Chansey #3 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set
- Release Date: 1999
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $36,877
For many Pokemon card collectors, it doesnt get any better than the Base Set which made its North American debut in 1999. Not only does it feature some of the TCG series most iconic artwork, but there is also a ton of nostalgia players have connected to the release.
As a result, Pokemon cards from the release have seen the most explosion in value over the last decade. While not a heavy-hitter in the franchise itself, fans have been going wild for the adorable Chansey #3 Pokemon card. So much so that it surprised industry veterans when it started fetching jaw-dropping prices.
While hovering around $20k since 2019, the collectibles value has only continued to grow. According to PWCC, a 1st Edition Shadowless version sold for $36,877 in a November 2020 auction.
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.
How Do I Find The Most Valuable Pokemon Cards In My Collection
As we just mentioned, even if youre selling your Pokemon cards in bulk, its important to identify the most valuable cards so you can get the most money when you sell them.
Heres how to do this.
First, look for old holographic Pokemon cards, especially from the Base Set. They have a slightly darker yellow border than newer Pokemon cards do. Base Set cards will have the number #/102 on the bottom right, but other old sets such as Jungle and Fossil also have some valuable cards, so pull these out as well if you find any that are holographic.
This is the style of the first gen Pokemon cards from the 90s.
If you have new Pokemon cards in your collection, you will want to look for ultra rare cards as theyre often quite popular. Look for cards with a holographic border , with EX, GX, Lv. X, V or a gold star symbol after the Pokemons name at the top of the card.
This is an example of a Pokemon GX card.
You should also look for promo cards, especially old ones, as these can be worth decent money. Look for a big black star symbol on the right side of the card. This symbol is a lot bigger than the typical black star used to signify that a card is rare.
If you find any unusual-looking cards that are not common or uncommon rarity, its best to pull them out and check their value online, just in case.
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Top 15 Most Rare And Expensive Pokmon Cards
Strategic depth: Medium
Publisher:Wizards of the Coast
What do Shadowless Charizard, Masters Key and Prerelease Raichu cards have in common? Theyre some of the most rare and expensive Pokémon cards in existence right now. While the value of cards have been dropping recently, the TCG isn’t going away, the team behind the game recently launched a Pokémon Go set, and now they are apparently even creating a reality TV show.
Within this list we are going to focus on the most valuable Pokémon cards. Cards are typically found in this elite category because very few of them were released or they were part of special events and promotions. You may be surprised to see which cards have made this list, so without further ado lets look at the top 15 right now.
Cost By Pokemon Card Type
There are several types of Pokemon cards and different Pokemon. While the Pokemon does have a factor in price, its the type of card that makes it valuable.
Were no Pokemon card expert, but here is how we filtered our extracted data:
To no surprise, at the bottom, you had common Pokemon cards that had the lowest average sold at $3.47.
The highest priced common Pokemon card was a “POKEMON CHARMANDER 50/82 TEAM ROCKET SQUIRTLE PIKACHU COMMON CARD NM/MINT LOT sold for $23.46
2nd lowest was uncommon Pokemon cards with an average cost of $15.86
At the top, we got Secret rare Pokemon cards with an average cost of $231.30.
The lowest secret rare Pokemon card was sold at $6.58 which was Pokemon Card Champions Path Drednaw V 069/073 Secret Rare Holo Full Art NM/M
The highest secret rare Pokemon card was sold at $1,120.92 which was PSA 10 Pokemon Champions Path Secret Rare Shiny Charizard V Card 79/73 079/073
Coming in 2nd and 3rd are shadowless / 1st edition Pokémon cards with an average of $135.05 and Pokémon legend cards with an average of $130.79
1st edition cards had both the lowest and highest item sold which was the 1st Ed English Venonat 63/64 Jungle Set Nintendo WOTC Card Pokemon 1999 sold at $0.01 and a 1st Edition Dark Charizard Holo Team Rocket Pokemon Card #4/82 – PSA 10 sold at $2,084.14
The highest Pokemon legend card was a 2004 EX Hidden Legends Kyogre ex GEM MINT PSA 10 Holo Card Ultra Rare for $782.03
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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.
Pokemon World Championship Masters Key
- Release Date: 2010
- Grading: BGS 9
- Pokemon card value at auction: $26,900
In 2010, the best pokemon cards players around the world were flown into Waikoloa Village, Hawaii for the World Championships. Upon arrival, contestants were given a Master Keys Pokemon card.
Because the item was only printed for participants at the tournament, only 36 of these in total were ever created, making it technically one of the most rare Pokemon cards to ever exist in the hobbys nearly 25-year history.
Despite only being intended for those at the event, one of these made there way out to the public and was sold for an astonishing $26,900 in August 2020. A pretty sweet reward to receive 11 years later.
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Identifying Valuable Pokmon Cards
First Edition Holographic Charizard
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $24,000
The #4 Charizard is by far the most desirable of all the first edition Pokémon cards.
Charizard made its first appearance in the Pokémon Red and Blue video games released for the Nintendo Game Boy and Game Boy Color back in the mid-90s and trainers have been relying on the character’s overpowering fire and flying abilities to win battles ever since.
Just how powerful are its fire abilities?
Well, simply refer to the bottom of the card’s front and you can see that Charizard is capable of melting boulders and starting forest fires with ease.
Charizard’s appeal as a dragon and one of the more rare cards certainly adds to its popularity but I think where this card gets an extra boost in value comes from the fact that Charizard appeared on the cover art of the Pokémon Red video game:
That additional exposure greatly increased the character’s notoriety and has driven up the value of this card similar to the effect we see with the Garbage Pail Kids card, Adam Bomb, and its status as the original cover art for that series.
Regardless of why this card is so popular, its value will continue to soar just like the lovable flying dragon creature itself.
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Neo Summer Battle Road Number 2 Trainer Trophy
- Release Date: 2002
- Grading: BGS 7.5
- Pokemon card value at auction: $34,100
Kicking off in Sapporo Japan, the 2002 Neo Summer Battle Road tournament saw some of the worlds best TCG players competing against each other in a series of contests across the country. Those who managed to place second place in their division received the highly coveted Number 2 Trainer trophy card.
Like all trophy cards, the population of them is incredibly low given that only a handful of participants who ranked at the top of these contests received them. Despite its scarcity, one of the 2002 Summer tournament prizes went up for auction at PWCC in March 2021.
What makes this item special, is the fact that it has the name of second-place winner Fukunishi Tomoki written on it. According to the auction house, the player took the 2nd prize in the Junior Division during the Kanto region tournament. The personalized nature of the reward truly makes it one of a kind.
Unlike other Number 2 Trainer cards, the Neo Summer Battle Road has Ken Sugimoris iconic artwork printed on the E-Series format during the 2002 era of the TCG.
Take The Time To Study Their Worth
As Pokemon re-enters mainstream culture with the release of new video games and movies, expect to see an uptick in buying and selling activity of old cards. But interest doesnt pick up overnight.
Its not binary in that sense, Pratte says.
Instead, its a more gradual process where each new Pokemon-related release reminds twenty- and thirty-somethings of their childhood: the crinkling sound of ripping open a new pack of cards followed by a strong whiff of ink as they shuffle through the set, hoping to find something rare.
But as you rummage through your collection, remember that theres no rush to purge now. Spend some time with your cards. See if theyre valuable. Consider getting them authenticated. Then decide if theyre worth selling.
After two decades, Pokemon and its card-collecting hobbyists arent going anywhere anytime soon.
Adam Hardy is a former staff writer for The Penny Hoarder and specializes in stories on the gig economy. Hes a University of South Florida graduate, who studied magazine journalism and sociology.
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Blastoise Wizards Of The Coast Presentation Galaxy Star Holo
- Release Date: 1998
- Grading: CGC 8.5
- Pokemon card value at auction: $360,000
The Pokemon Trading Card Game community was stunned when this insanely rare Pokemon card was discovered by the public for the first time in 2021. Originally commissioned by Wizards of the Coast in 1998, the Blastoise Presentation card was supposed to give stores an idea of what the TCG line would look like in its final print run.
While there are varying reports about its history, its currently believed that only two are known to have ever existed, with only one currently accounted for. Its essentially is one of the earliest known Pokemon cards to exist, at least for the North American release. It was so early that one of the copies had a Magic: The Gathering backside to it, while the other is simply blank.
The historical Nintendo artifact went up for sale at Heritage Auctions in January 2021, and sold for a whopping $360,000, making it the third most expensive collectible just an inch behind the Base Set Charizard. Given that only two of these exist, it could one day take the top spot as the most valuable Pokemon card of all time. If nothing else it may be the rarest Pokemon card in the world.
Identify Type And Assess Rarity
The first step to identify if a card is potentially worth anything substantial is to check its type and rarity. In other words, how likely the card is to come across from any given booster pack or special event, and if it has any special characteristics, such as card material or Pokemon types.
There are a few indicators of rarity on any given card, though theyre quite subject to change depending on when said card was printed. A marker near the bottom of the card or near its name will indicate rarity: a circle means the card is common, a diamond means its less common, and stars mean its rare. More stars or with combinations of letters or symbols mean extra rare, including if those symbols are in the name or elsewhere on the card. Other characteristics that can up the rarity include: a higher printed number than there should be in a given printed set holographic artwork or reverse holographic, in which everything but the artwork is holographic artwork that takes up the full card artwork wherein the creature doesnt cast a shadow and any shining characteristics, not to be confused with holographic.
While rarity isnt the only factor in appraising value, its certainly a major factor: Some of the highest-selling cards worth tens of thousands of dollars, or considered priceless from lack of supply, are only so because of small rarities like misprints or typos.
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Rayquaza Gold Star Holo Ex Deoxys
- Release Date: 2005
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $45,100
An early favorite of Ruby & Sapphire, Rayquaza has seen an uptick in popularity over the last decade. So it makes sense then that its cards would also start to climb up in value over time. In 2005, The Pokemon Company released the Ex Deoxys TCG expansion featuring the Flying / Dragon-type.
As a gimmick to get Pokemon card collectors interested in the set, the Japanese company introduced Gold Star Pokemon cards into the hobby. As mentioned earlier, the incredibly rare Pokemon cards featured a special symbol next to the name of the mon. Of course, the king of these marked collectibles is the Hoenn Legendary itself.
In December 2020, a perfectly graded Gold Star Rayquaza sold at auction for $45,100. Given the Legendarys continued popularity in the franchise, and just how little of the gold Pokemon cards were actually produced, we expect this item to increase in value as time goes on.
First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard
A PSA 10 Base Set 1st Edition Charizard just sold at auction with an ending bid of $183,812.00 via .
Including the 20% buyers premium, the total transaction value exceeds $220k.
As of now, this is the highest known sale of the card.
This card is often referred to as one of the most sought after cards, having been printed in the Pokémon Trading Card Games early days. They have been in existence for over twenty years and are limited in number. Its distinguished by a printing error as it doesnt have a shadow underneath the fire breathing dragon Pokémon.
As such, it stands out as one of the most valuable cards of all time, with the error being corrected in most of the subsequent print runs. This shadowless iconic card was purchased by former rapper, Logic, for a staggering $220,574 at an auction held in October 2020, thus, setting a new record as the most valuable Pokémon card.
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Special Cards To Keep An Eye Out For
Aside from the various rares mentioned above, there are a few unique traits worth looking out for that can mean a Pokemon card has high value. These are often printing errors or limited distribution that led to a card becoming extremely precious to collectors. Sometimes these cards look no different than others of the same kind at first glance and require special attention to identify, so look carefully!
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.
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Pokemon World Championships Promo No 2 Trainer
- Release Date: 2006
- Grading: PSA 9
- Pokemon card value at auction: $110, 100
The incredibly rare Trophy card was handed out at the 2006 World Championship held in Anaheim, California. Since these Pokemon cards were only given to winners, it makes their population extremely low.
According to PSA, only three of these collectibles are even said to have been issued at the competition. It almost feels like a crime putting this Pokemon card at this spot because due to its scarcity, it rarely goes up for sale
However in February 2021, one finally appeared online. With over 150 bids, this item brought in a mind-blowing $110,100 at a PWCC auction.