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What Are the Most Expensive Pokemon Cards? (2023)

What Are the Most Expensive Pokemon Cards? (2023)

There are plenty of trainers who have old Pokemon cards lying around.

Most of the time they won’t be worth a lot but everyone is hopeful they have that one card that will make them rich.

If you have any of the Pokemon cards below then you’ve hit the jackpot!

Contents:

What Is the Most Expensive Pokemon Card?

Most expensive Pokemon card Pikachu Illustrator
The Pikachu Illustrator Card is the most expensive Pokemon card ever

The most expensive Pokemon card in the world is the Pikachu Illustrator card. 

This card was a prize to the winning entrants in CoroCoro Comic’s illustration contests back in 1997 and 1998. Only 41 copies of this card are known to exist.

It currently holds the record of highest sale price for a Pokemon card due to Youtuber and influencer Logan Paul. He bought a very mint (PSA Gem Mint 10) version of the card for $5,250,000.

Most Expensive Pokemon Card List

Pokemon CardRelease DateLast Known Sale Price
23. Poliwrath No Rarity Symbol1996$25,015
22. EX Dragon Frontiers Charizard Gold Star2006$25,405
21. Master’s Key World Championship Participant Card2010$26,900
20. Skyridge Holo Charizard2003$28,100
19. Daisuki Club’s Pokemon Master Scroll2010$35,000
18. EX Deoxys Rayquaza Gold Star2005$45,000
17. Tropical Mega Battle No. 2 Trainer1999$50,300
16. Venusaur No Rarity Symbol (with Mitsuhiro Arita’s signature)1996$55,000
15. Summer Battle Road Victory Orb Mew2005$60,000
14. 64 Mario Stadium’s Best Photo Contest Chansey Card1999$63,000
13. Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind1999$65,000
12. 2012 World Championships No. 1 Trainer2012$72,000
11. Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Promo1998$78,000
10. Pokemon Players Club’s Gold Star Holo Umbreon2005$78,000
9. Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer1999$90,000
8. 2006 World Championships No. 2 Trainer2006$110,000
7. Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia2000$144,300
6. Kangaskhan Parent/Child Battle Tournament Card1998$150,000
5. Signed Ishihara GX Promo Card2017$247,230
4. Blastoise Galaxy Star Commissioned Presentation Card1998$360,000
3. Charizard 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Card1999$480,000
2. 1998 Trophy Pikachu No. 1, 2, 3 Trainer Cards1998$480,000
1. Pikachu Illustrator1998$1,275,000

Rare Pokemon Cards to Look Out For

Here are the 23 most expensive Pokemon cards ever sold and some background behind the each of them.

23. Poliwrath No Rarity Symbol

Poliwrath No Rarity Symbol Pokemon Card Price

Although a good Water/Fighting frog Pokemon, Poliwrath cards aren’t particularly special or rare. However, this one stands out due to its printing error.

Back in 1996, a Japanese print of the base cards did not include its rarity symbol, making them essentially misprints. Instead of losing their value, this glaring error has catapulted these cards into prized collectibles.

This Poliwrath No Rarity Symbol Card was sold for $25,015 in 2020. Aside from its misprint, it is also a PSA Gem Mint 10 card, meaning it has been kept in perfect condition, thus the high price tag.

22. EX Dragon Frontiers Charizard Gold Star

EX Dragon Frontiers Charizard Gold Star Pokemon Card Price

It comes as no surprise that one of the most popular and coolest Pokemon in existence has a fairly expensive card.

This is a Charizard Gold Star card from the EX Dragon Frontiers set in 2006. Gold Star cards have a pull rate of one for every two boxes, making it quite uncommon. 

Add in the fact that this illustration is a fire-breathing Shiny Charizard, with a PSA Gem Mint 10 rating to boot, and you get a card that sold for $25,405 in an auction in 2021.

21. Master’s Key World Championship Participant

Master's Key World Championship Participant Pokemon Card Price

Only the very best get to join the annual Pokemon World Championships, and participants usually receive something to commemorate their participation.

In 2010, the Pokemon World Championships was held in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii.

This exclusive invite-only event saw 36 participants across four divisions, and each of the competitors received a Master’s Key World Championship card for participating.

This is what makes this card pretty valuable. Not only does it have merely 36 copies in existence, but it was also given out during an esteemed event.

So it’s no surprise that in 2020, this card fetched the sum of $26,900 during an auction.

20. Skyridge Holo Charizard

Skyridge Holo Charizard Pokemon Card Price

Yep, we’ve got another Charizard card here!

While Charizard cards are always popular and worth more than most cards, this particular card didn’t get its high price just for Charizard alone.

This Skyride set was the final set translated and released by Wizards of the Coast.

WotC was the company in charge of translating and distributing Pokemon cards outside of Japan, before Nintendo transferred the rights to their very own Pokemon Company International.

With its Charizard design and the story behind the set, plus its PSA 10 Gem Mint rating, this Skyridge Holo Charizard card was auctioned off for $28,100 last 2020.

19. Daisuki Club Pokemon Master Scroll

Daisuki Club Pokemon Master Scroll Card Price

If there’s one way to flex how much you love Pokemon, this card might be a good example.

The Pokemon Master Scroll card was only available to members of the official Japanese fan club, the Pokemon Daisuki Club.

During a club event in 2010, members had to gather Action Points by completing certain tasks.

Once 8,600 Action Points had been accumulated, they could be exchanged for this Master Rank prize.

It is currently unknown how many members managed to gather enough points to get this card.

Right now, only 26 Master Scroll cards with a PSA 10 rating have surfaced, one of which got sold for $35,000 in 2021.

18. EX Deoxys Rayquaza Gold Star

EX Deoxys Rayquaza Gold Star Pokemon Card Price

Not all Pokemon cards are created equal, and their design, condition, rating, and rarity really help dictate their overall value. 

In the case of this Rayquaza card from the EX Deoxys set released in 2005, the Gold Star symbol on it makes this a high-priced card. Gold Star cards are notoriously rare for their pull rate of one per two boxes. 

Add the fact that this is Rayquaza, the Dragon/Flying Legendary Pokemon from Gen 3, in a cool illustration drawn by long-time TCG artist Masakazu Fukuda, and you’ve got a recipe for an expensive and highly-coveted Pokemon card.

This Rayquaza Gold Star card was sold for $45,000 in 2020. A legendary sale!

17. Tropical Mega Battle’s No. 2 Trainer

Tropical Mega Battle's No. 2 Trainer Pokemon Card Price

Before the World Championships, there was the Tropical Mega Battle. 

Prior to establishing a proper tournament structure that eventually led to the Pokemon TCG championships we have now, qualified players competed through the yearly Tropical Mega Battles from 1999 to 2001.

It was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, which treated its participants to not only a sunny vacation but a great competition.

And like the championships we have now, it wasn’t easy to join. You had to win local tournaments and Trainer Showdowns before getting an invite to compete in Tropical Mega Battle.

This is why the top three Tropical Mega Battle participants from different regions were each given a valuable and special No. 2 Trainer card.

Not only does it show that they joined, it proves they were one of the very best.

A tropical vacation and a rare card with an Exeggutor on it? Sounds like a priceless prize!

Well, the card eventually did get a price. It fetched a nice sum of $50,300 in a bidding war in 2020.

With its limited number of prints, and only 5 of them surfacing for a PSA assessment, it’s no surprise it got sold that high.

16. Venusaur No Rarity Symbol (With Mitsuhiro Arita’s Signature)

Venusaur No Rarity Symbol Signature Pokemon Card Price

Remember the early batch of Pokemon cards that didn’t get a rarity symbol during its print? These misprinted cards continue to fetch a hefty sum in the market.

This one in particular is a Venusaur card, and as the final evolution of the original starters, it is valuable by itself already.

But what made its price scale up to $55,000 is the signature of Mitsuhiro Arita on the card’s case (don’t worry, the signature’s just on the outside). 

Mitsuhiro Arita is one of the original illustrators for Pokemon TCG, even during the prototype stages of the cards and prior to the release of Pokemon Red and Green. 

He’s been with Pokemon TCG since the beginning, and getting his signature is quite an honor for any hardcore fan. Which is why the card sold for $55,000 in 2021.

15. Summer Battle Road Victory Orb Mew

Summer Battle Road Victory Orb Mew Pokemon Card Price

This card from the Summer Battle Road 2005 was sold for $60,000 in 2020.

While that sounds like a high amount, it was not a deterrent for serious collectors of this rare card.

This Victory Orb card featuring artwork of Mew was given to a few participants of Summer Battle Road in Japan.

The contest had a total of nine tournaments that occurred in different cities, with the top three winners from different age categories getting this card.

Aside from its rarity and limited number of copies, this card also boasts of a “New Back” design among trophy cards. Yep, the back illustration matters too!

14. 64 Mario Stadium Best Photo Contest Chansey Card

64 Mario Stadium Best Photo Contest Chansey Pokemon Card Price

To further promote the release of Pokemon Snap on the Nintendo 64, the Nintendo Japanese TV show, 64 Mario Stadium, held a photo contest for the game.

Players had to submit their best snaps in the game, with the winning photos awarded an exclusive Pokemon card with their photo printed on it. 

Not only was this a great way to promote the game, but Pokemon card collectors also rejoiced for getting another exclusive card this way. It’s a Chansey to boot!

More than 20 years later, one lucky (and wealthy) fan bought a rare 8.5 mint rating Chansey card from this photo contest for $63,000! That’s one expensive Poke-snap.

13. Tropical Mega Battle’s Tropical Wind

Tropical Mega Battle's Tropical Wind Pokemon Card Price

Reaching the finals of any Pokemon TCG competition is always an impressive feat.

Those invited to join the event are always rewarded with exclusive cards.

In one event, the Tropical Mega Battle, which was a pre-World Championship event and took place in 1999 to 2001 in Honolulu, Hawaii, rewarded its invited participants with a special Tropical Wind card.

Surprisingly, this card isn’t as rare as other cards featured here. It was given to more than 500 competitors at one point even had reprints.

But because of its PSA 10 Gem Mint rating and its adorable artwork featuring Psyduck and Jigglypuff relaxing in a hammock, this particular card got a $65,100 final bidding price in 2020.

12. 2012 World Championships No. 1 Trainer

2012 World Championships No. 1 Trainer Pokemon Card Price

Winning the Pokemon TCG World Championship is a mindblowing feat, so of course you get an equally mindblowing rare Pokemon card as one of your prizes.

In 2012, three winners of the World Championship got this special No. 1 Trainer card.

It features a 3D Pikachu holding a golden trophy, which was made by Pokemon illustrator Kei Hoshiba. 

Because of its limited number of prints, this card has elevated its status as one of the rarest cards in existence. To this date, this is the only copy that has surfaced to get a PSA rating.

Who knows if other 2012 No. 1 Trainer cards are still out there.

Due to its rarity, this particular card fetched a hefty sum of $72,000 at an auction in late 2021.

11. Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Promo

Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Promo Pokemon Card Price

To promote Pokemon and its card game in 1998, the publishing company Shogakukan started a Celadon (Tamamushi in Japanese) University campaign.

Shogakukan publishes dictionaries and literature, as well as the Pokemon Adventures manga and CoroCoro magazine.

The campaign let participants “enroll” in this Pokemon university by taking an Entrance Test published in Shogakukan’s magazines. Entrants had to mail their answers to Shogakukan.

Those who ranked well and got in the top 1,000 were awarded a commemorative badge with the university’s crest, an ID card, a notebook, the university’s pocketbook, and of course, this exclusive University Magikarp card.

Because of this unique contest and the slight rarity of this card, University Magikarp cards usually fetch a high price in the market. However, in 2022, one particular PSA 10 Gem University Magikarp card sold for $78,000!

University Magikarp shows that school is cool, folks.

10. Pokemon Players Club Gold Star Holo Umbreon

Gold Star Holo Umbreon Pokemon Card Price

The Pokemon Players Club was established in 2003 to replace the original Pokemon Fan Club.

It had activities and events that let its members earn experience points, which they can exchange for exclusive prizes.

Experience points can be earned by joining events, playing and winning matches, or simply attending any club activities.

In one of the club’s events, members could win a very special holographic Umbreon card with a Gold Star symbol. Sounds cool, right? You just have to rack up some points by showing up, after all.

The problem is that this special Umbreon card is worth a whopping 70,000 EXP! You have to join hundreds of events just to reach that number, which ultimately made this card quite rare and coveted.

And finally, in 2021, one determined fan wanted it so much, they bought it for $78,000. Whew, that’s a lot of real-life experience!

9. Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer

Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer Pokemon Card Price

In 1999, the Pokemon Championships decided to add a bit of mystique and secrecy to its final tournament for the senior division. It was dubbed the Super Secret Battle.

Details about the tournament were kept hush-hush, and to this day not a lot of people really know where it took place. As it’s the finals, only invited participants were there.

To match the exclusivity of the tournament, the cards awarded to the eligible participants had Mewtwo’s silhouette on them.

There were only a few regional tournaments, which means only seven to nine copies of this card were issued.

The tournament details might be a secret, but the value of this No. 1 Trainer card isn’t.

A lot of dedicated fans have long wanted this rare card, but it finally landed in the hands of someone who bought it for $90,000 in 2020!

8. 2006 World Championships No. 2 Trainer

2006 World Championships No. 2 Trainer Pokemon Card Price

This card might just be a No. 2 Trainer card, but don’t underestimate its value! 

Reaching the World Championships held in California in 2006 was a grueling process.

Not only did you have to gather enough points to qualify and join the final tournament, but you also had to survive multiple elimination rounds to reach the finals in your own division.

In the end, only three of these No. 2 Trainer cards were issued, and only one got to be PSA graded and assessed.

In 2021, one collector fought their way to place the winning bid for this card and ultimately got it for $110,000. Wow!

7. Neo Genesis 1st Edition Lugia Holo

Neo Genesis 1st Edition Lugia Holo Pokemon Card Price

After the first set of Pokemon cards became a hit, the expansion pack featuring Gen 2 Pokemon was highly awaited by fans, players, and collectors alike.

It was called the Neo Genesis expansion pack during its English release.

It boasted new features and an updated card design. Players and collectors clamored to collect its rare cards, such as this Holo Lugia one.

Although Wizards of the Coast, who was the card distributor for the English release back then, never mentioned its production numbers for this set, collectors believe the first edition didn’t have a lot of copies.

This made cards for certain Pokemon, such as Lugia, difficult to find and highly valuable

In 2021, this Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia card actually sold for $144,300.

6. Kangaskhan Parent Child Promo

Kangaskhan Parent Child Promo Pokemon Card Price

Pokemon has always been a franchise that’s perfect for families with young kids.

Back in 1998, Pokemon TCG held a special family tournament. This was called the Parent/Child Mega Battle.

A parent and their kid had to team up to join. At the end of the tournament, teams who won a certain number of battles earned a special prize.

And what better way to commemorate a parent and child win than by rewarding them with a card with a parent and child Pokemon!

They were given this special Kangaskhan card. Since you can only obtain this card through that event, this has made the card become one of the “holy grails” in the Pokemon TCG community.

In 2020, one buyer was willing to part with $150,000 just to get this card. Quite the holy grail, indeed!

5. Signed Ishihara GX Promo Card

Signed Ishihara GX Promo Pokemon Card Price

Tsunekazu Ishihara has done a lot for the Pokemon franchise.

Not only did he assist in the development of Pokemon Red and Green and founded the Pokemon Company to handle businesses outside of the games, but he is also the man behind the beloved Pokemon card game.

Suffice it to say, fans and the franchise itself owe a lot to him. So in 2017, to celebrate his 60th birthday, he was honored by being featured in his very own Pokemon card. 

In this card, you see Ishihara with a Rotom and a Master Ball, which is quite befitting.

Copies of this card were only distributed to certain Pokemon Company employees, making it quite a rare collectible!

However, a copy of this card with Ishihara’s signature surfaced during an auction in 2021. It was in near-mint condition and sold for a whopping $247,230!

4. Blastoise Galaxy Star Holo Commissioned Presentation Card

Blastoise Galaxy Star Holo Pokemon Card Price

Back in the days when Pokemon TCG hadn’t reached the shores outside of Japan, the card game publisher Wizards of the Coast really wanted to get the rights for it to officially distribute it to English-speaking fans.

To convince Nintendo, they commissioned card and board game maker Cartamundi to create two presentation cards. This was to show Nintendo what the cards will look like.

Over the years, these cards have become an important piece in Pokemon TCG’s history.

While there were two cards made, only one has actually surfaced for auction, while the other one’s fate is currently unknown.

In an auction held by Heritage Auctions in 2021, this Blastoise card was sold for an incredible price of $360,000. A worthy value for such a historical card.

3. Charizard 1st Edition Holo Card (PSA 10)

Charizard 1st Edition Holo Pokemon Card Price

It’s undeniable – Charizard will always be that one Pokemon who’s timelessly cool and popular.

Despite all the new generations and games we have now, Charizard has remained a favorite among fans.

Thus, Charizard cards, especially special ones like this, usually go for a lot of money in auctions and private sales.

This particular card was part of the Shadowless print set, where the artwork window didn’t include a drop shadow.

Although there have been 3000 copies of 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard submitted to the PSA for assessment, only 121 of them were given a PSA 10 Gem Mint rating.

The cards continue to fetch quite the sum in the market despite not being that rare. To fans, Charizard just hits different.

Youtuber Logan Paul bought one PSA 10 for $150,000 in 2020. Later that year, rapper Logic paid more than $200,000 to get one. 

But another sale broke those records in early 2022, when one particular 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard card sold for a massive sum of $420,000!

2. Pikachu Trophy Card No. 1, 2 and 3

Pikachu Trophy Pokemon Card No. 1, 2 and 3 Price

We’ve had some 1st and 2nd trophy cards featured here already, and while they are all impressive with their rarity and specialty, this next entry has a buyer who aimed to get a full trophy card set!

In 2022, a full set of the 1998 Trophy Pikachu cards went up for auction. It had the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 Trainer cards included! 

In the illustration, you see Pikachu adorably holding different trophies for its corresponding winner.

These cards were awarded to the first, second, and third-place winners of the Lizardon/Charizard Mega Battle Tournaments in Japan back in 1998.

This event was the first ever Pokemon TCG championship, way before the World Championships was established, which makes it quite historical and memorable in its own right. It was well documented and even had its own photo book.

Since the event was an important period in Pokemon TCG history, it’s not surprising that the trophy cards from it sold for an astounding price of $480,000! 

Almost half a mil for Pokemon cards? Now that’s historical!

1. Pikachu Illustrator

Pikachu Illustrator Pokemon Card Price

And the most expensive Pokemon card of all time? It’s none other than this little guy – the Pikachu Illustrator card.

Back in 1997 and 1998, CoroCoro Comic, the magazine that promotes Pokemon games, held a few art contests for fans.

Winning entrants got their own artwork printed on cards, with a Pikachu Illustrator card saying they are now officially a Pokemon card illustrator.

So not only did you get Pokemon cards with your own art as its illustration, but you also got an official card certifying your art was excellent and worthy of being printed on a Pokemon card. That’s quite the flex!

Because the Pikachu Illustrator card never became a prize again in art contests, the card was deemed pretty rare and became one of, and if not the, most sought after in Pokemon TCG circles.

In recent years, it would sell at very high prices. One card sold for $233,000 in 2020. Another got sold for $900,000 in February 2022.

But the most mind-blowing price a Pikachu Illustrator card got sold for was a jaw-dropping $5,275,000.

Youtuber Logan Paul bought a Pikachu Illustrator card with a PSA Gem Mint 10 rating through a private sale in Dubai.

He paid $4,000,000, plus a PSA Gem Mint 9 Pikachu Illustrator card worth $1,275,000. This shocking sale even got him a Guinness World Record title.

He later wore it around his neck during a WWE match!

Source: Guinness World Records and Logan Paul’s Youtube Channel

Whew, these cards are pricey! Got any favorite cards included in this list?

For other shocking Pokemon trivia, here’s our list of 20 Pokemon Easter Eggs you might not know about.