The 34 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards Ever Sold

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Which is the most expensive Pokémon card?

Ever since Pokémon arrived on the scene, it has always been popular in some shape or form. It all started with the Nintendo Game Boy video game release in 1996 and developed over decades to become one of the most recognizable franchises, managed by the Pokémon company nowadays.

Whether it’s collecting your own Pokémon cards or playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game (initially released by Wizards of the Coast), working your way through the video games, or watching the anime episodes and movies, Pokémon offers something for everyone.

So, we thought we’d put together a list of the 34 most valuable Pokémon cards in the world and show you just how expensive some of them have become!

The 34 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards In the World

The most valuable Pokémon cards and figures mentioned below have been compiled from various sources around the web, such as Ranker & The Gamer

These are the 34 most expensive Pokémon cards in the world:

34. Championship Arena Card

Cost: $499

Kicking off our list at $499, there is a Championship Card from the 2005 Pokémon World Championships.

The only way to get your hands on one of these was to compete in the above-mentioned tournament or a few other competitions in 2005.

The Championship Arena was limited to the Pokémon TCG tournament events by Nintendo to keep it an exclusive prize. For this reason, now it is one of the rarest Pokémon cards, available only to players who competed in that championship back then – and to those who are ready to pay a significant sum of money to buy it from them!

33. Gastly – Expedition Card

Cost: $999

Gastly is not the most exciting Pokémon that springs to mind when you’re planning your next match. He’s never been a particularly popular Pokémon either; however, his card has managed to almost break the four-digit mark.

Most pro Pokémon players would not consider using Gastly in a match, let alone actually playing him.

However, that should give you some indication that the card’s value really has no direct correlation to its competitive significance.

32. Holographic Shadowless First Edition Mewtwo Card

Cost: $1,500

Mewtwo was always one of the most elusive and rarest Pokémon in the game, so that also made his card worth a whole lot more than other expensive Pokémon cards on the list.

The base set shadowless first edition holographic card is an exceedingly rare Pokémon card today despite being massively coveted in 1999.

So if you have one in your collection or lurking around in the basement, dig it out because it’s worth around $1,500!

31. 1st Edition Shadowless Holographic Blastoise Card

Cost: $1,500

Everyone loves Blastoise, right? Blastoise was a super rare Pokémon card in 1999 and has only become more sought after as time went on.

If you’re able to find a PSA 9 card for less than $1,500, you’ll have done really well.

Cards like this are very difficult to come by.

30. Gold Star Espeon Card

Cost: $3,500

First introduced in the EX line of play, Gold Star cards are the ones with the Shiny version of the Pokémon. They were called this way due to the little gold star symbol appearing at the top of the card, right next to the Pokémon’s name. Only 27 items of this kind were produced between 2004 and 2007, so they are really rare.

They were easy to identify in the Pokémon Trading Card Game as they were slightly different from any of their adversaries. They usually had alternative-color artwork and could be found in approximately every 88 booster packs (or 2 booster boxes).

Espeon is the most valuable of all the Gold Star cards as it was awarded to players that met certain criteria and were distributed to them by the Pokémon Players Club.

29. Shining Charizard Card

Cost: $3,500

Shining Charizard marks the first time a Shiny Pokémon was found in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

The Pokémon itself is holographic, instead of the background, and it’s worth even more if it has a 1st edition marking on the bottom left-hand side of the image. These shiny Charizard cards have been highly appreciated by collectors and are also quite powerful in the game, so they reach really impressive prices.

28. Pikachu – Expedition Card

Cost: $5,999

Next on our list of the most valuable Pokémon cards in the world is this Pikachu Expedition.

Everyone loves Pikachu, so it’s no surprise that these loveable electrical squirrel cards are always in demand and command high prices.

If you’re a mega-fan of Pikachu, then you might be fortunate enough to pick one of these up on eBay.

27. Holographic Shadowless 1st Edition Venusaur Card

Cost: $6,500

As many Pokémon fans will know, Venusaur was a difficult card to come by, let alone a holographic one.

If you did manage to get your hands on the one having a first edition stamp and held on to it, today, it could be worth a good amount of money!

If you have the one without a shadow around the image box, then you’d be able to fetch even more.

26. Black Triangle Error Booster Box

Cost: $8,700

Besides the singular rarest Pokémon cards, you can also spend a lot of money on booster packs like this one.

The beauty with these is that you don’t know what type of rare cards you’re going to get.

The triangle booster pack is the most valuable, and a box will set you back a few quid. They were actually printed as a mistake when factories were supposed to stop printing any more “1st edition” packs.

The price comes from them being sealed in a booster box, instead of just a booster pack.

25. Master’s Key Prize Card

Cost: $8,799

The Master’s Key card is only one of 34 such prize cards to have ever been produced. The cards were awarded to players in a 2010 Pokémon Trading Card Game tournament in Japan, creating exclusivity and value.

If you want to get your hands on one, you’re going to have to do a lot of digging around online, as these are ultra-rare cards for sale!

24. Computer Error – Kamex Mega Battle Card

Cost: $9,999

Originally distributed with the CoroCoro comic’s monthly issue, the Computer Error – Kamex Mega Battle card was then awarded to prize winners competing in the 1998 Kamex Mega Battles.

This rare card did earn some later reprints, but the original Japanese versions are worth far more than any of the English ones, hence the $9,999 price tag. 

23. Articuno – Tropical Mega Battle Card

Cost: $9,999

Next on our list of the most valuable Pokémon cards in the world is the 1999 Articuno.

This rare card with a legendary Pokémon was awarded as a prize during the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle tournament.

However, there are standard versions that you can purchase, however because of their rarity and association with some of the world’s top players, $9,999 is the bare minimum of what you’re going to have to pay to get your hands on this legendary Pokémon card!

22. Mega Battle Tropical Wind Card

Cost: $10,000

The English Tropical Wind was one of the Pokémon Trainers awarded to participants of the 2004 World Mega Battle tournament and didn’t really cost a lot of money to purchase if you wanted your own.

However, the 1999 version handed out to prize winners of another Tropical Mega Battle Tournament, is worth a great deal more!

Because it’s been awarded to some of the world’s best players, the Mega Battle Tropical Wind card now demands $10,000.

21. Espeon Gold Star POP Series 5 Card

Cost: $22,000

As it was previously mentioned, all of the Gold Star cards are very rare, but the ‘Eeveelutions’ (the multiple creatures Gen 1 Pokémon Eevee can evolve into) are the rarest of them. On top of that, the original cards with writings in Japanese are the rarest of the rarest due to their very limited availability.

In February 2021, a gem mint PSA-rated condition Gold Star Espeon card was sold for a little over $22,000. Espeon is a Psychic-type Pokémon that appeared in Generation II.

20. Crystal Charizard Holo Skyridge
Card

Cost: $25,100

Fans who have been collecting Pokémon cards since 1999 were no longer so excited about it in 2003, and the production of the Skyridge expansion was comparably lower than in the case of the previous sets.

It was the last release from the Wizards of the Coast before the game was taken over by the Pokémon company. This pack has the famous e-reader designs that were supposed to be a tie-in for the Game Boy Advance version of the video game. Due to its small amount, this retro set contains some of the most valuable Pokémon cards.

The most desirable element of it is undoubtedly Charizard. Even at release, the Crystal Holo edition of this Pokémon card was amazingly rare. In November 2020, a card graded to have a perfect condition was bought at an auction for $25,100.

19. Wonder Platinum Trophy Card

Cost: $25,100

Only the best players taking part in the Japanese National Championship in 2009 were able to get the Wonder Platinum Trophy card, so it is very rare nowadays! It presents the beautiful artwork of a Giratina with a platinum pendant. It is estimated that there are only 36 cards of this kind out there, with just 8 graded by the PSA. According to this rating, only 6 of them are in gem mint condition.

Even though it hasn’t been actually graded by the PSA (but received a 9.5 rating from Beckett), one copy of the Wonder Platinum Trophy card was sold for the same amount of money as the aforementioned Crystal Charizard Holo Skyridge – $25,100.

18. 2002 Pokémon World Championships No. 1 Trainer Card

Cost: $31,200

This No. 1 Trainer card was a prize for the winners of the regional Battle Road Spring tournaments that took place at the beginning of 2002. These competitions were organized as qualifiers for the Pokémon World Championships and just a few most skillful players could get those cards.

What’s more, these items are particularly special as each of them has been personalized and contains the name of a particular winner. Therefore, every 2002 Pokémon World Championships No. 1 Trainer Card is literally one of a kind! As they are extremely rare, they are not likely to be seen at auctions – and when they appear, they can reach impressive prizes.

This card was illustrated by a famous artist Ken Sugimori who is famous for being one of the designers who created the first generation of 151 Pokémon. Each of them contains the words of appreciation for the winner: “The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament Battle Road Spring 2002 champion is recognised here, and his honour is praised.” On top of that, this design includes some of the Pokémon most loved by fans, such as Pikachu, Chansey, Growlithe, and Marrill.

One of the copies of the 2002 Pokémon World Championships No. 1 Trainer Cards, along with the original folder and envelope the winner received it in, was sold at auction in April 2021 for $31,200.

17. No. 3 Trainer Promo Card

Cost: $32,499

The No.3 Trainer was awarded to the third highest-ranking player in the annual World Championships.

To many, this rare card is seen as a badge of honor and is highly regarded in the industry.

Therefore its price is mainly derived from its exclusivity and kudos, but whether someone is willing to pay its asking price or not is a different story.

16. Master’s Scroll Card

Cost: $35,200

You won’t find multiple card sales of the Master’s Scroll outside of Japan, as it was never available outside of this country nor sold in regular expansion packs. The only way to get it was through the Pokémon Daisuki Club in 2010. It is an official Japanese fan club of this franchise that offers limited edition Pokémon cards once in a while. If you’re a member, you need to gain a certain number of Action Points through completing specific tasks and then you can exchange them for such exclusive cards.

It has never been revealed how many members managed to actually collect as many as 8,600 Action Points to get the Master’s Scroll, but there are only 26 gem mint 10 copies out there, so they are really hard to find. Nevertheless, at the beginning of 2021, such a card was sold on eBay for $35,200.

15. 1st Edition Shadowless Chansey

Cost: $36,877

The cards from the west’s very first set turn out to be amazingly valuable nowadays. Especially when it comes to holographic cards from the base pack, fans are able to pay surprisingly huge sums of money to get them in gem mint condition. One of such highly desired Pokémon cards is shadowless Chansey.

At the end of 2020, this item was auctioned off by PWCC and sold for $36,877. Therefore, it is the most expensive Chansey card sold so far. If you have at least a near-mint card of this kind, it may bring you a lot of money! As the PSA webpage says, there are 47 or more shadowless Chansey from the base set out there.

14. 2010 Pokemon Japanese Design Promo 4th Grade Winner Illusion’s Zoroark

Cost: $40,800

In 2010, the Ruler of Illusions: Zoroark movie was released. It was the thirteenth theatrical release in the Pokémon franchise, telling the story of Ash and his friends visiting the Crown City for the Pokémon Baccer World Cup, and discovering that the legendary Pokémon Raikou, Entei, and Suicune are destroying everything around.

To promote the movie, there was an illustrating competition organized. Six winners of this contest received 100 copies of cards with the artwork they created. So, they are pretty unique and hard to find nowadays! One of them reached a price of $40,800.

13. Gold Star Holo Rayquaza EX Deoxys

Cost: $45,100

In comparison with some other most valuable Pokémon cards, the Gold Star Holo Rayquaza card is relatively new. It was released in 2005 in the EX Deoxys set, along with six other variants of Rayquaza available there – as a reference to this legendary creature first appearing in the Game Boy Advance version of Pokémon Emerald. Interestingly, even though it is not the rarest Gold Star card of all the versions, it is the most valuable for collectors and reaches the highest prices on sale – most probably because of the combination of Gold Star and a holographic image.

It is said that there are only 46 gem mint 10 copies of this card in circulation. In December 2020, one of them, in mint condition, was sold for an impressive sum of $45,100.

12. Tropical Mega Battle No. 2 Trainer Card

Cost: $60,000

As a prize derived from a series of tropical Mega Battles, which consisted of seven regional tournaments depending on player ability, the top three players were given a trainer card with an Exeggutor on the front.

They were then able to present these cards to gain world-class treatment at any Tropical Mega Battle.

These ultra-rare cards are now incredibly hard to find, and it’s thought that the gold card is worth more than $100,000.

11. 1998 Japanese Promo Card – Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy

Cost: $66,100

This Japanese promo card was available only in a two-day tournament happening in Osaka in 1998. To get it, a participant had to win at least one battle. However, signing up for this competition was not so easy, as the candidate was required to pass the Tamamushi University Hyper Test first, briefly published in some magazines to confirm their Pokémon knowledge. After finishing the tests, 1000 participants who got the highest scores got the invitation to the tournament in Osaka.

The image was designed by the already mentioned legendary Pokémon artist Ken Sugimori and shows Magikarp jumping up in the air and shooting a bolt of lightning. This Japanese promo card was sold for $66,100 in February 2021.

10. No. 1 Trainer Promo Card

Cost: $70,000

Next on the list is Pikachu’s No. 1 Trainer Promo Card.

The Pokémon franchise held a two-day competition in 1997 to celebrate their success. This gave birth to the official Pokémon Card Game tournament.

The No.1 Trainer Promo Card was reprinted multiple times and used in several competitions, so that’s why this item is not the most expensive Pokémon card in the world but is still worth a good chunk of change. 

9. Umbreon Gold Star Holo

Cost: $70,000

This amazingly rare and expensive card released in 2005 features one of Evee’s evolution, a Dark-type Pokémon introduced in Generation II – Umbreon. Interestingly, it is one of just two cards in the world that got a BGS rating of 9.5, which significantly increased its value. This gem mint gold star holo card was sold for $70,000 at its auction, making it equally expensive as the previously mentioned No.1 Trainer Promo Card. When it first appeared, it was only available to the Pokémon Trading Card Game players who managed to gain as many as over 70,000 XP points. No wonder it is so hard to get nowadays!

8. No. 1 Trainer Super Secret Battle


Cost: $90,000

This Pokémon Super Secret Battle card was a prize in contests held by The Pokémon Company in 1999. These ultra-rare cards were the proof of winning the tournament and being eligible for taking part in the final, organized in a secret place.

It was a very mystical Pokémon Trading Card Game competition, hence the name “Super Secret Battle”. A souvenir from it presents Mewtwo, a very powerful Pokémon, so it has always been strongly desired by collectors and fans.

This Japanese promo card sold for an impressive sum of $90,000 in July 2020, becoming one of the most expensive Pokémon cards out there.

7. Pikachu Illustrator Card

Cost: $100,000

One of the most valuable Pokémon cards in the world is definitely the rare Illustrator Pikachu card.

Supposedly, there were 39 of these mystical cards, but it’s thought that there are only six left in existence.

So, if you manage to get your hands on this Pikachu Illustrator Pokémon card, then you’re looking to cash it in for roughly $100,000!

6. Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia

Cost: $144,300

Lugia was one of the rarest and strongest legendary Pokémon in the GameBoy versions of the game, so it is quite logical that its TCG card can be equally difficult to get. However, its exclusiveness stems not only from that but also from the fact that it was a part of the 1st release of the second-gen Pokémon TCG card set called Neo Genesis. This edition turned out to have many printing errors, making its grading notoriously tricky. So far, only 43 gem mint holographic Lugia cards are known to have been graded a perfect 10.

In 2020, this card reached a quite impressive price of $50,000, but a year later it almost tripled – a holo Lugia graded a Pristine 10 by BGS was sold for $144,300

5. No. 2 Trainer Promo Card

Cost: $200,000

The No.2 Trainer Card costs more than double the price of the No.1 card. However, it’s pretty difficult to find, and single listings like this are rare; therefore the owner can demand whatever price they like for it.

If someone is prepared to pay $200,000 for it, then so be it; however, it could sit on the market for several months and dramatically reduce in price if no one is willing to pay that much. 

4. Kangaskhan – Holo Family Event Trophy

Cost: $225,000

This family event trophy was awarded as a prize at a 1998 parent and child tournament in Japan.

It is one of the most prestigious and rarest Pokémon cards left globally, and thousands competed in the competition for the right to be named Pokémon’s ultimate piece of merchandise.

An important feature of this Kangaskhan card is that at the bottom right of the art, there is the expansion symbol added. Such a logo was printed on the oldest of Japanese cards, so they are extremely rare nowadays.

After the competition, the card was instantly retired, which dramatically increased its value. Coveted PSA10-graded copies usually reached prices between $50,000 and $150,000, with the highest one being $225,000.

3. Ishihara GX Promo Card (Autographed)

Cost: $247,230

This is quite an atypical item – a Japanese promo card with an artwork showing Tsunekazu Ishihara – the CEO and President of the Pokémon Company. As it can be learned from the interviews, every employee of its company who attended the executive’s birthday celebration in 2017 got this GX promo card as a souvenir.

As a result, it is one of the rarest Pokémon cards ever – there are only 30-60 of them in circulation. In April 2020, one of those custom-printed cards was sold for $50,000, but it was not the most impressive price this item has ever got. In 2021, a PSA 7 version of this card was sold for $247,230 at Goldin Auctions. Such a difference stems from the fact that this item had an actual autograph of Tsunekazu Ishihara, which made it not only one of the rarest cards, but truly one of a kind.

2. Holographic Shadowless 1st Edition Charizard Card

Cost: $369,000 USD

In 1999, 1st edition of the holographic cards with Charizard was printed. Interestingly, there was a problem with the picture – this active fire-breathing dragon lacked a shadow. The image was quickly redesigned to correct the flaw, and from this moment on, a standard version of the Charizard card was printed. But before the amendments, a few shadowless cards were available. Nowadays, this is one of the rarest Pokémon cards ever, considered the holy grail for the fans and collectors

One of them drew the media’s attention when the rapper Logic bought it for $220,574 USD in October 2020. Surprisingly, just a month later it was sold for an even higher price of $350,100 USD. And that’s not the end! The record price this Pokémon card hit was $369,000 USD, in December 2020 on Goldin Auction. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

1. Pre-Release Raichu Card

Cost: Unknown

Kicking it at the top spot on our list is the Holy Grail of Pokémon cards – Pre-release Raichu.

There are an estimated eight cards in circulation that have the “PRERELEASE” badge.

Everything else on the card remains the same as the base set version, except a stamp that serves as the main differentiator.

As most probably the rarest card, it is impossible to value, so its price is left unknown until one finally, if ever, goes up for sale!

The Most Valuable Cards Summary

We hope you enjoyed our world’s most valuable Pokémon card list. As you can see, collectors who want to obtain exclusive cards are ready to spend impressive sums of money to achieve their aim!

This is another incredible example of how much expensive collectible items can get. Who’d have thought Pokémon cards could become this pricey! If you’re interested in other most expensive collectibles, you can check our list of watches or coins, for example.

Here’s a quick recap of the 34 most valuable Pokémon cards in the world:

  1. Pre-release Raichu – Unknown
  2. Holographic Shadowless 1st Edition Charizard Card – $369,000 
  3. Ishihara GX Promo Card (Autographed) – $247,230
  4. Kangaskhan – Holo Family Event Trophy – $225,000
  5. No. 2 Trainer Promo Card – $200,000
  6. Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia – $144,300
  7. Pikachu Illustrator Card – $100,000
  8. No. 1 Trainer Super Secret Battle – $90,000
  9. Umbreon Gold Star Holo – $70,000
  10. No. 1 Trainer Promo Card – $70,000
  11. 1998 Japanese Promo Card – Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy – $66,100
  12. Tropical Mega Battle No. 2 Trainer Card – $60,000
  13. Gold Star Holo Rayquaza EX Deoxys – $45,100
  14. 2010 Pokemon Japanese Design Promo 4th Grade Winner Illusion’s Zoroark – $40,800
  15. 1st Edition Shadowless Chansey – $36,877
  16. Master’s Scroll Card – $35,200
  17. No. 3 Trainer Promo Card – $32,499
  18. 2002 Pokémon World Championships No. 1 Trainer Card – $31,200
  19. Wonder Platinum Trophy Card – $25,100
  20. Crystal Charizard Holo Skyridge Card – $25,100
  21. Espeon Gold Star POP Series 5 Card – $22,000
  22. Mega Battle Tropical Wind Card – $10,000
  23. Articuno – Tropical Mega Battle Card – $9,999
  24. Computer Error – Kamex Mega Battle Card – $9,999
  25. Master’s Key Prize Card – $8,799
  26. Black Triangle Error Booster Box – $8,700
  27. Holographic Shadowless 1st Edition Venusaur Card – $6,500
  28. Pikachu – Expedition Card – $5,999
  29. Shining Charizard Card – $3,500
  30. Gold Star Espeon Card – $3,500
  31. 1st Edition Shadowless Holographic Blastoise Card – $1,500
  32. Holographic Shadowless First Edition Mewtwo Card – $1,500
  33. Gastly – Expedition Card – $999
  34. Championship Arena Card – $499

 

What’s your favourite most expensive Pokémon card in the world? Leave a comment below.

 

 

Matt McIntyre
Matt McIntyre
Matt McIntyre is a digital marketing consultant and certified marketing strategist. When he's not talking about business or marketing, you'll find him in the gym.

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