The Pokémon Trading Card Game has been entertaining fans since the late 90s. Over 25 years we’ve seen many thousands of cards printed in both Japanese and English. A select few of those cards went on to become valuable collectibles. Let’s take a look at the rarest of the rare.
The most valuable individual Pokémon cards have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars! To fetch that much, the cards need to be in pristine condition, graded professionally to be as close to Gem Mint (the highest quality grade) as possible. Absolute top value lists include specific promotional cards with the highest grades. Our list includes a wider variety of cards that fetch top prices from collectors.
Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo
We start with a special promotional card depicting the president of the Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, and featuring his signature. This rare promo celebrates Ishihara’s 60th birthday and was given to employees on the Pokémon Company in 2017. The illustration depicts Ishihara throwing a Master Ball and holding Rotom (a 4th generation Pokemon). A copy of the card sold at auction earlier this year for almost $250,000!
Only 41 copies of the extremely rare Pikachu Illustrator were ever made, and fewer than 20 are still believed to exist. They were given away as promotional prizes in the late 90s by the Japanese manga magazine CoroCoro Comic. The use of “Illustrator” in lieu of “Trainer” makes this card unique, and copies can sell for almost $200,000!
1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer
The only way to get this super rare Trainer card was to be a finalist in the Super Secret Battle tournament in Tokyo in 1999. Did you miss that cut? Buying a copy of this card today will cost you $90,000 or more. Fewer than 10 copies are believed to exist.
1995 Pokémon Topsun No Number Blue Back Wartortle
The super-old, super-rare Topsun insert cards aren’t technically TCG cards. Instead, they came in packs of gum. Still, they can be very cute and very exclusive. The set actually went on sale in 1997, the year after Pokémon TCG debuted in Japan. Gem Mint copies of the Wartotle from that set have sold for nearly $50,000, and that price could be going up. So much cuteness!
1999 Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind
Another special tournament promo, a dozen copies of this Tropical Wind were given to the top performers at the Tropical Mega Battle event in Honolulu, a precursor to the Pokémon World Championships. One of the most exclusive promos in existence, copies now sell at auction for more than $35,000.
2004 Pokémon Gold Star EX Team Rocket Returns Holo Torchic #108
Torchic may not be the biggest name in Pokémon, but with so few graded copies of this particular Holographic card, the price tag has soared. A perfectly graded PSA 10 copy sold last year for $25,000—which is big money but still easier to get than one of those tournament promos.
2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis First Edition Holo Lugia #9
Lugia is among the most beloved Pokémon, and a rare favorite from many video games. The Neo Genesis set has proven tricky for graders to evaluate, and that means few copies exist of a perfect 10 Holographic Lugia. A less-than-perfect copy of the card can sell for $5,000 or $10,000, but the PSA 10 copies have sold for more than $120,000!
1999 Pokémon Base First Edition Holo Blastoise #2
Blastoise has proven to be the second-most sought-after Pokémon from the first series, after Charizard. The Holo version from the first edition is the one to own. Only 100 of these cards have been graded gem mint, and they can sell for over $45,000 each!
2016 Pokemon 20th Anniversary 24K Gold Pikachu
This 24K gold Pikachu card commemorates the game’s 20th anniversary in luxurious style, and it was offered for a preorder price of $2,100 back in 2016. Now these cards sell for around $50,000! You know that a truly gold Pikachu card will stay in high demand.
1999 First Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard #4
The most sought-after and beloved of the First Edition Pokémon TCG cards, the shadowless holographic Charizard commands an astronomical price. The lack of a shadow below the dragon figure was a temporary misprint that makes this card even rarer. A PSA 10 graded copy sold last year for $369,000!