The Rarest Most Expensive Pokemon Cards On the Market
For more than two decades, the Pokemon Card Trading Game has offered both game lovers and collectors an opportunity to hunt for the best cards. Many card owners have probably picked up a pack at the store for a few dollars. But what about hundreds of thousands of dollars? See some of the rarest pokemon cards, and what they could cost if you want to catch them all.
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Which Are the Rarest Pokemon Cards?
Now let's check out what cards are currently known to be the rarest out there. They hold value for a range of reasons, from being hard-to-find first editions to being very limited edition prints.
Pikachu Illustrator Card
This has become one of the most expensive Pokemon collector's items ever. In 2021, the card sold for more than $5,000,000. The card is extremely rare, and the one that sold for that mega price tag is the only one known to be in mint condition. Even less-than-mint versions of this card can command more than a million dollars.
1999 Charizard Holo First Edition
Easily holding the title of one of the most expensive Pokemon cards is the 1999 base set shadowless First Edition Holo Charizard card. In 2022, one of these cards sold for more than $420,000. That's more than the cost of many homes. Another copy showed up on eBay listed at $299,999.
Blastoise Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram
This card from 1998 just sold for about $360,000 at auction. The card is so rare because it is actually a prototype of sorts. The company that printed it made the card as part of a set of concept cards to present in order to get a full printing order. This card is reportedly only one of two that still exist.
Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card
No surprise, another card from the first generation of Pokemon makes the list of most expensive cards. This time it features Kangaskhan. This card was given out in the 90s to people participating in a family trading card game tournament. It features a rare logo and a card in perfect condition could cost upwards of $200,000.
There is one Pokemon card so rare, some experts aren't even sure it exists. A print of Raichu cards was reportedly made by mistake, and all but a few were destroyed. The remaining ones went to workers at the printing company, but none have made it to the market so there is no way to say how much they would sell for.
There are also plenty of rare cards that sell in the range of $2,000 to $30,000, depending on condition. If you are ready to search and invest in auctions, you could find some amazing items.
What Makes the Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Valuable?
First, let's understand what differentiates a Pokemon trading card that is worth a couple of bucks from one that is worth more than a luxury car. There are a few things that drive up the value in a big way.
One of the biggest contributing factors to a card's value is its rarity. When fewer copies of a certain card exist, each one that is found becomes more desirable and worth more. The cards you pick up in most multipacks are replicas of thousands of others, if not millions.
To help determine the rarity, examine your cards carefully. Each has a marker that indicates if it is common, uncommon or rare. You want to find cards with a star on them, indicating that they are not commonly found.
You may occasionally find a rare card in common packs. However, the real gems are usually specially printed for a specific event such as a game launch or new Pokemon movie premiere. Looking for special editions is a good way to get valuable cards.
Many of the rarest Pokemon cards are also first edition cards. This means they were part of the first batch of cards printed on that set. First edition cards tend to have the most value since they have the original designs and stylings. Other editions can be valuable as well. However, remember that value will likely decrease for each subsequent edition.
Since first editions and older cards tend to hold the most value, some of the cards with the biggest price tags will often be 20 or more years old and feature Pokemon from the first few generations of the games and shows.
You may think that a mistake on a trading card would tank its value, but that's not the case. The value of trading cards is influenced by uniqueness. Printing companies will often try to quickly correct mistakes, so if a misprinted card makes it into circulation, it is probably one of few that did and is more unique.
Condition and Grading
The most expensive Pokemon cards all have something in common: they are in excellent condition. You may wonder who determines the quality of a card. A leading authority is Professional Sports Authenticator, or PSA. This company grades the quality of both sports and gaming trading cards.
A team inspects each card for quality to see how close it is to mint condition and assigns a score. Sellers with cards to offer can share the score to increase the price since the certification is a mark of quality.
You may also see a BGS score on cards. This means Beckett Grading Services evaluated the card and certified its quality. Looking for grades is a good way to make sure you get cards that are truly valuable.
How Should I Protect the Most Expensive Pokemon Cards?
For a budding collector looking to amass rare Pokemon cards, you will need to protect them. As we said, part of a card's value comes from its condition. Make sure your cards don't get torn, bent, wet or discolored for maximum worth. This means storing them properly with the right materials.
If you have trading cards that need protecting, get card sleeves from Sleeve Kings. You can easily find the right sizes and materials to preserve and display your cards for years to come.