One of the highest earning licensors in the world is the Pokemon Company, and their trading cards can be quite valuable. Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green took the world by storm when they were introduced 20 years ago, and the game’s interesting creatures have generated some serious cash. The Pokemon Company’s revenues top $2 billion annually which is considerably high for their industry (Gaming, Collectibles). If you happen to own certain cards, you could be sitting on a gold mine.
Here are the 10 most expensive and valuable Pokemon Cards of all time.
1. First Edition Holofoils
Pokemon’s holofoil cards were first released decades ago when the game got its start. There are Japanese and English versions of the cards, and some of the most valuable are holofoils from the Generation I series. Some of these cards have non-holofoil counterparts, while others do not. A full set of Pokemon holofoils from the first series was auctioned off for $8,496.
2. First Edition Charizard Cards
Charizard, or Lizardon as the character is known in Japan, is one of the most well known characters in the Pokemon universe. It made its first appearance in the Pokemon Red and Blue video games, and has since shown up in various spinoffs, the Pokemon anime series, and on trading cards. Since Charizard is such a fan favorite, it’s no surprise that owning cards featuring the character tend to be highly valuable — the older the cards and the better the condition, the more money you stand to make. Each first edition Charizard card can sell for about $575.
3. Mint Condition Crystal Cards
When Pokemon introduced Aquapolis in 2002, it also brought forth Crystal Pokemon. The types of changes that Crystal characters can undergo gets a bit complicated if you’re not familiar with the game, but suffice it to say Crystal cards in the Pokemon game are hot items. The highest amount that a full set of mint edition Pokemon Crystal cards was auctioned for is $9,875. This particular auction included Japanese and English versions of the cards.
4. Tropical Mega Battle Cards
Once the Pokemon trading card game started gaining immense popularity, the franchise decided to hold championships where players from around the world could duke it out in one venue. The Tropical Mega Battle hosted the best Pokemon players from the US, Canada, Latin America, Japan, and Europe at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle was held each year from 1999 to 2001, and it was a huge deal. About 50 players got the chance to compete at each battle, and in 2002 the Tropical Mega Battle was replaced with the annual Pokemon World Championships.
Promo Trainer cards were created for each Tropical Mega Battle. If you have one from the first competition in 1999, you could sell it for thousands as only 12 were made. A mint condition 1999 Tropical Mega Battle card can net $10,000 or more at auction.
5. Japanese Parent/Child Mega Battle Cards
The Kangaskhan, or Parent/Child Mega Battle, was a Pokemon tournament held in Japan in May 1998. Kids teamed up with their parents to compete in the trading card game with other families, and those who won enough games were rewarded with an exclusive promotional card. The Pokemon Parent/Child Mega Battle card is one of the small handful that has a set symbol featuring the Pocket Monsters Trading Card Game logo. This card has been collectible for well over a decade, and a mint condition one can sell for at least $10,000.
6. Pre-Release Raichu Cards
Raichu is a cute little mouse on the outside, but he has some electrifying abilities in battle. The Raichu evolves from a Pikachu that’s been exposed to a Thunder Stone, and it also represents the final Pichu form. If you have no idea what that means, just know this: one of the most valuable types of Pokemon cards features the character. Pre-Release Raichu cards — only 15 are still available in the entire world — are worth more than $10,000.
7. Piplup (San Diego 2007), Turtwig (New York 2008) and Munchlax (Chicago 2009) Promo Cards
Many Pokemon promotional cards have been issued since the game’s inception, but none are individually available for in-store purchase. These gifts are given out in certain Value Packs, but a large number are exclusively distributed at organized Pokemon tournaments and events. From 2011 to 2014, you could also snag Pokemon promotional cards in McDonald’s Happy Meals in certain regions. Not all promo cards are tournament legal, but they’re still highly collectible.
Some of the more rare Pokemon promo cards are the Piplup (San Diego 2007), Turtwig (New York 2008) and Munchlax (Chicago 2009). Just six of each were handed out in their issue years, and owning the trio means you have a group of cards worth at least $14,000. Each individual card can be sold for $4,500 or more.
8. Pokemon Snap Cards
Pokemon characters have been featured in numerous video games including Pokemon Snap, which was released for Nintendo 64 in 1999. In May 1999, CoroCoro Comic, a Japanese magazine with close ties to the Pokemon community, started a photo contest. Contestants were asked to take photos from Pokemon Snap and submit them to the publication. The top five entries were featured on Pokemon Expansion Pack reprints. It’s not certain just how many of these cards are still in existence, but they often sell for several hundred to many thousands of dollars, depending on the condition. The highest amount that a Pokemon Snap card sold for was $15,989.
9. Japanese L-P Promo Cards
The Pokemon LEGEND game brought about L-P promotional cards, which used to be called DPt-P cards — the name change made identifying the cards much less confusing. L-P cards were issued in Japan and 79 different ones were produced. The most prized L-P card is the Master Key, and only 34 or so of those cards still exist. A complete set of all 79 L-P cards, including the Master Key, was auctioned off for $84,788. Any individual card on its own can fetch several thousand dollars, depending on its condition. The Master Key is most valuable and can sell for over $10,000 by itself.
10. Pokémon Pikachu Illustrator Card
The Pokemon card of all Pokemon cards features the franchise’s most iconic and recognized character: Pikachu. Pokemon has held a number of illustrator contests for its fans, and the prizes are special cards. In 1997 and 1998, Pokemon Illustrator Cards featured the word “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer”, which is a huge distinction. Just 39 of these cards were given out, and a single Pokemon Pikachu Illustrator card is worth $100,000.