10 most valuable Pokémon cards ever — could you be sitting on a fortune?

10 most valuable Pokémon cards ever — could you be sitting on a fortune?

Pokémon has not only just captured but also electrified the imagination of the Philippines, weaving itself into the very fabric of Filipino entertainment, gaming and merchandise. It’s a phenomenon that has crossed generational boundaries, capturing the hearts of both young and old.

From video games to the anime series, and especially the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG), the franchise has become a cornerstone of Filipino pop culture. The Pokémon video games, in particular, have been a significant part of Filipino gaming culture, with many of us growing up with our hands clasped around Nintendo consoles, journeying through pixelated realms in search of these enchanting creatures.

We’re taking a deep dive into one of the most beloved aspects of the franchise — the Pokémon TCG. This isn’t just any exploration, though. We’re on a quest to uncover the 10 most expensive Pokémon trading cards in existence. These are not just pieces of cardboard; they are treasures, keepsakes of a rich and vibrant history that may very well be sitting in your drawer, waiting to be rediscovered. So, let’s embark on this exciting journey through the world of Pokémon cards. Who knows, by the end of this, you might just realize you’re holding onto a small fortune!

10. Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia

Estimated Price: $144,300 (P8,059,443.60)

This captivating card features Lugia, a legendary bird from Generation II, renowned for its majestic appearance and power. The holographic Lugia from the Neo Genesis First Edition set is a prized collector’s item, not just for its aesthetic appeal but also for its rarity. In May 2021, a Pristine 10 graded version by BGS (Beckett Grading Services) was sold for a whopping $144,300, underscoring its value.

9. Kangaskhan – Holo Family Event Trophy

Estimated Price: $175,000 (P9,773,837.50)

This card holds a special place in Pokémon history. It was awarded to participants of a unique 1998 Pokémon TCG battle tournament where teams comprised a parent and child, fostering a family spirit in the game. Its rarity is amplified by the fact that it was never printed outside of this tournament. Featuring the original Pocket Monsters Trading Card Game logo, this card is a rarity among rarities. In July 2023, a Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) 10 graded “gem mint” copy was auctioned for a record $175,000, making it one of the most sought-after cards among collectors.

8. Ishihara GX Promo Card (Autographed)

Estimated Price: $247,230 (P13,810,638.65)

A truly unique item in the Pokémon card world, this card doesn’t feature a Pokémon but rather Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president and founder of The Pokémon Company. This promo card was created to celebrate Ishihara’s 60th birthday and was given to company employees who attended the birthday celebration. The card’s rarity is unmatched, with a signed version reaching an auction price of $247,230 in April 2021. Rumored to have been printed in extremely limited numbers, the autographed version is especially rare, making it a coveted item for serious collectors.

7. Bronze Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Trophy

Estimated Price: $300,000 (P16,762,950)

From the very first Pokémon tournament in 1997, this card was awarded to third and fourth place competitors. Only eight copies were originally given out, and as of now, only four have been PSA certified. This card is not just a collector’s item but a piece of Pokémon history, reflecting the early days of competitive play. In April 2023, one of these cards sold for $300,000 at a Heritage Auctions event, a testament to its rarity and historical value.

6. 1998 Blastoise Commissioned Presentation – 009/165R Galaxy Star Holo

Estimated Price: $360,000 (P20,115,540)

Heritage Auctions

This Blastoise card has a unique backstory. It was printed by Wizards of the Coast as a demonstration piece used to pitch the idea of producing an English version of the Pokémon TCG to Nintendo. This prototype card features different fonts, a missing water energy symbol, and some misspellings, adding to its uniqueness and charm. With only two known copies produced, and the whereabouts of the other copy being a mystery, this card fetched $360,000 at auction in January 2021, highlighting its immense historical and monetary value.

5. 1999 Pokémon Base Set Shadowless

1st Edition Holo Charizard

Estimated Price: $420,000 (P23,469,810)

The iconic Charizard card, especially in its first edition shadowless holographic form, is a legend in the Pokémon TCG world. Its value stems from its age, limited availability, and the recognition of Charizard as one of Pokémon’s most beloved mascots. The shadowless border and the first edition logo make it a highly desirable collectible. In 2022, a mint, PSA 10 copy was sold for a staggering $420,000, cementing its status as one of the most valuable and sought-after Pokémon cards in existence.

4. Trophy Pikachu No. 2 Trainer

Estimated Price: $444,000 (P24,812,274)

This card was awarded to the second-place winners at the first two Pokémon tournaments in 1997 and 1998. Illustrated by Mitsuhiro Arita, it features a cheerful Pikachu holding a trophy. The 1998 tournament version of this card, known as the Lizardon Mega Battle or Charizard Mega Battle, fetched an astounding $444,000 in September 2023 on the Goldin auction site. Its high price is attributed to its rarity, quality preservation, and the fact that it’s one of only four PSA graded examples of this card, with this particular one boasting a perfect PSA 10 rating.

3. Topsun Charizard Blue Back

Estimated Price: $493,230 (P27,562,185.63)

The Topsun Charizard Blue Back card stands out because it’s not part of the official Pokémon TCG. This prototype was printed before the official trading card game was developed by Creatures Inc. Rumored to have been originally distributed in packets of gum in Japan in 1997, its blue back and unnumbered printing make it extremely rare. In January 2021, a PSA 10 version of this card was sold for a record $493,230, proving that even unofficial products can hold immense value for collectors.

2. Pikachu Illustrator

Estimated Price: $5.28 million (P294,972,480.00)

The Pikachu Illustrator card is the pinnacle of Pokémon card collecting. It was awarded to winners of art contests organized by CoroCoro Comic in Japan in 1997 and 1998. With only about 41 cards in existence, its rarity is unmatched. The card features artwork by Atsuko Nishida, the original creator of Pikachu. A PSA Gem 10 grade Pikachu Illustrator was bought by Logan Paul for a jaw-dropping $5.28 million, making it the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. The card’s design, rarity, and high-profile ownership contribute to its immense value and legendary status among collectors.

1. ‘Pre-release’ Raichu

Estimated Price: ???

The Pre-release Raichu card is enveloped in mystery and intrigue. It’s rumored that a few Raichu cards were mistakenly printed with a “pre-release” stamp for the Pokémon Jungle expansion. These cards were supposedly destroyed, but rumors persist that a few survived and were distributed among Wizards’ employees. No professional certification body or auction house has ever certified a Pre-release Raichu, adding to its mythical status.

If its existence is ever confirmed, and a card comes to auction, its value could potentially surpass all others due to its legendary status and the mystery surrounding it.


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