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.
Not All Cards Are Worth Something
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.
Pokemon Play Third Season Promo 70000 Points Holo Umbreon Gold Star
Sold in June, 2021 for $70,000
From 2003 to 2006, PLAY Promotional Cards allowed Pokemon Players Club members to obtain exclusive cards by earning experience points when completing various tasks.
For example, if a player started a battle, won a battle, placed in a tournament, he or she would accumulate points that could earn certain prize cards.
The five Gold Star cards are the most difficult to obtain because of their high EXP thresholds, with the Umbreon being the hardest with its 70,000 point requirement.
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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.
Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy
- Release Date: 1998
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $150,000
Were now at the top five, and the prices of these most expensive Pokemon cards continue to skyrocket. This 1998 Trophy Pokemon card could only be obtained by participating in a special tournament in Japan. The adorable item features artwork depicting Kangaskhan with its baby in its pouch, surrounded by holo sparkles.
Fittingly, the contest required both a child and their parent to participate alongside each other in TCG battles . According to reports, there are only 11 of these currently in existence that have been graded, making it one of the most rare Trophy Pokemon cards to exist.
In October 2020, two PSA 10s of the collectible went for $150k. With its scarcity, we expect this Pokemon cards value will only continue to go up over the next couple of years.
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Pokemon Snap Trainer Magazine Pikachu: $900
If you were a Pokemon fan back in the days of the Nintendo 64 console, you might just remember the classic spin-off game Pokemon Snap. The object of this Pokemon spin-off was to snap creative in-game photos of various creatures, and there were several tie-in cards in Japans Pokemon Trainer Magazine to help increase the hype among fans to try this new game.
This card was a Pikachu card with the model from Pokemon Snap as the art, making for a relatively hilarious-looking card that only could be found within this magazine in 1999. Miyabihobby has a record of an unopened magazine being sold for 100,000, or about $900 USD, but PSA Card has records of auctions ranging between $300 and $1000 for perfect condition grades.
No 1 Trainer Super Secret Battle
- Release Date: 1999
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $90,000
In 1999, The Pokemon Company hosted regional contests in Japan. Winners received a No. 1 Trainer Pokemon card which granted them access to the final that took place in a secret location.
Named Super Secret Battle, the special TCG tournament had a lot of mystique surrounding it. The rare Pokemon card features a silhouette of Mewtwo which has made it all the more desirable to fans.
In July 2020, the Japanese promo sold for an astonishing $90,000 making it one of the most valuable Pokemon cards to ever exist.
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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.
World Championship Master’s Key
A copy of the Master’s Key sold for more than $20,000 in November 2019. Unlike most cards sold at auction, this one wasn’t graded by PSA and was instead sold in the trophy case in which it was presented. Whether or not a graded copy of the card would have fetched more remains to be seen, but, given the value, it’s perhaps understandable why the seller wasn’t too keen to crack open the trophy case to find out.
Master’s Key was originally handed out to contestants at the 2010 Pokemon World Championships. The event took place in Hawaii and was contested by just 36 players. As a result, the card is incredibly rare, with only nine GEM-MT 10 copies – the highest grade that can be handed out by the PSA – in existence.
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Shonen Jump Championship Series Doomcaliber Knight #en006
Your bank balance is doomed
Sold for $15,300 in March 2021
After seeing the rapid rise of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, Shonen Jump decided to create the Shonen Jump Championships. The SJCs were a series of North American tournaments held between 2004 and 2010 with prize cards being distributed to worthy winners across the region. A total of seven different card types were handed out at 75 different tournaments. As only two or three cards were handed out at most tournaments, these particular Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are very rare and very expensive.
Doomcaliber Knight #EN006 was the sixth such card to be handed out, with only 68 copies being given away between March 2008s Costa Mesa tournament and the Houston tournament in January 2009. Its one of the best monsters you can normal summon immediately from your hand – something you can only do for level 1 to 4 monsters – as it has a fierce 1900 attack and 1800 defence points.
Doomcaliber Knight also has a neat quick effect that negates the effect of and destroys one of your opponents monsters.
A PSA Near-Mint 7 2008 Shonen Jump Championship Series Doomcaliber Knight #EN006 fetched a substantial five-figure sum at auction in March 2021, selling for over $15,000. We can only imagine what higher grades of this highly valuable Yu-Gi-Oh! card would be worth.
Looking Up How Much My Pokemon Cards Are Worth:
If you get too many results that include cards NOT like yours, use the checkboxes to pick the ones just like yours. Choosing a few comparable items by using the checkboxes gives you a much more accurate estimate of what your Pokemon card is worth.
What to do next:
Once youve gone through and searched for the value of your Pokemon cards using the mavin.io price guide, you have several different options:
If the Pokemon cards are valuable: You can either hold onto the cards, perhaps get them graded if theyre really valuable, and hopefully see them appreciate in value over time. Alternatively, you sell it to a local card shop without getting ripped off since you know its worth. Lastly, you can sell it yourself on eBay to get a competitive price. Read our guide to selling on eBay.
If the Pokemon cards are worthless: A card doesnt have to be worth money to be considered valuable. Each card has sentimental value to someone: where they got it, the deck it was a part of, that time you used it to battle so-and-so a lot of people tend to hang onto them because of the memories. If you want to get rid of your Pokemon cards, they could be worth some memories to a relative or a stranger. Put them on Craigslist, take them to a card shop, donate them, or pass them along to your kids or a relative. Theres still a lot of fun to be had in those dusty Pokemon cards youve been hanging onto!
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Mew Victory Orb Trophy
The Victory Orb trophy card was handed out to the top 3 players of each age group during the Japanese Battle Road Summer 2003 and 2004 tournaments. Although the card was reprinted with different artwork for subsequent events, the original unnumbered promo card is incredibly rare and highly sought after.
It’s for this reason that one collector was willing to part with $60,000 to get their hands on one in late 2020. Only 14 copies of the card have been graded by the PSA, 12 of which were given then highest possible rating. There are certainly rarer cards out there, but not too many of them sell for quite this much.
St Edition Holographic Shadowless Venusaur Card
Venusaur is just one of the few rare cards that slipped under the media’s radar. The sale of this blue-green plant dinosaur may not have made headlines, but it did make its seller some serious cash.
Core Collectibles sold a first-edition holographic shadowless Venusaur on eBay for $50,000. This particular card even received a PSA 10 ranking, also known as gem mint, which is the best PSA score a card can receive. First-edition starter evolutions tend to attract attention, especially holographic and shadowless ones. Holographic Venusaurs outshine non-holographic versions in terms of cost and rarity. Shadowless means that the card doesn’t have any shading around the edges just plain gold.
Japan printed the first Pokemon cards in 1996, but Wizards of the West Coast didn’t catch up with English counterparts until 1999. These first-edition cards are the most difficult to find because they’re part of the oldest batch of Pokemon cards.
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Pokemon World Championship Master Key Trophy Card
Sold in August, 2020 for $26,900
The Pokémon World Championships are where the best of the best meet each year to battle it out for money, prizes, and the title of Pokémon World Champion.
Players who earn enough points in qualifiers and smaller tournaments receive a special invitation to compete in the three-day event held in rotating locations.
The first tournament kicked off in 2004 in Orlando, Florida, but in 2010 the competition made its way to the Hilton in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.
Just thirty-six contestants participated in the 2010 event and each received a copy of this beautiful foil card in a special case.
With so few of them ever produced, they are among the rarest Pokemon cards, and command huge prices if and when they do surface for sale or auction.
Most Expensive Pokemon Cards In 2021
It should be noted that top lists are almost always up for debate. A cards value can be determined by the highest its ever sold at auction, or what it sells for on average.
A Pokemon cards value can also wildly fluctuate with the market and are largely dependent on the items grading and condition. Our list is based on what the collectible has sold for in the latest auctions, and its position will be updated if it sells for less or more.
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Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Gyarados #6
This spot on the list could easily have been taken by the likes of Zapdos or Poliwrath, who are a duo of holo cards from the original set of 102 that just missed out.
The base Gyarados gets the nod instead, as one of the most powerful evolutions from the original trading card game.
Evolved from the otherwise useless Magikarp, the blue foil surrounding the Pokémon gives a nice water effect.
As of now, there are 86 gem mint copies on the PSA registry, so its not especially rare even when looking at pristine copies.
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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Valuable: Shiny Pikachu Holon Phantoms
The Holon Phantoms Set contains three separate versions of Pikachu. It may be hard to tell from the photo, but the Pikachu on the right is a shiny. Anytime you factor shiny into the mix, you can expect it to correlate to expensive.
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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Commissioned Presentation Blastoise Promo Card
This Blastoise card was never meant to sell. Only two Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram Blastoise cards exist because they were never even on the market. Heritage Auctions detailed the history of how the Wizards of the West Coast commissioned trading card producer Cartamundi in 1998 to create these two cards as prototypes to show Nintendo before printing Pokemon cards in English. So these cards existed before the first-edition cards were even published. One of the defining features of this holographic Blastoise card is its blank back.
Certified Guaranty Company Trading Cards auctioned one of these elusive Blastoise cards for $360,000 in January 2021. CGC rated the Commissioned Presentation Blastoise card as 8.5 out of 10 or near-mint condition. Many of the cards in this article use a PSA rating, but this one uses the CGC grading scale. CGC even goes into detail about how it appraised the card next to other rare Blastoise cards with Magic the Gathering-printed backs.