Why Are Pokmon Card Prices Rising
About two weeks ago, 34-year-old Oregon resident Kalvin Foley wanted to buy a rare Pokémon card on eBay. It was a rainbow Vmax card featuring Charizard, one of the most popular Pokémon. He was attempting to win it at the end of an auction, one of the most adrenaline-inducing parts of bidding. The card, which started off at $100, began to steadily increase. It jumped to $250. Then $300. Then $375.
Im just watching it throughout the day, Foley recounted. When the 1-minute countdown began, he entered in his max bid of $425. And as soon as I did that, I think everybody else did, because it went from $375 all the way up to, like $550, he said.
Now, he thought, hed never be able to get the card. Foley said that only a year ago, it might have been worth around $250-$300 roughly half the price.
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 Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Card
|Estimated Average Market Value||$17,500|
|Estimated Copies Worldwide||70|
Another example of a card that can trace most of its value to its absolute scarcity is the Magikarp Tamamushi University Promotional Cards that sold for $66,100 in February 2021.
The print run may total less than 1,000 cards available in the world and only 12 of those cards have been graded at PSA 10.
The card was originally produced as a prize to be awarded to Japanese school children who attended one of the first Pokemon card game conferences ever and won a single game before the event was over.
A part of me cant help but smile at the fact that a Pokemon that was often referred to as one of the most useless Pokemon in the video game series, sits so highly as one of Pokemons most valuable cards.
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What Makes Pokemon Cards Valuable
Over the past year, online personalities such as Logan Paul have propelled Pokemon card collecting back into popularity. With some cards being valued at over $100,000, its understandable why theres so much excitement around the hobby.
But what makes Pokemon cards valuable? It all comes down to the rarity of the card and what condition the item is in. These two factors determine how much collectors are willing to pay and why some cards go for mind-boggling amounts of money.
Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Ninetales #12
Not the fire Pokémon shiny youd be hoping for back in 1999, Ninetales is the evolved form of Vulpix.
Designed to look like a golden-white nine-tailed fox, its inspired by the kitsune, which is a Japanese fox spirit.
Its backed by a cool blue holo background, but Ninetales Fire Blast attack is one of the more powerful in the base game.
Its not the most popular Pokémon with a western audience, but there are only 67 gem mint copies according to the registry.
The rarity hasnt translated to higher prices, but that could all change in the future.
No 3 Trainer Promo Card
Just for a minute, let’s ignore a card’s resell potential and focus solely on its personal value. After all, children and competitive players are presumably not to interest in whether they can turn a profit. The Pokémon Trading Card Game provides a sense of pride and satisfaction, especially if victory comes at the expense of a competitor’s own pride and satisfaction.
No. 3 Trainer was handed out to the third highest ranked player of the annual World Championships. Who cares some of these cards fetch $30,000? Money does not compare to owning a No. 3 Trainer card. Wear it like a badge of honor.
Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Hitmonchan #7
Back to the 1999 base set, where were looking at one of the greatest fighting Pokémon ever.
A homage to the quick fists of Jackie Chan, this humanoid monster sports a pair of boxing gloves, and even throws a jab as a basic attack.
The rarest card weve seen so far, there are just 56 gem mint copies at the current time of writing.
This has translated to sky-high prices, even when compared to many of the other holos seen above.
In any case, its definitely deserving of a place on the list.
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Pokemon Japanese Bandai Carddass Vending Prism Red Charizard
Sold in January, 2021 for $30,100
Founded in 1950, Bandai is a Japanese toy maker that produced a series of Pokemon cards in September 1996 that pre-dated the official launch of the Pokemon Trading Card Game that followed in October 1996.
To distribute the cards, Bandai utilized a network of vending machines, or carddass, as they called them.
There are hundreds of Bandai carddass Pokemon cards to collect, but the most desirable of them all is the prism Charizard.
In one of the earliest appearances of the iconic character, Charizard roars and breathes fire, creating an image that really pops.
Most Expensive Pokemon Trading Cards
According to The Gamer, Pokemon cards are continuously being released up to this day, making several of the older cards even more difficult to obtain.
The Pokemon Trading Card Game will continue to produce new types of cards as long as Pokemon remains a popular game franchise, but none will be able to compare when it comes to the rarity and value of the genre’s rarest and most precious Pokemon cards.
National World also added that there are 34 billion Pokemon cards in circulation worldwide and some of them worth more than $1.6 million. Moreover, a financial website looked at all of the Pokemon cards sold on eBay to discover which ones could bring in the most money.
Surprisingly, they found out that the most valuable card on the market is worth $2.4 million Australian dollars, or more than $1.7 million US dollars.
Since Pokemon Trading Cards appear to cost a fortune, several fans of the franchise are curious to know more about the expensive 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 Emerald With Carrying Case Bundle
Pokemon Emerald is a beloved game in its own right and the base title can fetch a hefty price if it’s still sealed in its original packaging but one variant that hit store shelves can be grabbed cheaper, with even more value included. This version contains the base game but packages it with a nifty carrying case, allowing players to store everything they need to safely carry their Pokemon Emerald adventure with them.
Those fortunate enough to have a new-in-box/case edition can sell it for quite a bit.
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Pokemon Japanese Promo Family Event Holo Kangaskhan Trophy Card
Sold in October, 2020 for $150,100
Another holy-grail trophy card, the 1998 Japanese Promo Kangaskhan Family Event card, continues to be one of the rarest and most desirable of all Pokemon cards.
This card is especially interesting compared to other trophy cards because teams consisting of a parent and child battled each other to obtain it, which was an admirable effort to build family bonding.
Fittingly, the tournament organizers chose none other than Kangaskhan, a kangaroo-like Pokemon with a baby Kangaskhan in her pouch, as the trophy card mascot.
Just 47 examples have made their way across PSA’s grading table, with eleven assessed in PSA 10 condition.
Umbreon Gold Star Holo
- Release Date: 2005
- Grading: BGS 9.5
- Pokemon card value at auction: $70,000
Eevee and its evolutions are some of the most popular characters in the Pokemon franchise. It makes sense then that a Gold Star Umbreon would quickly become one of the most coveted Pokemon cards in the TCG.
The story behind this Pokemon card also makes it unique as players had to accumulate over 70,000 XP points by the end of the Pokemon Players Clubs fourth season to obtain it. Trainers not only had to physically go to events, but they had to win a lot of matches.
Due to its low population, not a lot of these Pokemon cards have actually gone up for sale. All of that changed in June 2021 when the Gold Star Umbreon sold for $70,000 at auction. Its BGS grade of 9.5 makes it all the rarer, as only two in the whole world have received a grade this high.
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Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Machamp #8
Heading back to before the turn of the millennium, the 1999 set contains yet another expensive card featuring one of the original 151 Pokémon.
The fighting-type Machamp is the third and final evolution, starting with Machop and Machoke.
As for Machamp, hes flexing two of his four arms in the image, surrounded by a holo swirl of energy.
There are just a handful of pristine shadowless first edition versions, which makes sense as it wasnt particularly sought after in the first place.
Ex Dragon Frontiers Charizard Gold Star
Sold in November, 2020 for $30,300
Released in November 2006, the EX Dragon Frontiers set marked the fifteenth main expansion of the EX Series.
Of the 101 cards in the set checklist, there are two rare Gold Star cards: Charizard and Mew .
With the odds of pulling a Charizard thought to be roughly 1 in 144 packs, many collectors never had the fortune of pulling this card from a pack, giving it a reputation as one of the toughest Charizard pulls of any set.
Featuring a stunning image penned by the gifted hands of Masakazu Fukuda, the eye-appeal of this card is also tough to match as the powerful creature breathes fire onto the edge of the card.
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Bulbasaur 1st Edition $450
One of the most popular Pokemon, Bulbasaur delivers long term. Previously third in the pecking order for PSA 9’s, Bulbasaur is currently higher than Squirtle and Charmander. With low populations, be sure to make Bulbasaur a top priority.
PSA Pop: 783 – 237 – 416
Current Value: PSA 10 $3200 PSA 9 $450
Pokmon Tcg: Brilliant Stars’ Arceus Cards Are The Next Most Expensive
Among Brilliant Stars Pokémon VSTAR cards is Arceus, the sets cover Pokémon. Like Charizard, an alternate art Arceus V and ultra-rare print of Arceus VSTAR are among the sets highest valued cards. The gold Arceus VSTAR started with a higher price than the alternate art Arceus V, but has dropped in value much faster. Currently, the alternate art Arceus V averages for about $75, with prices ranging from $60 all the way to $80 or more. This beautiful card, illustrated by Pokémon TCG fan-favorite illustrator kawayoo, features Arceus soaring majestically above the Sinnoh region. At its highest price, this card sold for an average of around $95.
The Secret Rare golden Arceus STAR card introduces the Pokémon TCG VSTAR mechanic with its powerful VSTAR power. As a chase card both for collectors and competitors alike, Arceus VSTAR has a lot of room for monetary value increase, even if its currently on the decline. At its highest value before the set officially hit store shelves, it was valued at around $120. Now, its closer to $70, although many listings are popping up in the $50 to $70 range. If decks using Arceus VSTAR dont take off, the price may continue to lower in the future, but as a Secret Rare card, it will definitely retain value as a collectors item as more and more sets come into print and Brilliant Stars ages.
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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.
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.
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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.
Rayquaza Vmax Is A Legendary Pokmon Card With A High Price
Of course, a classic legendary Pokémon from a fan-favorite game is going to show up as an expensive card and this years example is Rayquaza VMAX. The new Rayquaza VMAX from Sword and ShieldEvolving Skies carries a significant price tag of $170 on TCGPlayer. Its power is definitely interesting, as being able to refill a hand after playing trainer cards keeps options open. However, since there are many cards that completely refill hands, the price hike is most likely due to the legendary status of the cards.
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Th Anniversary 24k Gold Ginza Tanaka Japanese Pikachu Card
Sold in November, 2020 for $28,100
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the storied franchise, the Pokemon Company partnered with Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka to produce this stunning card made from 11g of 24k gold.
Technically not a playing card, the imagery features none other than one of the most lovable Pokémon of them all: Pikachu.
Available for order for just twenty days, the cards were housed in impressive acrylic stands and shipped in beautiful boxes.
Given that 11g of 24k gold is worth around $600 or so by today’s standards, there’s no risk of anyone buying one of these to try and turn around and melt it.