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When Were Pokemon Cards Invented

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What Was The First Pokemon Card

How is a Pokemon Card made?

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 characters 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 cards front and you can see that Charizard is capable of melting boulders and starting forest fires with ease.

Charizards 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 characters 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.

Winds Of New Beginnings

Almost since the very beginning of the series, it had been apparent that the first 151 Pokémon would not be the last. Ho-Oh was seen as early as the first episode of the anime, Togepi was owned by a main character, and others like , Snubbull and Donphan were seen in the first movie. Later, when the second generation of Pokémon was drawing nearer, others like Lugia, Slowking and Elekid made their way to the second movie.


On November 21, 1999, Nintendo of Japan released Gold and Silver Versions for the then-new Game Boy Color. This time, Trainers were invited to the land of Johto, where 100 more Pokémon were waiting to be captured. The new games enhanced the Pokémon gaming experience by adding many new features, the most famous likely being the ability for Pokémon to have different genders, in turn allowing them to breed. A time system was also introduced, with a real-time clock allowing different events to happen during the day, at night, and in the morning, as well as on certain days of the week. Another important addition was the friendship system. Shiny Pokémon also first appeared, most notably a Red Gyarados at the Lake of Rage. Trainers could also return to Kanto and face the Gym Leaders that were present in the original games. Pokémon Gold and Silver made its way to North America on October 11, 2000.

On December 14, 2000, Pokémon Stadium 2, bringing the Generation II Pokémon into full 3D for the first time. This game reached North America on March 25, 2001.

The 15 Best Pokmon Cards Of The First Generation

The first generation of the Pokémon Trading Card Game was filled with many classic cards that are still fun to play today.

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Since the first cards were published in 1996, the Pokémon Trading Card Game has grown to become one of the most successful and popular trading card games in the world.


The latest set, Sword & Shield, was released in English in February of this year and contains over 200 new cards for Trainers to supplement their decks. While the new Sword & Shield cards contain a whole host of new mechanics, card styles, and Pokémon to do battle with, they still pay homage to and build upon the legacy of the very first batch of cards.

The first Pokémon cards included the Base Set , the Jungle expansion , and the Fossil expansion . Together, those 228 cards make up the very first generation of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. This is the collection of cards that many players learned to love in the 90s and continue to love today.

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Retro Pokémon cards are still available through many retailers like eBay and plenty of trainers still love to play this older version of the game. With that in mind, we decided to catalogue and rank the 15 best Pokémon cards from the original three sets. These rankings are in terms of performance and not card value. So while cards like Pikachu and Charizard may still be worth a lot of money and are excellent to collect, they are not always the best cards to play with.

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Pokemon Japanese Tropical Mega Battle Number 2 Trainer

Sold in October, 2020 for $50,300

Held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village from 1999 to 2001, the Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle gave the best players from the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe the chance to test their skills against each other.

To be invited, players had to first win a local tournament in their respective regions.

During the final match of the Tropical Mega Battle, each player received the same 90 cards that they would use to make their own 40-card deck to battle for the championship.

If a player were fortunate enough to make it far enough through the competition to finish in second place overall, he or she would receive this number two trainer card.


Sticking with the tropical theme for the cover art, an image of Exeggutor, a dual-type grass/psychic Pokemon that resembles a palm tree, sits in the middle of the card with text below it that reads:

The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournaments runner-up winner is recognized here, and this honor is praised.

Ancient Mew Was Too Hard To Read Thanks To Its Runic Text

Pokémon cards sells for over $100K at auction

“Ancient Mew” was released as a promotional item for the second theatrical movie based on the anime, Pokémon The Movie 2000 . Around the world, the card was given to those who bought tickets during the first week of the film’s release and it also made an appearance in the movie as the object which started the villain Lawrence III’s collection.

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As one can tell from the image above, “Ancient Mew’s” text was unreadable due to being written in a Runic alphabet. Despite the fact the card’s underwhelming stats and abilities were officially translated by Wizards of the Coast , the card was banned in both the Unlimited and Modified formats.


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Pokmon World Championships No 1 Trainer

Every copy of this rare and valuable promo card is one-of-a-kind

Sold for $31,200 in April 2021

The first of two rare and valuable Pokémon cards called No. 1 Trainer on this list, this particular card was awarded to winners of the regional Battle Road Spring tournaments held in Japan during early 2002.

The regional tournaments were held as qualifiers for the Pokémon World Championships, with the small number of No. 1 Trainer cards produced for the few winners making them some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.

Adding to the card’s rarity is the fact that each No. 1 Trainer card was customised with the name of the tournament winner printed onto the card, making each card one-of-a-kind. According to auction house Heritage Auctions, the personalised aspect of the cards also mean that they rarely appear at auction, making them an even rarer sight in the world of Pokémon cards.

The 2002 No. 1 Trainer card was illustrated by Ken Sugimori, best known as being one of the original artists and designers for Pokémon’s first generation of 151 Pokémon. The text on it reads: “The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament Battle Road Spring 2002 champion is recognised here, and his honour is praised.” Sugimori’s No. 1 Trainer artwork – featuring fan-favourite Pokémon such as Pikachu, Chansey and Marrill – is exclusive to the card, making it especially unique.

Holographic Shadowless Venusaur: $3260

Just like its Kanto starter counterpart Charizard, Venusaur’s Shadowless, holographic, first edition version is a coveted card among Pokemon fans. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of Charizard’s $500,000, but Venusaur always was slightly less popular compared to the other Kanto starters anyway.

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Nonetheless, these cards were rare even in their original late-1990s heyday, so you can imagine how sought-after they are now. Buying one through Troll and Toad right now can cost you as little $390, but the compilation site Pokemon Prices has records of them selling up to $3260.

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Choose Pokemon That Are Featured In The Games And Show

Of course, to stay in line with the other two pillars of Pokemon brand, the TCG designers always take into consideration the Pokemon that are popular in the games and TV show.

For example, the Pokemon that were really featured heavily in that video game, or they had a big role in the story, we’ll make sure that they’re at the center of whatever that initial set we’re making is, Nagashima said.

In the Pokemon Sun & Moon expansion, the Legendary Pokemon Solgaleo and Lunala that were featured on the games boxart were heavily featured on booster pack wrappers and as special cards themselves, alongside the three starters final evolutions, Incineroar, Primarina, and Decidueye. To anyone familiar with the game or show, these would be immediately recognizable.

Umbreon Gold Star Holo

How Pokemon Cards are Made! Printing and Packaging Process – Lessons from an LGS Owner

A Pokémon that even non-fans know about, this card featuring Evee’s evolution is extremely rare and very costly. The Umbreon Gold Star Holo is one of two cards in the world with a BGS rating of 9.5, which makes it even more valuable.

In TCG, players had to collect over 70,000 XP points to get to the coveted card. Fittingly, it sold for $70,000 at its auction, and there are very few of these 2005 cards that exist in the world in total.

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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 its 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. Its 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, whos just 23 and has built the registrys 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. Hes 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.

Top First Edition Pokemon Cards: Summary

As you can see, the best first edition Pokémon cards contain some of the biggest names, and theres a distinct preference for the 1999 set. Most of the shiny cards have been long forgotten, and PSA 10 graded shadowless versions often have fewer than 100 copies.

That leads to increased rarity, and the extreme prices were seeing this year. Its only expected to continue as time goes by.

Theres been a massive influx of interest in the hobby in recent months, probably fueled by the record-breaking Charizard purchase for the most part.

For the best investments, its hard to beat the original 151, or exceptional cards such as the Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia.

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Best First Edition Pokemon Cards

So now that weve examined what first edition Pokemon cards are and why they are so valuable, lets take a look at some of the best cards from this set that you can get.

Note that we tried to put these cards into order in terms of values, but know that these values can fluctuate and change constantly, so the order might change in the future.

How Value Is Determined

Dragonite Custom Card (Holo, Vintage Style)  InfernosGames

The surge in Pokémon card prices doesnt necessarily mean every card is worth a lot of money or will be.

I think prices will rise for some cards, but obviously not all cards, which is what some people dont get, Caitlin Sidhu explained. If cards are still in print, they wont rise in price. Once the card is out of print it may go up in price, but its not guaranteed.

Jason A., a collector from East Tennessee who declined to give his last name, compared it to the stock market: You can take a bet on a cards value. Is it going to increase? Is it going to flop? Or is it just gonna stay steady?

There are plenty of cards out there that when they first got released are still the same price that they were back then, he said.

A cards scarcity, condition and the actual Pokémon on it all play a role in its value. First edition holographic cards released as part of Pokémons first print in 1999 command high prices especially Charizard.

Why is he always so coveted? In that first set, he was objectively the most powerful, with both the highest HP and the strongest attack. But maybe the reason for his appeal is more obvious than that.

I mean, hes a dragon. Kids love dragons, Garcia said. In the cartoon show, he was kind of rebellious, did whatever he wanted.

Kalvin Foley, after losing his eBay bid, said he was able to finally obtain his Rainbow Vmax Charizard in a private sale.

Only 39 were initially released through a Japanese comic contest in 1998.

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Pokmon Gold Star Cards

Gold Star cards are much loved by fans of Pokemon as they feature art by illustrator Masakazu Fukuda. His tendency to have creatures who reach beyond the established character window is a feature of his work for which he is known.

What’s it worth? The first of many shiny Pokémon trading cards to follow, and much rarer than their regular counterparts, these cards can sell for $40 to $100 with graded cards commanding as much as $200 or more.

Weird Facts About Pokemon

As we continue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, one Game Rant author seeks to discover some of the weirdest facts that the games have to offer.

Many gamers were first introduced to the world of Pokemon all the way back in 1996, when the first games launched. Since then, there have been 6 generations of the creatures released, with the newly announced Pokemon Sun and Moon set to be a part of number 7. There have also been 6 anime series, 25 manga series, and 18 full-length films released for the franchise, with more content coming out every year. But even the most experienced Pokemon fan couldnt know everything there is to know about the creatures or could they?

With the most recent additions to the Pokedex bringing the total number of catchable monsters up to 722, there is an awful lot to learn about Nintendos second largest franchise. But if you think you know everything there is to know, why not test yourself against our list of 20 weird facts about Pokemon?

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Tropical Mega Battle No 2 Trainer

  • Release Date: 1999
  • Grading: PSA Authentic
  • Pokemon card value at auction: $50,300

Interestingly, this is the first Pokemon card in the top 20 that is so poor quality-wise, it didnt even receive a grade. In situations like this, PSA will still give it an official Authentication. Dont let the grading fool you, though, as the Tropical No. 2 Trainer card is pristine except the back which has color loss and fading due to the sun.

Given out originally at the 1999 Mega Battle tournament in Japan, only the top players received this Pokemon card. In total, PSA has only seen five of these, making it one of the rarest Pokemon cards in existence. Its so scarce that its still worth a jaw-dropping amount despite its quality setbacks think about that.

According to PWCC, one of these green Exeggutor prizes was sold at an auction in October 2020 for $50,300. Its fascinating to think that even a damaged card can sell for as much as a sports car. And this Pokemon cards value will only continue to climb given that they just dont exist.

Numbers 1 2 3 Trainer Cards

How New Pokemon Cards Are Made

Numbered trainer cards are going to form the basis of our next few selections within this list. They were released in conjunction with the Pokémon Trading Card Game World Finals and have been sought after ever since by collectors, only increasing in value with age. These were quite literally the cards that denoted you as a champion and served as your entry ticket for future years of competition. With our #9 spot, we’re tipping a hat mostly to the mixture of the second and third place cards out there. Any of these cards, not just the Number 1 cards, can command a significant price and the utmost respect. Considering only a single card was given out at each level each year, they are holy grail cards of the first order. That said, lets dig a bit deeper with spots #7 through #3 in our list below which are held by versions of these trainer cards that stand out in the history of Pokémon cards.

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