Top 25 Priciest and Rare Pokémon Cards

The allure of the Pokémon franchise is that it invades so many different mediums and forms of entertainment. One of the most substantial and most expensive areas is when it comes to the rare Pokémon cards out there.

These are the 25 most expensive and rare Pokémon cards you need to know about. From old cards that have stood the test of time to newer ones only given out to a select few, these are the rarest finds in the Pokémon TCG with their approximate values.

25. Charizard 1st Edition Holo

  • Value: $3000-$25,000 (depends on quality grade)
  • Release: 1999

Starting off this list is the classic Charizard 1st Edition Holo card from the base set back in 1999. Many fans got one, including this author, but some may not have realized the value at the time. It has become one of the more prolific and popular trading cards on the secondhand market.

24. Gold Pikachu Card

  • Value: $3000
  • Release: 2016

One of the strangest cards in existence was the 24-karat gold Pikachu card. Released in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the series, players had to sign up for the chance to get this card. And even if they were selected, they had to spend roughly $2000 to buy it. If you want an excellent card that happens to be more than a piece of paper, this is the one.

23. Pre-release Raichu

  • Value: $10,000
  • Release: Approximately 1999

This pre-release Raichu card is the card of myths and legends. So much so that it, technically, might not exist. The story goes that Wizards of the Coast, the TCG’s original publisher in the US, created this pre-release Raichu card in 1999 and then scrapped the design.

After destroying them, there were only about a dozen left, which were given to staff members. Only a single sale of this rumored card ever happened back in 2009 for about $10,000, and it was never certified by any company. As such, it could still be a hoax card in the end. If it is real, its value is likely far more significant than its original selling price.

22. Poliwrath No Rarity

  • Value: Approximately $25,000
  • Release: 1996

On its own, Poliwrath might be one of the more forgettable Generation 1 Pokémon, but the original 1996 card is no joke. The initial Japanese release had no markings on the card, resulting in it being an early sought-after card.

21. Crystal Charizard Holo

  • Value: $25,000
  • Release: 2003

Before Terastallizing was a thing in Generation 9 of the Pokémon series, there were crystal cards. This included the 2003 Crystal Charizard Holographic card. Not many were made in this particular set, making them quite rare, especially for one of the most popular Pokémon.

20. Torchic Gold Star Holo

  • Value: $25,400
  • Release: 2004

Team Rocket Returns was one of the best expansions for Pokémon TCG, leading to the fantastic Torchic Gold Star Holo card. The Gen 3 starter didn’t have many copies, causing its value to rise in recent years.

19. Charizard Gold Star Holo

  • Value: $25,500
  • Release: 2006

Gold Star cards are some of the most popular, and Torchic wasn’t the only Fire-type starter to receive this love. The Charizard Gold Star Holo from the Dragon Frontiers set is quite valuable, being one of the few cards to show the Flying and Dragon Pokémon in its brilliant shiny form.

18. 2010 Master’s Key

  • Value: $27,000
  • Release: 2010

The Master’s Key card from 2010 is the first prime example of a scarce trading card. It was only given to the 36 participants in the TCG World Championships in Hawaii back then. Of course, it didn’t take long before some of the three-dozen keys appeared on the internet for a hefty price.

17. Master’s Scroll Holo

  • Value: $35,000
  • Release: 2010

In Japan, you could join a particular group known as the Pokémon Daisuki Club (I love Pokémon Club). Club members had the chance to complete missions to earn points and turn them in for prizes. The most valuable and rarest of the prizes was the Master’s Scroll Holo card, which few ever achieved.

16. Chansey Holo 1st Edition

  • Value: $37,000
  • Release: 1999

The original TCG set for the US has plenty of show-stopping cards that are worth so much at this point. Chansey is one of them, with its Shadowless Holo 1st Edition variant being one of the most expensive in the original 151.

15. Blastoise 1st Edition Holo

  • Value: $45,000
  • Release: 1999

Step aside, Charizard, as there is a base 1999 set starter that is far more valuable these days. The Water starter Blastoise has an impressive amount of value if you can get your hands on one of the original 1999 Holo Blastoise cards.

14. Rayquaza Holo Gold Star

  • Value: $45,000
  • Release: 2005

Rayquaza is another of the best Pokémon in the franchise, but it has the double benefit of being a box art legendary. Over time, the Rayquaza Holo Gold Star card from the EX Deoxys expansion card set has climbed through the ranks to be one of the hottest cards today.

13. No. 2 Trainer Tropical Mega Battle

  • Value: $50,000
  • Release: 1999

This Is another example of The Pokémon Company giving out one-of-a-kind cards to a select group of players. Only those card players who went to the 1999 Mega Battle tournament that was Japan-exclusive were able to earn this unattractive but insanely expensive card.

12. Summer Battle Road Mew Victory

  • Value: $60,000
  • Release: 1999

Another card given out to tournament players is the Summer Battle Road Mew Victory card. Only given out to roughly 27 players in the 1998 tournament, this card’s simple design is fitting for the mythical Mew.

11. Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star

  • Value: $70,000 each
  • Release: 2005

Espeon and Umbreon had similar Gold Stars that were only obtainable in the Pokémon Players Club’s Season 4. Players in that club in Japan had to earn enough points to unlock one of these cards, leading to only a few talented players who own one today.

10. 2002 World Championships No. 1 Trainer Card

  • Value: $40,000
  • Release: 2002

While this card may not carry the price tag of some other cards on this list, that’s only because it sold once. The No. 1 Trainer card was given to the regional champions during the 2002 season.

This makes it quite rare, but even more so is the fact that every one of these cards had the name of the trainer in question who received it. So, technically, each card is wholly unique.

9. 1996 Japanese No Rarity Venusaur

  • Value: $55,000
  • Release: 1996

The third of the starters from Kanto makes its appearance with this 1996 1st Edition card. This Japanese Venusaur card is considered No Rarity due to the fact it has no marking at all on it. There are only five or so left in the world with grade-10 quality, but what makes this card even more remarkable is that it has an autograph of the original artist.

8. 1999 Tropical Wind Mega Battle Promo Card

  • Value: $65,000
  • Release: 1999

Once again, this list returns to the tournament cards given out in the past. This time around, it was the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle tournament in which around 50 players were given this Tropical Wind card. With unique art featuring a Psyduck chilling out, Tropical Wind sold for quite a lot in the past.

7. University Magikarp

  • Value: $66,000
  • Release: 1998

One of the strangest tournament cards ever given out was this University Magikarp. Don’t let the name fool you, as it was only given to students who won a contest to go to Osaka, Japan, and compete in a tournament. Still, only the winners of this elusive contest tournament were given the exceedingly rare University Magikarp card.

6. 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer

  • Value: $90,000
  • Release: 1999

The cards from here on out will grow exponentially in value and rarity. Enter the Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer card. In 1999, the winners of the regional tournaments in Japan were granted this card. It wasn’t just a unique card, but the only key to entering the Super Secret Battle tournament, whose location was unknown to everyone but the few with this card.

5. 2006 World Championship No. 2 Trainer

  • Value: $110,000
  • Release: 2006

In 2006, TPC hosted the 2006 World Championships for the TCG scene in Anaheim, California. The No. 2 Trainer card was only given to supposedly the three winners at the tournament, meaning it likely only has three cards in existence and only one known sale at this point.

4. 2000 Lugia 1st Edition Holo

  • Value: $144,000
  • Release: 2000

The English release of the Neo Genesis TCG expansion set in 2000 had a limited number of cards released, and the most sought-after in the bunch was the Lugia card. Those with, specifically, the 1st Edition Holo version are in for a treat with this card worth six figures.

3. 1998 Kangaskhan Holo Mega Battle

  • Value: $150,000
  • Release: 1998

Once again, there was a special tournament in Japan known as the Family Event in 1998. During this tournament, a parent and their kid battled together to win. The few participants in this tournament received this card, of which there are maybe a dozen or so. The two sold so far went for around $150,000 each.

2. Ishihara GX Signed Card

  • Value: $250,000
  • Release: 2017

The newest card on this list happens to be one of the most unique. The CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, had his own GX card created in 2017. It was given out to every person who attended his company-held birthday party that year.

As such, there are a few of these signed Ishihara GX cards in existence (roughly 50 or so at least), but only one (possibly former) employee has sold it so far.

1. Pokémon Illustrator Card

  • Value: Up to $6 million
  • Release: 1997

Yes, you read that amount correctly. This unique card was made in 1997 as part of a CoroCoro Japanese magazine contest. The few winners of this contest received this gorgeous card depicting Pikachu as an illustrator drawing other cards.

The few began selling in the mid-2010s, starting at around $200,000. However, more and more people began circulating this card around, raising its value until the monumental near $6 million sale in 2021.

There are likely less than 20 of the most expensive Pokémon cards in existence, but they keep popping up on second-hand markets, so you might have a chance to get your hands on the Pokémon Illustrator card… if you have a few million dollars lying around.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.