1. Pikachu Illustrator, 2. 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard, 3. Blastoise Wizards of the Coast Presentation Galaxy Star Holo, 4. Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card, 5. Family Event Kangaskhan, 6. Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9, 7. 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer, 8. 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer, 9. Gold Star Umbreon Play Promo, 10. University Magikarp, 11. Tropical Mega Battle - Tropical Wind, 12. No Rarity Charizard. Millions of dollars in Pokemon cards have changed hands in the last few months alone, with one exceptionally rare card fetching an eye-watering $900,000. The prospect of large returns continues to entice investors from all around the world, but determining which cards to purchase isn't always simple. This list of the most expensive Pokemon cards ever sold at auction should give you a decent idea of what to search for, and it's a terrific place to start.
- Pikachu Illustrator
- 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard
- Blastoise Wizards of the Coast Presentation Galaxy Star Holo
- Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card
- Family Event Kangaskhan
- Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9
- 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer
- 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer
- Gold Star Umbreon Play Promo
- University Magikarp
- Tropical Mega Battle – Tropical Wind
- No Rarity Charizard
On multiple occasions, the Pikachu Illustrator card set the record for the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. Pikachu Illustrator was initially offered to winners of promotional contests run by Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic in 1997 and 1998. The victors received 39 copies, with two copies subsequently discovered in 2020 by one of the card game’s co-creators, Yuichi Konno, bringing the total number of Pikachu Illustrator copies in existence to 41.
It is the only Pokémon card with the word “Illustrator” rather than “Trainer” at the top of the card, and it features a one-of-a-kind pen icon in the bottom-right corner to acknowledge its creation for the design contest. Pikachu’s artwork on the card is by Atsuko Nishida, the original creator of the fan-favorite Pokémon. Only 23 copies of the Pikachu Illustrator card have been authenticated to date by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) in charge of assessing cards’ condition, suggesting that a handful of the exceedingly rare Pokémon cards may possibly emerge.
A PSA grade 10 copy of the exceedingly rare Pokémon card, alleged to be the only such pristine copy in existence, was purportedly purchased in July 2021 for a record $5,275,000 by YouTuber Logan Paul, making it by far the most expensive Pokémon card ever exchanged.
Price: $5.275 million
1st Edition Shadowless Charizard
Controversial Logan Paul, a YouTuber, made waves in October 2020 after spending $150,000 for a 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard card. Surprisingly, this is not the most costly version of the card ever sold. In fact, it’s not even close. The current record holder is Goldin Auctions, who sold a replica of the card for slightly under $400,000 a few months later. The price is the most ever paid for a shadowless Charizard, as well as the third-highest ever paid for any Pokémon card, thus establishing it as one of the most valuable Pokémon cards in history.
According to the PSA website, just 54 GEM-MT 10 copies of the card exist, which helps to explain their high value. Given that Charizard’s base set was made in such large quantities, it’s highly feasible that there are hundreds, if not thousands, more copies out there just waiting to be discovered.
Blastoise Wizards of the Coast Presentation Galaxy Star Holo
Blastoise Wizards of the Coast Presentation Galaxy Star Holo, one of just two such Pokémon cards in existence, became one of the most valuable Pokémon cards of all time after it sold at auction in January 2021 for a stunning $360,000 (£266,000).
The ultra-rare Pokémon card was produced in 1998 by Magic: The Gathering creator Wizards of the Coast as a presentation piece to persuade Nintendo of Japan officials to allow it to oversee the TCG’s English-language distribution. One year later, in 1999, the game had its international premiere.
While two Blastoise ‘Presentation’ cards were made, this is the only one that has been publicly viewed. Even more astounding, it has been graded by CGC at NM/Mint+ 8.5, indicating that the 20-plus-year-old card is in near-perfect condition. The whereabouts and condition of the other Presentation card are unknown, implying that this may be the only one of its kind surviving.
Video: Heritage Auctions
Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card
Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card, the most recent card to make news for sheer value, sold for roughly a quarter-million dollars at auction on April 26th 2021. The complete story can be read here, but this card portrays Pokémon Company founder and current president Tsunekazu Ishihara and was handed to the company personnel in 2017 to commemorate the man’s 60th birthday.
This makes the card uncommon, but this particular variant is considerably rarer, as Ishihara autographed this near-mint card to increase its value even more. The “2017 P.M. SM Black Star #TPCi01 Tsunekazu Ishihara Signed Pokémon GX Promo Card,” to use its full title, is a tribute to the Pokémon president’s seeming sheer might. The ability “Red Chanchanko” refers to the red vest commonly worn for 60th birthdays in Japan, and it prohibits any attack, ability, or trainer card from having an impact on Ishihara. Meanwhile, its GX move “60 Congratulations” instructs you to flip 60 coins and take a gift for each one. This is a genuinely legendary card.
Family Event Kangaskhan
The Family Event Kangaskhan promo card cost roughly $10,000 four or five years ago. A PSA GEM-MT 10 copy, on the other hand, sold for more than 15 times that price in October 2020. The card in issue was sold on eBay by PWCC Auctions, with the final offer standing at a whopping $150,100.
The card was distributed in Japan during a parent-child Pokemon tournament in 1998. Families competed against other families, with the parent and kid teams with the most victories receiving the Kangaskhan promo card. There are only 11 GEM-MT 10 copies of the card in circulation, with a total worth of nearly $1,500,000.00.
Video: PWCC Marketplace
Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9
Lugia is one of the most recognizable and well-known Pokémon in the series, having appeared on the cover of the early Game Boy game Pokémon Silver and its Nintendo DS sequel SoulSilver. Lugia, a legendary bird Pokémon from Generation II, is one of the most powerful and difficult-to-find Pokémon in video games, thus it’s only right that its Pokémon card is likewise exceedingly uncommon.
The Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 Pokémon card is characterized as one of the most difficult Pokémon cards to grade by auction house PWCC, due to a multitude of mistakes and misprints that were included in the early runs of the Neo Genesis set for the Pokémon TCG. Later print runs were fixed, however many of the expansion’s cards are still available in their original uncorrected form. According to PWCC, only 41 Gem Mint 10 condition Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 cards have ever been graded by PSA, with just three receiving the highest BGS 10 Pristine rating by grading business Beckett Grading Services as of May 2021. Because of its scarcity, the Lugia is almost as precious as the legendary first-edition Charizard when it comes to the most valuable Pokémon cards.
The Pokémon card sells for a very high price at auction due to its popularity and scarcity. A PSA 10 first-edition Neo Genesis Lugia reportedly sold for $50,000 in October 2020, with a BGS 10 Pristine copy selling for more than $144,000 in May 2021. A legendary price for what is unquestionably a legendary card in every aspect.
2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer
The 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer, like its similarly rare and pricey Trainer trophy cards, is one of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time, with just a tiny number of cards ever manufactured.
To claim the card, participants had to win admittance to the event by accumulating enough points to qualify and then make it into the finals of their categories during the Pokémon World Championships held in Anaheim, California in August 2006.
Only three copies of the 2006 No. 2 Trainer are thought to exist, making it one of the most rare Pokémon cards in existence. Because of its scarcity, it demands a high price, with a copy graded Mint 9 by PSA selling for well over $110,000 in February 2021.
In terms of rarity and value, No. 2 Trainer is comparable to the legendary pricey No. 1 Trainer, making it one of Pokémon’s most sought-after cards.
Video: PWCC Marketplace
1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer
You’ve probably never heard of Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer, and even if you have, you’ve probably never seen one in person. There are few cards rarer than this one when it comes to Pokémon cards.
No. 1 Trainer is a holographic promotional card given to finalists in the 1999 Super Secret Battle competition in Tokyo, Japan. (Despite the identical name, this is a distinct card than the 2002 World Championships No. 1 Trainer described above.) Players had to first win a regional tournament to qualify for the competition’s finals, which were held in a secret location. Their reward was the No. 1 Trainer card, which allowed them to compete in the finals.
Because there were only seven regional tournaments, it’s thought that only seven copies of this card were produced, making it one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence. Six of the ultra-rare cards have now been certified by PSA as being in perfect Gem Mint 10 condition, with a faultless copy selling at auction in July 2020 for $90,000.
This card is so rare and expensive that Indiana Jones had to use it to escape a crumbling temple at some time. Its 1999 companion cards, No. 2 Trainer and No. 3 Trainer, which were also presented to champions in Japanese Pokémon tournaments in the late 1990s, are almost as uncommon and precious.
Photo: PSA Blog
Gold Star Umbreon Play Promo
The Gold Star Umbreon Pokemon Play Promo, which was released in Japan in 2005, shows some very amazing artwork. This, paired with the card’s scarcity, resulted in a copy selling for $70,000 in June 2021. Beckett had evaluated the card as a 9.5, implying that a perfect 10 may increase the card’s worth even further.
To obtain a copy of the card, players must first join the Pokemon Player’s Club and then acquire 70,000 EXP points by the conclusion of the fourth season. Given that players only got 100 points for attending official tournaments, not many of them were ever awarded, as indicated by the PSA grading just 24 of these to far.
University Magikarp isn’t commonly for sale, but when it is, it normally sells for a hefty price. It is one of the most expensive Pokemon cards ever sold. The card’s average price in previous years has been approximately $17,000, but the most recent transaction was for much more. A GEM-MT 10 copy of the card was sold on eBay for a whopping $66,100 at the end of February 2021. This outperformed the previous record for the card (established in October 2020) by $16,000.
Tamamushi University gave out the card as a prize for winning a competition. Participants passed a series of examinations and were invited to a unique competition in Osaka. Winners received a copy of University Magikarp once the competition concluded. The card was printed in 1,000 copies, according to a magazine advertising supporting the competition, but only 68 have been graded by PSA.
Tropical Mega Battle – Tropical Wind
Only 12 Tropical Wind promo cards were made for the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle, a predecessor to the Pokémon World Championships, making it one of the most costly Pokémon sets available.
The Tropical Mega Battle saw 50 participants from all around the world compete in a trading card game event in Honolulu, Hawaii. The only way to join was to win a fight in your area and receive an invite, making it an exclusive event for the world’s top Pokémon trainers – and the cards provided as prizes were some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.
The 1999 Japanese-language edition of Tropical Wind on this Tropical Mega Battle promo card has sold at auction for as high as $65,100 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, with the most recent record-breaking transaction taking place in October 2020. PSA puts its worth at much to $148,482, making the ultra-rare card one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever manufactured.
No Rarity Charizard
The foundational set Charizard has long been one of the most costly Pokemon cards, but the ‘No Rarity’ Japanese edition is one of the most desirable varieties. A GEM-MT 10 copy of the card sold for little over $20,000 in September 2018, but its value has risen in the years thereafter.
A Mint 9 copy of the card sold at auction for more than $60,000 in November 2020, while another sold for about $58,000 less than two weeks later. Prices for 9-rated copies of the card have declined slightly since then, but many people are asking what a GEM-MT 10 is worth in today’s market. Because there are only six of them in existence, it wouldn’t be shocking to see one of them exceed the $100,000 threshold shortly.