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The Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Ever Sold

Pokemon card prices have been sky high since celebrities like Logan Paul and Logic brought them back into the public eye. Rare cards always had the potential to sell for hundreds of dollars, but now they may be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to PokeMarketCap, values for popular cards like Charizard, Lugia, and Rayquaza have significantly increased — especially for PSA 10 grades. Marketplace, an economic news organization, points out that any mix of media exposure, pandemic boredom, and stimulus money could be responsible for the spike in demand. 


However, despite the trading card craze, only a fraction of cards on the market could sell for a small fortune. Not all Pokemon cards are created equal, nor are they distributed at an even rate across the board. The most valuable Pokemon cards tend to be old limited edition ones or tournament promotional cards. Below, you'll learn about the most expensive Pokemon cards ever sold.

1st Edition Holographic Shadowless Venusaur Card - $50,000

Venusaur is just one of the few rare cards that slipped under the media's radar. The sale of this blue-green plant dinosaur may not have made headlines, but it did make its seller some serious cash.

Core Collectibles sold a first-edition holographic shadowless Venusaur on eBay for $50,000. This particular card even received a PSA 10 ranking, also known as gem mint, which is the best PSA score a card can receive. First-edition starter evolutions tend to attract attention, especially holographic and shadowless ones. Holographic Venusaurs outshine non-holographic versions in terms of cost and rarity. Shadowless means that the card doesn't have any shading around the edges — just plain gold.


Japan printed the first Pokemon cards in 1996, but Wizards of the West Coast didn't catch up with English counterparts until 1999. These first-edition cards are the most difficult to find because they're part of the oldest batch of Pokemon cards.

Tamamushi University Magikarp Promo Card - $50,000

Scott Pratte, a Pokemon trading card expert, explained in a forum post how the University Magikarp card splashed into the market in 1998 as a prize card for elementary school children who advanced to the final round of a special trading card conference. Shogakukan, a Japanese media publisher, challenged readers with the Tamamushi Hyper Test campaign in their magazines for school-aged children. Only children who passed the series of tests in the Tamamushi Hyper Test campaign qualified for the two-day conference in Osaka.


The conference split participants into three age brackets and then assigned groups based on Pokemon gyms. Everyone in each group battled against each other to decide the top players who would move on to Day 2. Participants who won a battle during Day 2 received a Magikarp University card. 

Pratte claimed that the intended distribution was 1,000 according to two individuals he spoke with at the 2014 Pokemon World Championships in Washington. Later, he confirmed this information with an old flyer. Only a few University Magikarps have appeared in the market. In October 2020, PWCC auctioned one for $50,000 on eBay.

20th Anniversary 24K Gold Ginza Tanaka Pikachu Card - $50,000

Ginza Tanaka, a famous Japanese jeweler, collaborated with The Pokemon Company to create a set of Pikachu cards for Pokemon's 20th anniversary. These Japanese-exclusive cards were modeled after the original Pikachu from the base set. Business Insider reports each card incorporated 11 grams of 24-karat gold into the design and came with an acrylic case for protection and display. One PWCC listing specifies that collectors pre-ordered the cards for $2,100 from either Pokemon Center Online or 7net during a 20-day period between October and November 2016.


An independent seller sold a Ginza Tanaka Pikachu for $50,000 on eBay. The seller advertised that the particular card was also signed by Pokemon trading card illustrator Mitsuhiro Arita at the Dallas 2018 Pokemon Regional Championships. At the time, Arita reportedly said that it was the only Ginza Tanaka Pikachu he signed. The exact number of Ginza Tanaka Pikachus hasn't been confirmed, but PWCC claims that the demand "far outweighs the supply."

Ishihara GX Pokémon Card - $50,000

The Ishihara GX card isn't a trading card or trophy card, but a gift. PSA's blog post describes the history of the card, including how Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO of The Pokemon Company, handed these cards out to guests at his 60th birthday party during the 2018 Pokémon World Championship in Nashville, Tenn. Mike Cressy's design features the CEO reaching for a Master Ball with a Rotom at his side. You can find a plethora of "60" references on the card, like the "60 Congratulations!" attack move that inflicts 1060 damage. 


Collector's Cache posted the first known auction for an Ishihara card in April 2019. Later, the collectible retailer sold a PSA 10 card for a record $50,000. Collector's Cache General Manager Behman Zakeri claimed between 30 and 200 cards were printed for Ishihara's birthday. The exact number remains a mystery, but it's low enough to keep this card as a well-known exclusive collectible throughout the community. PSA appraised and recorded four total Ishihara cards auctioned on the market as of July 2020.

Master's Scroll Holo Card - $50,000

PWCC advertises Master's Scrolls as promotional cards given to Master Rank members of Japan's Pokemon Daisuki Club. The listing description (which has since been removed) claimed that these Japanese exclusives were only available for a limited time in June 2010. Members needed to earn about 8,600 Action Points to reach Master Rank by participating in club activities and events. The Pokemon Daisuki Club mirrors the Pokemon Fan Club from the games, like the one in Vermillion City in Pokemon Red and Blue


Scott Pratte sold the most expensive Master's Scroll for $50,000 on eBay. PSA's card auction log shows collectors paid over $1,000 for Master's Scrolls, even as far back as 2018. These cards count as part of the L-P Promotional set that released during the Pokemon Card Game LEGEND era near the same time as the HeartGold & SoulSilver Collection in Japan. They succeeded the DPt-P Promotional cards, which started alongside the Galactic's Conquest expansion.

Tropical Wind Promo Card - $65,100

According to PSA, the Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle tournament annually took place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1999 to 2001. The invite-only event pitted the best 50 players from Canada, Latin America, Europe, Japan, and the United States against each other in competition.


One PWCC listing confirms that various cards were awarded throughout the event, including the Tropical Wind and Trainer Trophy cards. The No.2 Trainer card, one of many editions of Pokemon Trophy cards, represents a runner-up placement at the tournament. These Trainer cards featured a holographic Exeggutor on the front. PWCC sold an authentic No.2 Tropical Battle Trainer card for $50,300 on their marketplace. PSA reported only assessing five of these cards and observing nearly no record of them on auction.

Tropical Wind, one of the player participant trophy cards, also made waves as one of the most coveted promo cards on the market. Tropical Wind depicts a Psyduck holding a ukelele as it sleeps next to Jigglypuff on a hammock. PWCC auctioned a gem mint copy of the card for $65,100 on eBay.


No. 2 Trainer Trophy Card - $84,000

PSA reports that the top three players for each division in the first-ever Pokemon trading card tournament earned a Pikachu trophy card depending on their placement. Each card reads No.1, No.2, or No.3, representing gold, silver, and bronze trophies. The most recent auction to make the news was a No. 2 Pikachu trophy card. According to PokeGuardian, Yahoo Japan auctioned the card for 9,051,000 yen, which converts to about $84,000.


This particular trophy card was given to a runner-up of the Lizardon (Charizard) Mega Battle held at the Masala Cup in the Kobe International Exhibition Hall in 1997. The Masala Cup in Kobe was just one of the regional tournaments that offered Pikachu trophy cards. Other iterations of trophy cards changed the design to include different artwork or feature different characters. Every year up until 2019, top players in each age division of the Pokemon World Championships received trophy cards. The Pokemon Company cancelled both the 2020 and 2021 championships because of COVID-19 concerns, though plans for a 2022 competition in London (and perhaps new trophy cards) are in the works.

Secret Super Battle No. 1 Card - $90,000

After the record-breaking sale of a Secret Super Battle No.1 card, PSA wrote a blog post on the details of the sale and the history behind the card. First-place winners of each regional division of the 1999 Pokemon Card Game Official Tournament received a Secret Super Battle No. 1 card. The location of the finals was a secret that only these cards could unlock. Each featured a holographic silhouette of Mewtwo on the front. Only seven–one for each regional tournament–exist, one of which sold at Heritage Auctions in July 2020 for $90,000. 


Super Secret Battle cards have No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 versions like trophy cards. PokeBeach estimates that between nine to 18 sets of all three versions of the card exist. The No. 2 and No. 3 Super Secret Battle cards also attract high bidders, though maybe not as much as No. 1 cards. Most notably, a collector spent $60,000 on a No. 3 Trainer card at an eBay auction in August 2018. The card was lost in the mail and never found, despite the buyer's offer of a $1,000 reward. Scott Pratte, also known as smpratte online, gave detailed info on the stolen card in a YouTube video on his channel.

Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia Card - $135,000

As one of the most iconic Pokemon of the Johto region, Lugia rivals even Kanto starter evolutions like Charizard in value. More specifically, PSA records show that the first-edition holographic Lugia from the Neo Genesis collection routinely sells for thousands of dollars. The card was produced in 2000, the year after the release of Pokemon Silver and Gold, and is no longer sold in stores. The legendary bird appears in Johto region artwork and games, and even stars in its own movie.


A PWCC listing description reports PSA scored only 41 of these cards as PSA 10 out of the 1100+ submitted. PWCC auctioned one gem mint condition card for $129,000 in November 2020. An independent seller posted another PSA 10 card for $135,000 in January 2021. While there aren't very many Neo Genesis Lugias on the market, they out-populate other rare cards like Trophy Cards.

Kanghaskan Parent/Child Promo Card - $150,000

PWCC gives background on the Kanghaskan Parent/Child Promo card in its listing. Parent/Child Mega Battle tournament challenged thousands of parent-child teams to compete in a series of battles until they reached a certain number of wins. All teams who reached this magic number earned a prize that matched the parent-child theme: a holographic Kanghaskan Parent/Child Promo card. It's one of the few cards that features the "Pocket Monsters Card Game" logo on the back of the card as well as the front. 


As of October 2020, PSA assessed a total of 46 of these cards with only 11 meeting PSA 10 standards. The limited number that were given out, like with the trainer trophy cards, boosted their value. According to PWCC, this card ranks as the 3rd rarest Pokemon card in the world.

PWCC Marketplace auctioned the first gem mint condition Kanghaskan promo card for $150,000 in October 2020. Before that, a PSA 7 example held the record sale for $35,000.

Pikachu Illustrator Card - $233,000

According to Weiss Auctions, the Pikachu Illustrator card was specifically designed for an illustration contest hosted by CoroCoro Comics, a Japanese magazine targeted at elementary school children. The holographic Pikachu card was awarded to the three first place winners and 20 second place winners for the first contest in 1998. Later, after two other contests, the total number was upped to 39 copies. Only ten known PSA certified Pikachu Illustrator cards have appeared on the market. Atsuko Nishida, Pikachu's original character designer, designed the card. 


The Pikachu Illustrator card made headlines when Weiss Auctions sold it for $195,000 in October 2019. This sale set the 2019 Guinness World Record for most expensive Pokemon trading card sold at auction. Another Pikachu Illustrator card succeeded that record by hitting $233,000 in 2020, after an American customer bought the card from ZenPlus's Pokemonmania store. Pikachu Illustrator cards continue to sell for thousands of dollars when available.

Commissioned Presentation Blastoise Promo Card - $360,000

This Blastoise card was never meant to sell. Only two Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram Blastoise cards exist because they were never even on the market. Heritage Auctions detailed the history of how the Wizards of the West Coast commissioned trading card producer Cartamundi in 1998 to create these two cards as prototypes to show Nintendo before printing Pokemon cards in English. So these cards existed before the first-edition cards were even published. One of the defining features of this holographic Blastoise card is its blank back.


Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) Trading Cards auctioned one of these elusive Blastoise cards for $360,000 in January 2021. CGC rated the Commissioned Presentation Blastoise card as 8.5 out of 10 — or near-mint condition. Many of the cards in this article use a PSA rating, but this one uses the CGC grading scale. CGC even goes into detail about how it appraised the card next to other rare Blastoise cards with Magic the Gathering-printed backs.

1st Edition Holographic Shadowless Charizard - $369,000

Over the years, Charizard has remained one of the most popular Pokemon of all time. In a 2020 Pokemon poll, Charizard ranked fourth behind Greninja, Lucario, and Mimikyu. The fire-breathing dragon outranked both Blastoise and Venusaur, the other Kanto starter final evolved forms, who didn't make the top 10. A PSA blog post claims that Charizard was one of the rarest cards to pull from the base set and also actually a strong card in terms of hit points and attack power. The promotional appeal from the Pokemon Red video game didn't hurt either.


At press time, Charizard holds the record for the most expensive card ever sold. An anonymous buyer shelled out $369,000 for a first-edition holographic shadowless Charizard on Goldin Auctions in December 2020. This purchase surpassed the previous $295,000 record for the same card.

Charizard is a hit with stars, as well. YouTuber Logan Paul and rapper Logic both bought first-edition holographic shadowless Charizard cards for about $150,000 and $220,000 respectively. Paul said that he spent $2 million on unopened boxes of first-edition Pokemon cards, which he planned to auction off via Goldin Auctions on Pokemon Day 2021.