Rarest Pokemon cards – What’s their meaning and how much are they worth?

Rarest Pokemon cards - What’s their meaning and how much are they worth?

The world’s rarest Pokemon cards have driven collectors to travel long distances just to bid on the item of their dreams.

We’ve gathered a complete rare Pokemon cards list for you to look over in case you still have your childhood collection and want to know how much it’s worth today.

It’s interesting to see what collectors are willing to pay for cards that were once worth very little.

Top 10 Rarest Pokemon Cards

Gold Pikachu

Photo source: https://www.ebay.com/itm/265015343708

Year of release: 2016 

Material: 24-karat gold

Theme: Pokémon TCG’s 20th anniversary

Auction Type: Lottery sale  

Price sold: 216,000 yen (£1,361) in February 2018

This Gold Pikachu card is a limited edition released in 2016, and what’s really impressive about it is that you couldn’t just buy one, even if you had the money for it.

It is one of the most valuable Pokemon cards and it’s made out of 11 g of 24-karat gold, by Japanese jewellery designer Ginza Tanaka, based on the original Japanese Pikachu, who was actually called ‘Fat Pikachu.’

Prerelease Raichu

Photo source: https://hobbylark.com/card-games/Pre-Release-Raichu-The-Story-Behind-One-of-the-Worlds-Rarest-Pokmon-Cards

Year of release: 1999

Material: Unknown

Theme: Prerelease events at bookstores and gaming shops, printed with an error

Auction Type: Private sale

Price sold: £7,991 in 2009

The Prerelease Raichu card was only a myth until 2006, when a picture of one such card was posted online, causing a buzz around the trading card game and the entire Pokemon franchise.

Wizards of the Coast was working on a sequel to Pokémon TCG Base Set: Jungle. The production team allegedly discovered an error and destroyed nearly every copy of the Raichu promo, leaving around 10 cards that were distributed to Wizards of the Coast employees.

Master’s Key

Photo source: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/pokemon-masters-key-japanese-national-1922839412

Year of release: 2010

Material: pasteboards

Theme: 2010 Pokémon World Championship 

Auction Type: Online trading card marketplace

Price sold: £16,145 in November 2019

Master’s Key is one of the rarest Pokémon cards, with only 36 units created and shared. It is a relatively new card, but one of the most coveted.

They were only given to participants in the 2010 Pokemon World Championship of both the TCG and video game events, which were held in Hawaii

Gold Star Espeon and Umbreon

Photo source: https://mavin.io/search?q=Espeon+POP+16%2F17+Series+5

Year of release: From 2004 to 2007

Material: Paper and plastic

Theme: EX era and EX Team Rocket Returns

Auction Type: Auction on eBay

Price sold: £16,750 in February 2021 and £15,229 in December 2020, respectively

In order to get your hands on these two cards you had to have 40,000 EXP points earned for the Espeon 025/PLAY, and 70,000 points for the Umbreon 026/PLAY. These cards are the most valuable set of Pokemon cards today. 

The cards with Japanese text are worth even more money as they are harder to obtain than their English counterparts.

PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) values the two cards together at £147,881 and £142,610 respectively 

2002 No. 1 Trainer

Photo source: https://comics.ha.com/itm/memorabilia/trading-cards/pokemon-world-championships-no-1-trainer-promo-rare-trading-card-pokemon-2002-/a/7242-92237.s

Year of release: 2002

Material: Paper

Theme: Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament “Battle Road Spring 2002”

Auction Type: Heritage Auctions

Price sold: £23,858 in April 2021

A 2002 No. 1 Trainer card’s price is high, but given that each card in this set is unique, this should come as no surprise. The cards were awarded to the winners of the Battle Road Spring tournaments in Japan, and each one was personalised with the tournament winner’s name printed on it. Not only was the card sold, but so was the envelope in which it was sent to the winner.

No Rarity Venusaur

Photo source: https://www.ebay.com/itm/224498215849

Year of release: 1996

Material: Paper & plastic

Theme: Japanese Base Set No Rarity with the signature of Pokémon illustrator Mitsuhiro Arita 

Auction Type: Online trading card marketplace

Price sold: £42,058 in November 2021

The card’s publisher only made a few editions where illustrators left their autographs on their work, and the No Rarity Venusaur is one of them. Only 5 cards like this one in mint condition are still around today, graded at a perfect Gem-Mint 10 by PSA, making them extremely valuable. 

Tropical Wind

Photo source: https://www.trollandtoad.com/pokemon/pokemon-promo-cards/tropical-wind-026-promo/323920

Year of release: 1999

Material: Paper

Theme: Promo cards for the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle

Auction Type: Auction on eBay

Price sold: £49,802 in October 2020

There were only 12 Tropical Wind cards produced, and they were handed out as promo cards for the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle top players. This tournament was the precursor to what is now known as the Pokémon World Championships.

1999 No. 1 Trainer

Photo source: https://www.dicebreaker.com/games/pokemon-trading-card-game/news/rare-pokemon-card-no-1-trainer-auction

Year of release: 1999

Material: Pasteboards

Theme: Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament “Super Secret Battle”

Auction Type: Heritage Auctions 

Price sold: £68,862 in July 2020

The 1999 No. 1 Trainer is a holographic promotional card made in 7 copies and given to finalists in the Secret Super Battle tournament in Tokyo, Japan. This makes it one of the rarest Pokemon cards in existence, as well as one of the most sought after collectables, regardless of which Pokemon generation you prefer.

2006 No. 2 Trainer

Photo source: https://pokemonprices.com/card_price/No.+2+Trainer

Year of release: 2006

Material: Plastic

Theme: Pokémon Trading Card Game World Championships

Auction Type: Online trading card marketplace

Price sold: £84,209 in February 2021

The card itself depicts a fan favourite, Pokémon Pikachu, holding aloft a silver trophy with a holographic pattern. Only three cards of the 2006 No. 2 Trainer are thought to exist, making it one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence. Talk about an exclusive club.

1st Edition Holo Lugia

Photo source: https://www.trollandtoad.com/pokemon/neo-genesis-1st-edition-singles/lugia-9-111-holo-1st-edition/1069158

Year of release: 2020

Material: Paper

Theme: Neo Series of the Pokémon Trading Card Game

Auction Type: Online trading card marketplace

Price sold: £110,382 in May 2021

The 1st Edition Neo Genesis Lugia card is not only one of the most popular Pokemon cards ever made but also one of the most difficult to grade because of a number of errors and misprints in the early Neo Genesis runs. Only three received the highest BGS 10 Pristine rating from grading company Beckett Grading Services.

Conclusion

If you’ve already begun opening all the boxes in storage in search of your Pokemon cards, we hope you find something worth at least a couple of thousand pounds.

Maybe you don’t have any of the above-mentioned rarest Pokemon cards, but if you do, don’t forget to invite us to your early retirement party.

FAQ:

How do you tell the rarity of Pokemon cards?

The basic way to tell if a Pokemon card is rare is by looking for the symbol which can be found in the bottom right corner. The shape of the symbol shows the card’s rarity: common cards have a circle, uncommon cards have a diamond, while rare cards have a star. Cards printed shortly after the game’s release are especially valuable.

What is an ultra-rare Pokemon card?

Ultra-rare Pokemon cards are foil and feature a specific game mechanic, as well as an appearance that distinguishes them from regular Pokemon cards, known as Rare Holo cards. A star H or three stars are also special, ultra-rare cards.

Are uncommon Pokemon cards worth anything?

While some uncommon Pokemon cards can be worth up to £229,512, the average card is worth £0.92, sometimes reaching up to £7.65. The real money, however, is in the rarest Pokemon cards, which can net you a fortune.

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