are pokemon cards worth any money

How value is determined. The surge in Pokémon card prices doesn't necessarily mean every card is worth a lot of money or will be. “I think. In summary, modern-day pokemon cards are worth $1.2 USD on average with many pokemon cards being valued under $1 USD and cards classified as ". Though the average price of Pokémon cards is much lower, there are many rare, highly collectible cards with values upwards of $200,000.

Are pokemon cards worth any money -

The Top 12 Most Valuable Pokémon Cards In History

Three valuable Pokémon cards spread across a background image of money.

The ongoing demand for rare and valuable Pokémon cards has led to a frenzy out there, as people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on unopened boxes and rare cards. Celebrities and popular influencers have got involved over the last two years too, blowing up the situation further. It’s gotten to the point where stores are being flooded with collectors, scalpers, and fans, all of which have come together to create chaotic scenes. As a result of all this, some retail stores started suspending the sale of Pokémon cards altogether. It’s wild times, for sure.

(This list was originally published July 3, 2021. It has been updated with more valuable cards.)

Perhaps after seeing all that, you might be wondering what, exactly, people are hoping to unearth in packs. Or maybe you’d like to know if that binder full of cards up in your attic is worth anything?

After speaking to a large-scale auction house called PWCC Marketplace and doing some independent research, I’ve compiled a list of the rarest, most valuable Pokémon cards around. For this list, I decided against duplicates, as otherwise this article would be composed of mostly different types of Charizard cards and one lone trainer card.

(Also, a quick shoutout to the rare Ishihara Pokémon card that recently sold at auction for a mind-blowing $240,000. It features artwork depicting Pokémon company’s actual CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara and was only given out during his 60th birthday party in 2017. What made this particularly rare card even more valuable was that the CEO had actually signed this copy, which helps explain how it sold for so much. Cool card, crazy price, but the signature keeps it off our list as it makes it something different than a standard, rare Pokémon card in our opinion.)

Be warned: The numbers you’re about to see are large. Here are, as of now, the top 10 most expensive Pokémon cards in history.

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12. Ex Deoxys GOLD STAR HOLO Rayquaza #107

12. Ex Deoxys GOLD STAR HOLO Rayquaza #107

$45,100 Sold - July 2020

Another promo card, this Super Secret Battle trainer card was only given to an estimated seven players in 1999 during a country-wide tournament in Japan. The finals of the tournament were a secret. Players could only find out about the location after winning one of these cards in one of seven regional tournaments. This particular version of the card is rated a GEM MINT 10 by the PSA, adding to its value. Part of what makes the card desirable is the strange art, where you can spot not only a galactic Mewtwo, but also the Pokémon Trading Card logo on the front. Not a very common design!

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6. 2006 - World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer

6. 2006 - World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer


The 5 Rarest Pokemon Cards And How Valuable They Are Today

Rare Pokemon Cards

Many 90’s kids will have fond memories of saving up their pocket money in order to go to the corner shop and purchase themselves a packet of Pokémon cards, in the hope of getting the right cards.

No one could have predicted the value certain cards would have 20-30 years later, with some cards fetching over £100,000 at recent online auctions.

A sudden uptake in popularity, mainly down to large YouTubers such as Logan Paul, David Parody, and Leon Hart taking an interest has seen the popularity of booster boxes and collections alike skyrocket, as the hobby of collecting cards once again becomes an obsession for many.

Here is a list of the 5 rarest Pokémon cards along with their current market value, so that you can see if you’re harboring a small fortune amongst your collection.

CHECK OUT: The 5 Most Valuable Hot Wheels Collectibles (Some Of Which Are Worth More Than Real Cars).

5. Full Art EX cards – $700

Whilst only being worth approximately $37 depending on the card, these are probably the most realistically attainable cards that the average collectors can ever hope to achieve by buying a pack of cards from a store.

Classed as being “ultra-rare”, the approximate odds of pulling one of these is about 1 to every 18 packs, with the exception of rainbow full art cards like the Mewtwo GX card, which you can expect to have a chance of pulling in about 36 packs.

Naturally, one of the highest returns one can get for one of these cards currently is the Japanese Charizard GX, which commonly goes for around $700.

4. First Edition Base Set Shadowless Charizard Holo – $7,000

Pretty much any Charizard Pokémon card is worth a lot due to many different reasons.

Firstly, the detail the artists put into each of these cards is astonishing, with each card featuring multiple layers of illustration and color, which makes it stand out amongst other more common cards. As well as this, the attack power of this Pokémon is one of the highest when played with energies, making this card one of the best to use in the card game.

Finally, the print run of the first edition Charizard was low and can be identified by the first edition stamp in the bottom left corner of the illustration. If you are lucky enough to have a copy of this card missing the shadow on the right-hand side of the illustration, you could be looking at around $7,000 for a good condition card.

CHECK OUT: The 5 Most Expensive Video Games In History.

3. Pre-release Raichu – $10,900

Given only to employees and close friends of the Wizards of the Coast company, this card is not currently verified as it was reportedly not meant for public release, due to the majority of the sheet that it was printed on becoming stained.

As of current, there are only 9 of these cards that are known to actually exist and can be differentiated from a usual Raichu card by a stamp reading “PRERELEASE” printed on the bottom right corner of the Raichu illustration.

Only one sale of this card has ever been reported, when a collector in 2009 purchased the card for $10,500. 

2. No. 1, 2, and 3 Trainer Cards – $90,000

Now we move onto cards that you cannot pull from a set, but rather are given to winners of promotional contests, employees of the production company or close friends of those involved in the Pokémon brand.

In this case, trainer cards 1, 2, and 3 were given to the first, second, and third-place competitors of the Pokémon world championships, which is an annual invite-only competition for players of the Pokémon card game.

The card features a holographic Pikachu holding a trophy, with the text “Trainer 1/2/3” along with a congratulatory message and invitation to compete in next year’s championships.

The value of these cards increases based on which place card it is, with $90,000 being paid for a gem mint no 1 in July 2020.

CHECK OUT: The 5 Most Valuable Star Wars Action Figures (You Probably Never Owned).

1. Illustrator Pikachu Japanese – $220,000

This card is an unnumbered promotional trainer card, and is the only to feature the word “illustrator” instead of “trainer”.

As of now, only 41 copies of this card are known to exist in the entire world as they were only given to winners of a Corocoro promotional drawing competition back in 1998.

As a result, this currently stands as the rarest verified Pokémon card in the world, despite only displaying a congratulatory message and having no actual value in the game.

This card also holds the world record for the highest auction price a Pokémon card has ever sold for, fetching a mighty $220,000 at an auction in October 2019.

CHECK OUT: 5 Most Expensive Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards On The Market Right Now

Tips For Collectors

If you happen to have any of these cards on this list or any others that could be deemed as rare or valuable, the best thing you can do is ensure that the cards are kept in a sleeve, so that it is protected from any damage that can devalue it.

Next, get it graded by an official trading card grading company such as PSA or CGC, which will tell you how well your card has been kept, and therefore how much you should be selling it for, with 10 being the best grade.

Once you have this, you can start getting in contact with online auction websites, or private collectors who may have an interest in your card.

Sold - Feb. 2021

A 3D Pikachu holding a trophy as seen on the rare NO. 2 Trainer card from 2006.

Another rare tournament card, this Pokémon World Championship promo card is one of the hardest to find. It’s believed only three were actually given out in 2006 during a 3-day tournament held in California. The card’s artwork features a cute 3D-rendered Pikachu holding a large trophy. According to the PWCC, this is the only example of one of these rare promo cards to have been publicly graded—receiving a super high Mint 9 rating. Because of its extreme rarity and its high mint grade (and the adorable Pikachu on the front) this card sold for over $100k via an auction held earlier this year by the PWCC.

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5. 2000 - Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia

5. 2000 - Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia


Pokemon Card Values: How Much Are Your Cards Worth?

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 they’re 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 it’s less common, and stars mean it’s 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 (e.g., 66/65); holographic artwork or reverse holographic, in which everything but the artwork is holographic; artwork that takes up the full card; artwork wherein the creature doesn’t cast a shadow; and any shining characteristics, not to be confused with holographic.

There are also special types of cards, like the aforementioned special events that sometimes award cards to tournament winners. For example, one of the most coveted cards, the Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card, was only given out to competition winners in Japan and is so rare that it is considered priceless due to the lack of sellers. And a Pikachu Illustrator card, awarded for a Pokemon award competition, allegedly sold for a cool $90,000 USD.

While rarity isn’t the only factor in appraising value, it’s 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.

As for the more common cards that don’t match any of these characteristics, the consensus advice online is to sell those in bulk. Though the individual cards may only be worth a few dollars at most, a complete collection of them can likely fetch a little higher of a price. That’s not a terrible idea for someone wanting to get rid of a bunch of common cards and turn a profit.

Sold - Oct 2020

A Gold Star Pokemon card featuring a black-colored Charizard

This is the first of two Charizard variations that appear on this ranking, and it hails from the 2005 Ex Deoxys TCG expansion as well. This specific variant differs from the more sought-after “base” (the very first cards released) Charizards in a few key ways, the most obvious being the artwork. The card sports a more active fire-breathing dragon that’s shaded a little darker than other variants. These Gold Star cards are so powerful that you can only have one in your deck during battles.

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9. Tropical Mega Battle - Tropical Wind - PROMO card

9. Tropical Mega Battle - Tropical Wind - PROMO card


10 of the Most Valuable Pokémon Cards

As a teenager, Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri was so fond of collecting insects that classmates called him “Mr. Bug.” While it might not have been an affectionate label, Tajiri had the last laugh: His Pokémon video game, originally released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996, has become an enduring multimedia success, selling billions in games, merchandise, and phone apps.

The goal of collecting and pitting monsters against one another has been particularly appealing for trading card collectors, who have created an entire secondary market for the low-tech version of the game. The all-time sales record as of May 2021 might be this Blastoise card sold at auction for a whopping $360,000, but it's not a card you ever would have found in a pack. Wizards of the Coast, which manufactures the card game, printed just one to show to Nintendo.

Fortunately, other cards are a little more accessible, though first editions, misprints, and other characteristics all affect value. If you’re curious, take a look at 10 of the most valuable Pokémon cards according to Heritage Auctions, eBay, and other sources.

1. Pikachu Illustrator // $250,000

One of the earliest cards to come out of the Pokémon franchise was this promotional card of Pikachu that was given out to winners of an illustration contest in 1998. An estimated 20 to 39 copies were issued. In late 2016, Heritage Auctions sold one for a whopping $54,970. In July 2020, a card graded by Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) as a 9 out of 10 fetched $250,000.

2. Shadowless Holo Charizard // $507,000

This dragon-esque creature was first seen in 1999. More than 20 years later, a PSA 10 card sold for a whopping $507,000 on eBay.

3. Master's Key Prize Card // $22,000

Given out during a 2010 card championship in Japan, only 34 copies of the Master's Key Prize Card are thought to exist. The scarcity helps the cards command a high price when they hit the market. One ungraded card sold for $22,000 in November 2019.

4. Pre-Release Raichu // $10,000

Collectors love cards that were never intended for public distribution, and this Raichu card fits the bill. Although unconfirmed, Pokémon lore has it that product distributor Wizards of the Coast made just 10 of these Raichu cards for their employees and stamped “pre-release” on the front. While it’s rarely offered for sale, collectors believe it can fetch up to $10,000.

5. Tropical Wind Tropical Mega Battle // $70,000

Another card that was given only to winners at a tournament—in this case, the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle Pokémon World Championship in Honolulu, Hawaii—the Tropical Wind card is believed to have just 14 PSA 9 cards in circulation. One sold for $70,000.

6. Espeon Gold Star// $22,100

This 2007 character card graded PSA 10 sold for $22,100 on eBay recently. An NFT (non-fungible token) version sold for $28,285.

7. Blastoise // $20,000

This combat turtle from 1999 was put up in a perfect condition PSA 10 and sold for $20,000.

8. Shining Gyarados // $12,000

This 2001 Neo Revelations card brought in $12,000 on eBay.

9. Giovanni's Scheme // $10,100

Never released in English, this 2017 Japanese card is highly sought after by collectors. A perfect PSA 10 card sold for $10,100 on eBay.

10. Umbreon Holo // $5150

This 2003 card sold for $5150 after buyers took notice of its PSA 10 status.

A version of this story ran in 2017; it has been updated for 2021.

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