25 Most Expensive Pokemon Cards
The Pokemon Trading Card Game exploded in popularity during the pandemic as people looked for a new hobby to occupy their time. The result? Swarms of collectors staking out store shelves for the newest packs and an unprecedented surge in prices for the rarest Pokemon cards.
Some of those Pokemon cards are extremely valuable, with the most expensive Pokemon card in the world selling for $375,000 at the PWCC Marketplace in 2021 — $15,000 more than the previous record holder. That's right. Some people are willing to pay for a cardboard Pikachu or Charizard rather than an entire house. That's OK. We're not judging.
These are the 25 most expensive Pokemon cards in the world. While you almost certainly do not have these ultra-rare cards tucked away in a box somewhere, it's always fun to look at what collectors are willing to pay now for cards that were once worth just a few cents.
25. 2005 Holo Gold Star Espeon No. 25
The Gold Star Espeon was only available to members of the Pokemon Player's Club, and they needed 50,000 EXP points by the end of the fourth season to obtain it. A player would have to grind out points by having matches, holding events, placing in tournaments or attending events. And they would only have four seasons to do so.
It's an extremely rare card. There are assumed to be 37 in existence, and only one of these cards was graded above this grade 9 mint one, which sold at a PWCC auction for nearly $22,000 in late February 2021.
24. 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holo Venusaur
This Venusaur is the final evolution of the original Bulbasaur and is one of the hardest and most expensive Pokemon cards in existence.
Venusaur is very popular, so collectors tend to hang on to the big green guy unless the price is right. This one was graded a perfect 10 "gem mint" by the PSA.
23. 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holo Mewtwo No. 10
Mewtwo is a cat-like Pokemon made by science and the main bad guy of the Pokemon franchise. As such, it's one of the most popular Pokemon cards out there, as it holds some serious nostalgia among Pokemon collectors.
The PSA has graded 80 of these at a grade 10, and they can now sell in the $22,000 range, going by the sale price of this Mewtwo, which sold in November 2020.
22. 1999 First Edition Holo Shadowless Hitmonchan No. 7
The Hitmonchan was a popular card to actually play in the original Pokemon base set. As such, finding one in exceptional condition is very difficult, which drives the price of Hitmonchans in perfect condition through the roof.
The most expensive Hitmonchan card ever sold went for $23,100 in November 2020. That's quite an expensive special punch.
21. 1996 Japanese Holo Poliwrath No Rarity No. 62
The Poliwrath is a blue water-powered Pokemon with a big, muscular body that evolves from Poliwhirl. He's a tough cookie, and he can sell for the price of a car.
This original Japanese Pokemon base set Poliwrath card has no black star on the bottom of the right corner. It is also in absolute, tip-top condition. Only three of these cards have been to be in grade 10 gem mint condition.
20. 2003 Skyridge Holo Crystal Charizard No. 146
This Charizard card is the last version to be produced by Wizards of the Coast.
The Skyridge set is one of the rarest Pokemon sets out there, with unopened packs going for around $260. The Crystal cards are the most valuable Pokemon cards in this set, and some of the most valuable Pokemon cards in the world.
Particularly the Crystal Charizard, which can now sell for $25,000.
18. 2004 Team Rocket Returns Gold Star Holo Torchic No. 108 (Tied)
Gold Star Pokemon cards are chase cards that have a pull rate of about one in every two boxes. The Team Rocket Returns was the last expansion of the Team Rocket set and is a fan favorite.
Booster boxes go for $7,500-$10,000 and Gold Star Torchic is one of the most desirable cards in the entire lineup, especially if it's in perfect condition.
18. 2006 Dragon Frontiers Gold Star Holo Charizard No. 100 (Tied)
In 2018, a mint Dragon Frontiers Gold Star Charizard went for $4,000 or less. Less than three years later, these cards are going for eight times the price.
It's all due to the rising popularity of Pokemon trading cards and the love fans have for Charizard. This Gold Star Charizard is from the 2006 Dragon Frontiers expansion set.
Super rare and super expensive, this is a Pokemon card that'll burn a hole in your bank account.
17. 2010 Pokemon World Championship Master Key
The World Championship Master Key is a coveted Pokemon trophy card that was given to the 36 competitors of the 2010 Pokemon World Championship at Waikoloa Village in Hawaii.
The foil on the edges glitters in the light, and the text reads: "Draw a card. Then, flip a coin. If heads, shuffle Master's Key into your deck."
A grade 9 sold for $26,900 at auction in August 2020. That's over $5,000 more than a copy which sold in November 2019 for $21,201.
16. 1999 1st Edition Base Set Shadowless Holo Chansey No.3
The first Pokemon holograms had a manufacturer's defect which allowed the surfaces to be easily scratched. That means most hologram variants are in less than ideal condition, driving the price of pristine first edition hologram cards through the roof.
One of the most expensive, mint-condition first edition holograms is the shadowless Chansey, which sold for nearly $36,900 in November 2020 after 47 bids on the trading card auction house PWCC.
PSA has graded only 46 of these cards with a perfect 10, gem mint condition.
15. 1995 Japanese Topsun Holofoil Charizard No.6
It's unclear whether Topsun was the first line of Pokemon cards ever made (there's a whole thread on this topic if you're interested). Regardless, they're still considered to be among the earliest Pokemon cards.
It's no surprise that Charizard, a longtime fan favorite Pokemon, is one of the most expensive Pokemons in the Topsun set. This card is a holofoil variant and had a gem mint 10 grade, making it extremely valuable.
It sold for $37,600 at an auction on PWCC Marketplace.
13. 1999 Shadowless Base Set Holo Blastoise No. 2 (Tied)
Blastoise is an iconic Pokemon with turrets on his shell that do a good amount of water damage. He became iconic thanks to being on the cover of Pokemon Blue for Game Boy and remains a popular Pokemon card to collect from the original base set.
The shadowless hologram version of Blastoise typically go for a low of $182 to over $6,000, but a particularly fine one sold by PWCC auction captured a $45,100 bid.
13. 2005 Ex Deoxys Rayquaza Gold Star Holo (Tied)
The Ex Deoxys booster boxes are some of the most expensive Pokemon booster boxes ever, and the Rayquaza Gold Star card is one of the most coveted cards from those boxes.
If you had two boxes of Ex Deoxys, you had a chance of pulling one of these cards — they're that rare. Even those in poor condition can pull $235, while ones in the finest condition can cost as much as a new car.
12. 2017 Ishihara GX
This Pokemon card is different than every other one. The Ishihara GX Pokemon card depicts Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara and was given out at the 2018 Pokemon Worlds event in Nashville, Tennessee, to celebrate Ishihara's 60th birthday.
Ishihara himself gave these cards to guests, who consisted of Pokemon employees. It's unclear how many were made, though it's estimated to have a print run between 300 and 200. A mint grade 10 sold by Collectors Cache nabbed $50,000 on eBay in March 2020.
11. 1999 Japanese Tropical Mega Battle No. 2 Trainer
This 1999 Tropical Mega Battle card was given to the tournament's top three players from every region.
Only five of them have been authenticated by PSA, and there was basically no sales history to go on until this trophy card sold for $50,300 at an auction in late October 2020.
10. 2005 Japanese Summer Battle Road Mew Victory Orb Trophy
Three of the top players in each age division from the 2005 Pokemon Summer Battle Road tournament received a copy of the Victory Orb Mew card.
There were an estimated 162 of these cards given out, but it's unclear how many still exist. Only 16 of them were given the gem mint grade by PSA, and one of them sold for not much less than the price of a Tesla Model S in 2020.
9. 1999 Japanese Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind Promo
The 1999 Japanese Tropical Mega Battle Finals trophy card was given during the original Japanese Pokemon World Championship (then called the Japanese Tropical Mega Battle).
The event was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, as the last battle between 50 players from all over the world. This card features Psyduck and Jigglypuff hanging out in a hammock.
Subsequent versions of this card, all of which have Psyduck, were given to Mega Battle participants each year.
8. 1998 Japanese Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Promo
The Tamamushi University Magikarp trophy card was a prize given to players in a children's Pokemon tournament in Japan.
Only 69 of these Magikarps have been graded by PSA, and 12 received gem mint status. One of those gem mints sold for $66,100 at PWCC in February 2021.
The artwork, which was done by Ken Sugimori, never had an English release.
7. 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer Hologram Promo
The Super Secret Battle card allowed a player access to a secret game tournament in Japan. It was the Pokemon equivalent to a Willy Wonka golden ticket, according to Heritage Auctions, which sold the prized card for $90,000 in July 2020.
Only seven of these cards are in existence. The text reads: "The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament's champion is recognized here, and this honor is praised. By presenting this card, you may gain preferential entry into the Secret Super Battle."
6. 1995 Japanese Topsun Blue Back Numberless Charizard
According to PWCC, this was one of the first Pokemon cards ever released and thus the very first Charizard.
The original Pokemon cards were released in Japan and included chewing gum. The card has a blue back, meaning it is considered to be part of the first printing, and the lack of a card number indicates that this is among the first printing of the first run, according to PWCC.
So, yeah, it's no surprise that this extremely rare card fetched such a hefty sum. It was also a grade 9 mint-conditioned one, which greatly increased its value.
5. 2006 Pokemon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer
This No. 2 trainer card trophy could only be won at the 2006 Pokemon World Championships held in Anaheim, California. Players had to reach the top ranks for this literal trophy, and it's believed that only three were ever issued.
PWCC sold a mint-conditioned, grade 9 version of this card for $110,100 in February 2021.
4. 2000 New Genesis First Edition Holo Lugia No. 9
The Lugia is an extremely popular Pokemon, and the first ever English Lugia card can be very expensive — especially if it's in great condition. But those are difficult to find given their popularity.
While a grade 3 "good" condition first edition Lugia can go for $40, higher graded ones can go for several thousand dollars. The most expensive one of these Lugias ever sold went for $129,000 at a PWCC auction in November 2020.
It was in perfect, "gem mint" condition.
3. 1998 Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Promo
This card could only be obtained by winning a certain number of battles during a 1998 Japanese parent/child Pokemon tournament. An unknown number of them exist, and only 46 have been assessed by PSA. According to PWCC, this is considered to be the third rarest Pokemon card in the entire world.
A 7-grade version of this card sold for $35,000 in the summer of 2020, but a grade 10 version blew that price out of the water when it sold for $150,000 later that year.
What appears to be the same card (currently, there's only one 10 grade known) is now being sold on eBay with a listing price of over $485,000.
2. 1999 Charizard First Edition Shadowless
This 1999 Shadowless Charizard made headlines when rapper Logic shelled out $220,000 for this absolutely pristine, gem mint 10 condition Pokemon card in October 2020.
In December 2021, Logic flipped the card for $350,100 at PWCC.
"To date, PSA has assessed 2,166 Shadowless Charizard examples with only fifty, yes fifty being award the GEM MINT designation," according to PWCC.
1. 1998 Japanese Promo Holo Illustrator Pikachu
Trading card auction house PWCC sold this grade 7 near-mint card for an astounding $375,000 on Feb. 27, 2021 on eBay. The trading card marketplace confirmed with Work and Money that the sale went through, making the 1998 Pokemon Japanese Promo Illustrator Pikachu the most expensive Pokemon card in the world.
Why is it so rare? The card was given only to the winners of the 1998 CoroCoro Comic illustration in Japan. Thirty-nine copies were made, but it's unknown how many exist today. It's also one of the earliest Pokemon cards ever made.
Previously, a graded mint 9 version of this card held the most expensive Pokemon card record when it sold for $224,250 in 2019. That card is now on eBay for $3 million. Which is a very optimistic price point.
Related: Most Valuable Media Franchises in the World