The Pokemon Trading Card Game (PTCG) is a card game that is based on Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise. Over the last few decades, it has launched many different cards. While most of the Pokemon cards are readily available to individuals wanting to include them in their collection, only the richest collectors can get their hands on the rarest Pokemon cards that exist.
So, which exactly are the rarest and most expensive Pokemon cards in the world, and how much are they worth? Let's find out!
1. Black Star Ishihara GX Card
Sold for $247,230
As a present to the company staff, Tsunekazu Ishihara, founder of The Pokemon Company, handed out 30 copies of this Pokemon card during his 60th birthday celebration at the 2017 Pokemon World Championship. What’s more, he actually autographed this Pokemon card to increase its price further.
The card’s ability Red Chanchanko prevents the effect of any attacks, damage, trainer card, or ability against Ishihara on the card. For your information, Red Chanchanko is a reference to a traditional jacket (haori) worn by people celebrating their 60th birthday in Japan. And the card’s 60 Congratulations! GX move allows you to toss 60 coins and take a gift for each head.
2. Shadowless Holographic Charizard
Sold for $220,574
When you combine a holographic card, one of the most famous Pokemon in the world, and an array of mistakes, you get one of the most valuable Pokemon cards to hit the market. The value of this Pokemon card comes from being a holographic first edition and also from its mistake. The card is missing a shadow that should be below the Pokemon. It is not known how many of these Pokemon cards are in existence today. However, discovering a misprint Pokemon card in good condition can net you a decent amount of money.
3. Pikachu Illustrator
Sold for $195,000
This Pokemon card was initially handed out to winners of promotional competitions conducted in 1997 and 1998 by a Japanese monthly manga magazine CoroCoro Comic. About 39 copies were given to the winners. However, according to reports, two copies of Pikachu Illustrator were later found by one of the developers of the card game. As well as being insanely rare, the Pikachu Illustrator is special in many ways. It is the only card to feature the word “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer” at the top of the card. This Pokemon card features artwork from Japanese graphic artist Atsuko Nishida.
4. Family Event Trophy Card
Sold for $150,100
Just 3 copies of this Pokemon card have ever been sold in the two-plus decades, making it one of the rarest cards ever produced. This valuable card was handed out to individuals who took part in the 1998 parent and child Pokemon tournament conducted in Japan. Those who racked up the most wins during the Mega Battle tournament were given this special trophy card.
5. Pokemon Neo Genesis Holo Lugia (1st Edition)
Sold for $144,300
Lugia is one of the most famous Pokemon in the whole series, having featured on the front of the video games Pokemon Silver and SoulSilver. Lugia, a legendary Pokemon from the second generation, is one of the most difficult to find Pokemon that gamers can catch in the games.
6. No. 1 Trainer
Sold for $90,000
This card may be the rarest Pokemon card ever produced, with just 7 copies estimated to be in existence. It is a promo card that was given to finalists in the 1999 Secret Super Battle contest conducted in Tokyo. First, players had to win a regional tournament to secure a place in the finals of the competition. The No. 1 Trainer Pokemon card was their award, which allowed them entry into the finals. Since only 7 regional tournaments were conducted, it is thought that only 7 copies of this Pokemon card were created.
7. Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle
Sold for $65,100
Between the years 1999 and 2001, a tournament called the Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle was conducted every year in Hawaii. Just 50 people took part in any given year. This Pokemon card is very rare, with just a dozen handed out to the best gamers at the Tropical Mega Battle tournament in the year 1999. The tournament witnessed 50 players from all over the world participate in it for the trading card game in Hawaii. The only way to take part was to win a battle in your area and receive an invite.
8. Umbreon and Espeon Gold Star
Sold for $22,000
These cards are one of the most valuable sets of Pokemon cards in existence and command an extremely high value as a result. The Umbreon and Espeon cards are named after the small gold star that appears next to their names. This is intended to denote that the card’s artworks are colored in a different way than the regular version. Umbreon and Espeon Gold Star cards are rare because just 27 were released between the years 2004 and 2007. There are Japanese and English Umbreon and Espeon cards. The Japanese version is the most valuable because of its restricted availability. However, the English version will also fetch an exorbitant price.
9. Master’s Key
Sold for $21,000
Master’s Key is a rare Pokemon card that was handed to people who took part in a Pokemon Trading Card Game tournament. Individuals participating in the trading card game tournament and video game tournament got a copy of the card. Just 36 copies of this Pokemon card are believed to exist.
10. Magikarp Trophy Card
Sold for $17,500
The Tamamushi University Hyper Test was an event conducted in Japan in 1998. To be invited, primary-school kids were required to clear a series of questions that were to be finished by a particular deadline. The winners of the event got a copy of this Pokemon card as their award.
11. Pokemon Snap Cards
Sold for $15,989
Pokemon characters have been featured in many video games, including the 1999 Nintendo 64 game Pokemon Snap. The Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic began a photo competition in May 1999. Participants were told to click pictures from Pokemon Snap and submit them to the magazine. The best 5 entries had their pictures featured on reprints from Expansion Pack. While it is not known just how many of these cards are still out there, but they usually sell for thousands of dollars, depending on the condition.
12. Prerelease Raichu
Sold for $10,500
Wizards of the Coast, a US publisher of games, gave this Pokemon card to its employees. Fewer than 10 of these cards exist, and they were just a legend until the year 2006 when a photo of one such Pokemon card surfaced online.
13. Shining Charizard Neo Destiny 1st Edition
Sold for $8,900
Neo Destiny is the last and fourth expansion of the Neo Series. And it is well-known for featuring dark as well as light Pokemon. While light Pokemon are bright-spirited and caring, dark Pokemon are usually regarded as a corrupted version of their regular species. Dark Pokemon have appeared in many different series. However, the Neo Destiny set is the only one in which you will find the light Pokemon.