First Edition Holographic Raichu
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,500
Raichu, the rodent-like evolved form of Pikachu, is an electric-type Pokémon that uses its tail to gather electricity from both the ground and atmosphere.
As it charges, the creature stores the electricity in those circular, yellow sacs on its cheeks and once fully charged, Raichu’s ears will point directly upwards.
Raichu also uses its pointed tail as a ground to prevent itself from being electrically shocked.
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.
The Series That Started It All
You almost have to be a fire-breathing dragon to fend off competition for a 1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Charizard card .
This dazzling holographic single, which highlights the extremely popular, fire-breathing Pokémon, has become the 1993 SP Derek Jeter of Pokémon cards.
“To put it into perspective, I remember reading on a forum that people were struggling to sell that Charizard card for $600 to $700 in PSA 10 in 2008, and now it’s probably $4,500 to $5,000,” shared Scott Pratte, a well-known Pokémon trading card expert. “The growth has been pretty significant.”
Robert Hebb, who has assembled the entire 1999 Pokémon 1st Edition set in PSA 10 grade, has noticed the same trend.
“Everyone wants that card,” he said. “It’s definitely the most iconic Pokémon card of the set, if not all time.”
But while prices for PSA 10 Charizard cards have soared, the demand for this single is nothing new.
“A lot of people, including myself, grew up in the schoolyard wanting the Charizard card,” said Jason Perdue, who’s just 23 and has built the registry’s No. 4 Current Finest, 1999 Pokémon 1st Edition set. “I never got one , but when I came back to the hobby 10 years later with disposable income, what card do you think I was going to go for? I wanted the Charizard.”
“The Charizard card, in particular, has phenomenal art,” said Perdue. “He’s breathing this huge flame and he just looks so menacing.”
Of the 1,071 Charizard cards submitted, there have been 95 PSA 10s.
There are now 22 PSA 10s.
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Mewtwo Base Set Shadowless
If Pokemon fans were to list and rank the original 151 based on how iconic or notable they are Mewtwo would easily be in the top ten, and possibly the top five, only trailing the starters and Pikachu.
This means that the Shadowless Base Set version of the Psychic-type going for $200 shouldn’t be too shocking. It happened to be the primary villain and focus of the franchise’s first theatrical movie, which kept it culturally relevant and significant to the Pokemon franchise for the last 20-plus years.
Why Do Base Set Pokemon Cards Cost So Much
There are actually four different English editions of the Pokemon card game Base Set that released in 1998-99:
- 1st Edition
- 4th Print
The base set was also partially reprinted in 2000 as part of Base Set 2.
As one could guess, the 1st Edition and Shadowless cards have the most value as they had lower printing runs. These first releases of Pokemon: The Trading Card Game had slightly different art and brighter colors.
While all Pokemon cards are fetching high prices right now, base sets tend to fetch the most money, running as high as $50,000+ for a sealed booster box. There are a few reasons for this:
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First Edition Holographic Hitmonchan
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,250
Sporting boxing gloves, shoulder pads and extreme quickness, Hitmonchan exhibits every bit of the appearance of the fighting-type Pokémon that he is.
The five protrusions on top of its head round out an overall ferocious look.
Bidding for this card in high grade can be just as ferocious as Hitmonchan itself as prices will often rise above $3,000 or more.
Raichu Base Set Shadowless
Pikachu is the face of the Pokemon franchise, so having any attachment to it simply drives up popularity. For Raichu, that mostly didn’t happen due to the anime making it cool for trainers to not evolve their Pikachu.
Thankfully that didn’t hurt its Base Set card, or more specifically the Shadowless version, as it still holds a valuation of around $55. Now, that isn’t close to what Charizard or some Pikachu cards sell for, but it’s more than honorable for a creature as disrespected as Raichu is.
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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.
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.
First Edition Holographic Ninetales
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,000
It’s easy to see where Ninetales gets its name although the spelling of “tails” is noticeably different.
And while each of its golden-white tails is catching to the eye, it is said that simply grabbing one of them can result in a 1,000-year curse giving this fox-like Pokémon its reputation of extreme vengeance.
Inspired by the kitsune of Japanese folklore, Ninetales holds mysterious powers within its nine tails and can even control the mind with its piercing, red eyes.
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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.
What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Blastoise So Valuable
If youre more of a water-type trainer, Blastoise is your guy. It may not be able to breathe fire, but with water canons on your back who cares!
This much appreciated middle child of the big three will forever be in Charizards shadow, but will eclipse Venusaur in terms of value.
With only 100 PSA 10s in existence, the stats are very similar to Charizard.
Interestingly, the value of PSA 10 1st Edition Base Set Blastoise, is relatively similar to a PSA 9 1st Edition Base Set Charizard .
So which is the better investment? PSA 10 Blastoise or PSA 9 Charizard
My head says the Blastoise 100% the numbers are much more favourable.
But god damn it, my heart says the Charizard! I just want it more! That bad-ass dragon gets me every time.
1999 1st Edition Base Set Blastoise PSA Population Report
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Alakazam Base Set Shadowless
Alakazam is a Psychic-type from the original first-generation, that not every kid was able to acquire due to it only evolving via trade. As a card, it was unique because the Base Set itself didn’t feature many outstanding Psychic-types outside of Mewtwo.
The Shadowless version of the Base Set drives up the value on every card in the set, and for Alakazam that means that it now sells for a whopping $200 raw.
Logan Paul Pays 26 Million For Pokmon Base Set 1st Edition Cards
What may be the last sealed 1st Edition Base Set for the Pokémon Trading Card Game has just been bought for $3.5 million.
That headline isnt going to make any more sense the more we explain it, but YouTuber and professional boxer Logan Paul has spent $3.5 million on a sealed box of Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition cards.
Paul often combines his obsession with the Pokémon Trading Card Game and gaudy expressions of wealth, having previously worn a mint condition Charizard card around his neck during his walkout for his match with Floyd Mayweather .
That card along was worth £415,000 but its possible although not guaranteed that the sealed base set could contain one or more new ones.
the only known one in the world
Paul now owns 11 of the 1st Edition sets but claims that the £2.6 million purchase will probably never happen again.
This is because its suspected that the new set is the last mint condition one left in the world.
If the set does contain a new Charizard card then Paul may even end up making a profit from the deal. If it doesnt, hell still be able to put on a big show opening it up and seeing whats inside.
He hasnt said when hell do that but the last time he opened one it got 6.3 million views on YouTube.
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What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Chansey So Valuable
Expecting to see a big green dino-toad next?! You would be forgiven for wondering why Chansey goes in a number four!
But just look at that beautifully clear holographic area. Its very easy to spot print imperfections or scratches. This is why 1st Edition Chansey is incredibly difficult to grade, and also why only 48 PSA 10s exist. The rarity drives the value here, and collectors want to own the rarest cards. In my opinion, this card absolutely deserves its price tag.
1999 1st Edition Base Set Chansey PSA Population Report
The Set That Everyones After
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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How Many 1st Edition Cards Are There
If we just consider the WOTC era from 1999 to 2003 there are 940 first edition cards. But remember, this is just looking at English cards and of course there have been reprints and additional variants of certain cards over the years which blurs the number a bit. For example, some people consider No Rarity Japanese Base Set cards as the first edition equivalent for Japan, so its a bit of a grey area. However if you plan on building first edition sets from the early days of Pokemon, the list below should help you!
- Base Set 102 cards
Poliwrath Base Set Shadowless
Despite Poliwrath being a pretty solid and well-rounded Pokemon in its own right, it rarely got love among Gen 1 fans, due to most people’s default Water-type during their journey being either a Squirtle that evolved into a Blastoise or a Magikarp that grew into a Gyarados.
Jokes on those people now as $100 is what it will cost for anyone looking to acquire the Base Set Shadowless version of the tadpole turned brawler.
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Identifing Unlimited Base Set Pokemon Cards
The Unlimited run is the last of the runs in the base set of Pokémon cards.
Not sure if your card is in the base set? To find this out, check the bottom right corner of the frame on your card. If theres anything there , then you do not have a base set card.
If its blank, then you doand its could be worth a lot more than you think.
Unlimited cards are easily distinguishable from Shadowless and 1st Edition cards. This is because they actually do have a shadow on the right side of the frame, while Shadowless and 1st Edition cards do not.
Additionally, Unlimited Pokémon cards can be identified through their copyright dates.
Now, these dates are similar to the Shadowless and 1st Edition cards, but not completely identical.
The Unlimited cards will list copyright dates of 1995, 1996, and 1998, omitting the year 1999.
So, if your card doesnt have 99 listed in the copyright dates, its most likely a member of the Unlimited run.
Like those from the 1st Edition and Shadowless runs, cards from the Unlimited are still valuable, but less so than their shadowless and First Edition counterparts.
What Are Shadowless Pokemon Cards
The Shadowless cards are the very first print runs that Wizards of the Coast produced for the Pokemon Base Set. WOTC did not like the look of the original Pokemon Cards. So, they changed several things on the cards to make them look better. The most obvious was putting the shadow around the box which had the art of the Pokemon character. The HP font was also changed and the colors were made to pop.
All 1st Edition Character cards are Shadowless. There is a very small print run of Unlimited Shadowless cards that followed the 1st Edition cards. The bulk of Unlimited cards have shadows. Shadowless Unlimited cards are generally worth more than shadowed versions of unlimited cards due to their scarcity.
Here are the releases of Base Set Pokemon Cards, in order:
- 1st Edition All Shadowless
Prices are all based on Near Mint Condition. We highly recommend you get 1st Edition Holofoils cards from this set graded! .
The PSA 10 Column shows actual sold prices for 1st Edition cards on eBay. As Base Set cards are graded more and more, we have decided to show only PSA values for 7s and 10s.
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Theyre The Most Desirable
Pop culture is currently fueled almost purely by nostalgia. As such, the base set is the most desirable for adults with money looking to recapture their youth. The Base Set features the original 151 Pokemon, which continue to be among the most popular. Additionally, for those who arent hardcore Pokemon fans, the Base Set is the logical point of entry into Pokemon card collecting, which means theyre continually in high demand.
Base Set Booster Box Variations
1st Edition Base Set Booster Box
- Estimated current value £300k £350k
The boxes are easy to spot as they have a 1st Edition Stamp on them and the text 1ST EDITION LIMITED PRINTING.
Important 1st Edition boxes do not have the Wizards of the Coast logo printed on the cellophane wrapping. Stay well clear if you spot a box being sold with this its fake.
Shadowless Base Set Booster Box
- Estimated current value £50k £100k
Still very valuable and ultra rare, Shadowless booster boxes are harder to identify as there is no shadowless labeling or anything of that nature.
Instead characteristics of the box , and very carefully being able to identify the packs within is the way of identifying whether a box is shadowless or not.
FYI Green winged Charizard boxes dont necessarily mean its shadowless there are other factors too.
This guide goes into great detail on identifying a shadowless Base Set booster box.
Unlimited Base Set Booster Box
- Estimated current value £15k £20k
Although this is the most commonly found Base Set booster box variant, its still no chump change!
As more and more boxes are opened on YouTube etc, Id expect the value to continue to creep up long term as supply dwindles.
First Edition Holographic Chansey
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,500
Chansey is a pink, normal-type Pokémon that, despite its short legs, is a fast runner and extremely difficult to catch making it one of the more elusive creatures on this list.
Using the egg held in its pouch, Chansey will often complete its signature move known as “Soft-Boiled” to help heal both people and other Pokémon.
Its gentle nature and kind heart are said to bring happiness to those who catch it while bringing lots of money to those who own this card.
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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