Top 10 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards

Written By // SU Staff in Pokémon

Most Expensive Pokémon Card Guide

Looking back to the late 90’s, no one could really predict that Pokémon cards would explode in value like they have today. During 2021, Pokémon card values skyrocketed due to more popularity for the franchise and popular influencers increasing the demand for these cards.

One important factor for why these cards continue getting expensive is they do not make 1st edition cards anymore, also retail stores keep selling out as soon as they hit the shelves. With many people returning to indoor hobbies as a result of the pandemic, Pokémon card collecting has been booming.

With all of the Pokémon card prices increasing, let’s look at the top 10 most expensive Pokémon cards that are currently on the market today. 

10 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards

Explore the top 10 Pokémon cards that have sold for the most money at auction.

1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Holographic Illustrator Pikachu

1998 Japanese Promo Pikachu Illustrator Holo

It goes without saying that this card is one of the most rare and expensive Pokémon cards to date. This 1997 Pikachu Illustrator card was given to the winners of an art competition by the CoroCoro Comic from 1997 to 1998. The original competition awarded the winners this card, which shows Pikachu drawing other cute Pokémon, Charmander can be seen in the background.

This card holds the highest sale price for an individual Pokémon card, and the rarest card with only 39 copies officially given out. A special feature for this card is the tiny pen symbol on the bottom right corner and the word “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer” for the cards title; this is the only Pokémon card to have this title change. 

PSA Population Report:

This Pikachu Illustrator card has only been graded by the PSA 24 times. The lowest grade, with 4 cards, is an Auth. The most common grade, with 8 cards, is a Mint 9 condition. Only 1 card has been awarded a perfect Gem Mint 10 condition by the PSA. This card is extremely rare and as you can see very valuable.

Average Selling Price: $4,000,000

1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Holographic Illustrator Pikachu PSA Data

1997 PM Japanese Promo Trophy Pikachu Bronze 3rd 1st Tournament

1997 P.M. Japanese Promo Trophy Pikachu Bronze 3rd- 1st Tournament

This Bronze 3rd place Trophy Pikachu card was given to 3rd place contestants for the Japanese Pokémon TCG Championships in 1997. This tournament took place on June 14-15, 1997 at the Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Chiba, Japan. Over 1,000 kids up to age 15 participated in this event, this was the start to the official Pokémon Card Game Championship. The No. 1, 2 and 3 Trainer cards are all worth a lot of money and are very rare.  

PSA Population Report:

Only 5 of these Bronze 3rd place Trophy Pikachu cards have been graded by the PSA. The lowest grade, with 1 card, is an Auth. The most common grade, with 3 cards, is a NM-MT 8. The highest this card has been graded is a Mint 9 condition.  

Average Selling Price: $2,000,000

2005 Japanese Lugia Ex Holo Golden Sky Silvery Ocean

1997 P.M. Japanese Promo Trophy Pikachu Gold 1st- 1st Tournament

This Gold 1st place Trophy Pikachu card was given to 1st place contestants for the Japanese Pokémon TCG Championships in 1997. This tournament took place on June 14-15, 1997 at the Makuhari Messe Event Hall in Chiba, Japan. Over 1,000 kids up to age 15 participated in this event. This event was popular for a number of reasons, it was the first Pokémon TCG tournament.

It also marked the start of regional, national and international organized play. And this event gave way to the origin of the No.1, 2 and 3 Trainer Trophy cards, these cards are given out to the top three winners at all of the following Pokémon TCG tournaments. This No. 1 Trainer Promo card has been reprinted many times and used at various different tournaments. 

PSA Population Report:

This Gold 1st- 1st Tournament card has been graded by the PSA 5 times. The lowest grade given was an Auth. The most common grade, with 3 cards, is a Mint 9. Only one of these cards have been graded a perfect Gem Mint 10 condition. 

Average Selling Price: $2,000,000

2001 PM Japanese Promo NO 2 Trainer Neo Spring Battle

2001 P.M Japanese Promo NO. 2 Trainer Neo Spring Battle

This card was awarded to the 2nd place winners of each regional Neo Spring Road tournament, held between February and March 2001. This version of the Trainer card includes the name and regional conference of the winner, as well as a male or female depicted on the front of the card. There actually were no female winners, so that card was never officially given out. Players that were awarded this card were eligible for entry into the “Best in Japan” finals. 

PSA Population Report:

Only 3 of these No. 2 Trainer Neo Spring Battle cards have been graded by the PSA. All three of these cards have received a PSA grading of a Mint 9 condition. 

Average Selling Price: $1,734,360

2001 Japanese Promo Tropical Wind Tropical Mega Battle

2001 Japanese Promo Tropical Wind Tropical Mega Battle

The Tropical Mega Battle was a tournament that took place every year from 1999 to 2001 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii. Around 50 Pokémon trainers attended the event each year, this eventually led to the annual World Championships, which replaced the Tropical Mega Battle in 2002.

This card is the 2001 finals participation prize for the third international championship event. For the VS Shield Battle tournament, each player was given a preconstructed 30 card deck that was in their native language. This deck contained an exclusive promo card, in Japanese it was a numbered card that was part of the P promotional series and was called Tropical Wind instead of the English version called Tropical Breeze. These cards were exclusive to this event and are extremely rare. 

PSA Population Account:

This Japanese Tropical Wind Trainer card only has 3 cards that have been graded by the PSA. The grades given were a 6, 8 and Mint 9 condition. 

Average Selling Price: $1,000,000

2001 Japanese Promo Tropical Wind Tropical Mega Battle PSA Data

1999 Japanese Promo No 2 Trainer Tropical Mega Battle

1999 Japanese Promo No. 2 Trainer Tropical Mega Battle

The Tropical Mega Battle was the first world championship for the Pokémon TCG. This was held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and was only open for American and Japanese children ages 6-12 for the 1999 event. These 1999 Tropical Mega Battle cards are extremely hard to come by. This No. 2 Trainer was given to 2nd place contestants and is a very rare card, being graded only 6 times by the PSA. Showing one of these special trainer cards is supposed to allow the player special treatment at official Pokémon events. 

PSA Population Account:

This No. 2 Trainer card has been graded by the PSA only 6 times. The lowest grade given is an Auth. The most common grade given, with 3 cards, is a Mint 9. Only 2 of these Trainer cards have been graded a perfect Gem Mint 10 condition. 

Average Selling Price: $725,000

1999 Japanese Promo No 2 Trainer Tropical Mega Battle PSA Data

1998 Japanese Promo Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card

1998 Japanese Promo Kangaskhan- Holo Family Event Trophy Card

In May of 1998, this card was given out during the Parent/ Child Mega Battle. In order to get this card each team, composed of a parent and child, had to obtain a set number of wins. This card contains the original Pocket Monsters Trading Card Game logo for a set symbol, which is only placed on the rarest of cards. This card is the ultimate crown jewel of the early promos due to its high attractiveness. This is a very popular card that is quite rare and unique.   

PSA Population Account:

There have been 48 of these Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy cards graded by the PSA. The lowest grade, with 3 cards, is an Auth. The most common grade, with 15 cards, is a Mint 9 condition. This card has been graded a perfect Gem Mint 10 condition 11 times. 

Average Selling Price: $495,000

1998 Japanese Promo Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card PSA Data

1995 Japanese Topsun Charizard Blue Back

1995 Japanese Topsun Charizard Blue Back

The highest value this card has sold for at auction was $493,230 for a PSA 10 Charizard. This is the original Charizard Pokémon card that was included in a pack of gum. The blue-back of the card means it was the first printing, as well as the lack of a card number. The later printed Topsun cards included a card number. This vintage Charizard only has 2 of these cards graded a 10 by the PSA, and are worth quite a bit of money. 

PSA Population Account:

This vintage Blue-back Charizard card has only been graded by the PSA 75 times. The lowest grade, with 1 card, is an Auth. The most common grade, with 20 cards, is a Mint 9. Only two of these Charizard cards have been graded a PSA Gem Mint 10 condition.

Average Selling Price: $493,230

1995 Japanese Topsun Charizard Blue Back PSA Data

2005 Lugia EX Holo EX Unseen Forces

1999 Pokémon Game Charizard- Holo 1st Edition

Charizard is the Pokémon that almost every little kid starts out having as a favorite Pokémon. In the animated series, Charizard was also one of Ash Ketchum’s original partners, and this gives it a feeling of nostalgia. That is what made this card so valuable, even more so if you could get your hands on a “shadowless” version of this card.

This cards value has been hugely inflated due to online influencers and celebrities alike. With over 3,500 of these cards being graded by the PSA, that is a pretty big population number for such a high-priced card. First edition cards are extremely valuable and you would have been one lucky kid to pull this out of a Pokémon pack back in the day. 

PSA Population Account:

This 1999 1st Edition Charizard card has been graded by the PSA 3,530 times. The lowest grade, with 26 cards, is an Auth. The most common grade, with 696 cards, is a Mint 9 condition. There are only 121 of these Charizard cards to be graded a perfect Gem Mint 10 condition by the PSA. 

Average Selling Price: $399,750

1999 Pokemon Game Charizard Holo 1st Edition PSA Data

1996 Japanese Basic Blastoise Holo No Rarity Symbol

1996 Japanese Basic Blastoise- Holo No Rarity Symbol

This water-war tank Pokémon has significantly shot up in price in recent years and has quickly climbed up the ladder for one of the most valuable Pokémon cards on the market. Not only that but having no rarity means it’s really valuable in a perfect condition. These no rarity cards were printed by Media Factory in Japan on October 20, 1996 and featured no rarity symbols. These cards were only printed for a limited time before they were reprinted to feature rarity symbols. These cards are extremely rare and valuable and a really unique card to have.  

PSA Population Account:

This No Rarity Symbol Blastoise card has been graded by the PSA 171 times. The lowest grade given is an Auth. The most common grade, with 46 cards, is a NM- MT 8 grading. Only 4 of these No Rarity Symbol Blastoise cards have been graded by the PSA. 

Average Selling Price: $216,000

1996 Japanese Basic Blastoise Holo No Rarity Symbol

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pokémon Cards

Why are Pokémon cards so expensive?

There are a number of reasons why Pokémon cards are so expensive: limited supply amount, they are very fast selling and compared to the early days Pokémon has a huge fan base now and scalpers have also been increasing the price of cards. 

Why are 1st Edition Pokémon cards so expensive?

These cards were the 1st cards that were released for sale in America. 

Why are Gold Star Pokémon cards so expensive?

These cards are pretty old, they are from the Third Generation and were pretty rare back then. Making them even more rare now. 

Where can I find expensive Pokémon cards?

eBay and the PSA auction listings. 

How do I sell expensive Pokémon cards online?

You should first get your card graded so you have proof that it is authentic. Then you can sell your card on a number of various websites. Some of the most notable being the PSA website and eBay. 

Is it worth it to buy expensive Pokémon cards?

Buying expensive Pokémon cards can be a very good investment depending on what cards you buy and when you buy them. There are a lot of people that make money on buying cards and holding them until they sell for a higher price. 

Are Japanese Pokémon cards more expensive than English cards?

They can be. Japanese cards are built of a higher quality and some still come with 1st edition markings. However, in better condition, English cards tend to be worth more money. Japanese cards have more promo cards since they were released before America started to release cards. 

What makes some cards so expensive?

Supply and demand are really what drives the price up, as well as scalpers. 

How do you store expensive Pokémon cards?

If you get them PSA graded make sure you get the case to go along with it, that will help to ensure that no damage will happen to your card. You should also store your cards in a protective case at all times and in a cool dry area. 

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