those who had the endurance and capability to press on even farther could unlock the Espeon after earning 50,000 EXP points.
The holographic element mixed with the gold star designation and incredible design from Masakazu Fukuda resulted in a breathtaking card that few ever have the chance at holding.
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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.
Pokemon Players Club Shiny Espeon: $2000
If you ever wanted proof about how much a Pokemon cards price can change just because of the Pokemon on it, you need to look further than the Pokemon Players Club Shiny Espeon. This card is almost identical in story to the Umbreon card you saw just a moment ago, but required only 40,000 experience points instead of 70,000.
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Despite being more available, Troll and Toad has this card for a slightly higher price of just under $2000. This is likely because Espeons shiny form is more noticeable than Umbreons, since the bright neon-green fur is a lot more distinctive and Espeon has its own unique degree of popularity.
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Pokmon Game #14 Raichu Holo
Average Value in PSA 10: $2,296
Players of the Yellow version of the original video game were introduced to the world of Pokémon with the reliable companion of Ash Ketchum, Pikachu. After a steady diet of hard-fought battles, a well-timed Thunder Stone and ketchup if you watched the anime Pikachu evolves into the more powerful but equally reliable Raichu. Lots of face time for Pikachu throughout the franchise has likely contributed to the popularity of related cards, including this 1st Edition Holo Raichu. Prices over $2k for cards in PSA 10 condition arent shocking.
Most Expensive Pokmon Cards In Review
Clearly, the non-sports card collecting world is every bit as hot as the sports card hobby.
Passionate collectors are obviously willing to shell out big bucks to land any one of the prized possessions on this list.
The video games, television shows, and the cards themselves transformed Pokémon into a worldwide phenomenon with an enormous fan base.
And many of those kids who grew up with these cards are now adults with more spending power able to pay big bucks for them in top condition.
It doesn’t look like that trend will slow anytime soon as these cards have found their place as one of the most popular non-sports sets in the hobby.
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Pokemon Pop Series 5 Gold Star Umbreon
Sold in December, 2020 for $20,000
To help boost participation in Pokemon leagues and Pokemon Organized Play events, players were treated to exclusive POP series cards released on a regular basis over roughly a five-year span.
POP Series 1 kicked things off around September 2004 with POP Series 9 bringing things to a close around September 2009.
Released between March 2007 and September 2007, POP Series 5 was the last EX Series promotional set and featured Espeon and Umbreon, two of the eight Pokemon that evolve from Eevee.
The POP Series 5 checklist contained seventeen cards in total with Epseon and Umbreon being the most elusive of them all, noted by the gold star distinction next to their name on the card fronts.
As of this writing, just fifty examples of this Umbreon card have achieved PSA 10 status.
Holographic Shadowless Mewtwo: $20000
While the other Kanto starters dont come close to Charizard in the realm of First Edition cards, its hard to ignore the second-place winner off of its fame in the series. Most Pokemon fans are plenty aware of Mewtwo from the original Pokemon movie, and as a result cards featuring the character will often go for record-high prices in any set.
Much like the First Edition Charizard mentioned earlier, Mewtwo has its own Holographic and Shadowless version that PSA Collector has seen sold for at least $20,000, putting it far above Venusaur and Blastoise but still far below everyones favorite Fire-type tyrant of the skies.
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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.
First Edition Holographic Mewtwo
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,000
A member of the exclusive and powerful Legendary Pokémon group, Mewtwo is considered to be one of the best Pokémon of all-time.
Instantly recognizable, the psychic-type Mewtwo was created when a scientist altered its original DNA via gene-splicing techniques that transformed the creature into one of the most vicious and savage of all Pokémon.
Harnessing its psychic energy, Mewtwo unleashes physical damage on its enemies via its signature more, Psystrike.
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Ex Deoxys Gold Star Rayquaza
Sold in December, 2020 for $45,100
Among the most powerful of any Pokémon, Rayquaza is a large, serpentine creature that gained a considerable boost in notoriety after serving as the box art mascot for the Pokémon Emerald video game.
EX Deoxys was the 24th set in the Pokémon Trading Card Game, and its symbol is that of a shooting star.
The set consisted of 108 cards, three of which come with a gold star variant, including the Rayquaza Holo.
You’ll notice that next to the “Rayquaza” name in the upper-left, there is a foil gold star that sets it apart as the gold star variant.
Charmander 1st Edition $330
Charmander’s value has been all over the place in the last 12 months. After the 2020 summer of record sale after record sale, baby Zard’s value has taken a dip recently, but don’t be surprised if Charmander rebounds due to the power Charizard yields on the market.
PSA Pop: 1521 – 652 – 661
Current Value: PSA 10 $1186 PSA 9 $330
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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.