Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Ever Sold
Since the release of Pokémon trading cards in the 1990s, the Japanese media franchise has sold over 43 billion trading cards. Not only that, but the brand has sold more during the last six years than ever before, signaling a boost in interest for these Asian pocket monsters.
Do you remember opening up your first pack of Pokémon cards and feeling the excitement of “catching ’em all?” Because the iconic brand releases new cards regularly, you can feel that same excitement whenever you want.
However, collecting rare cards is even more fun. Whether you’re a serious collector or a novice in the world of collectibles, learning about the most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold can help you plan your collecting strategy and know what to look for.
While most Pokémon cards are worth no more than a few dollars, some rare gems have sold for hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Scroll through our list of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold.
A Brief History of Pokémon
When people talk about the history of Pokémon, it’s usually in a nostalgic sense since many of us grew up either playing with or hearing about those classic Pokémon cards. But the history of Pokemon goes back much further than just card collecting.
The phenomenon began in 1996 with the release of two Nintendo role-playing video game titles, Pokémon Red and Green, for Game Boy in Japan.
The games quickly rose to popularity and soon, in 1998, spread beyond Japan and into North America with the launch of Pokémon Red and Blue versions. This was followed soon by two trading card games released first in Japan (in 1996) and then internationally (in 1998).
Since then, Pokémon has continued to enthrall its passionate fanbase — most recently through online video games released on both consoles and mobile devices.
How Does the Pokémon Trading Card Game Work?
If you start collecting Pokémon trading cards, it’s helpful to know how the Pokémon Trading Card Game (otherwise known as Pokémon TCG) works.
Pokémon trading card game is a strategic card game based on Pokémon, which is short for pocket monsters.
Players face off against each other in Pokémon battles, using Pokémon-specific energy cards to cast attacks and making strategic decisions about which Pokémon to send out into battle and when to use powerful rare cards such as Pokémon EX and GX monsters.
To win, players must create decks of Pokémon cards that are balanced and suited to their strategy. A variety of options for deck building and play formats ensures that the Pokémon trading card game continues to be a dynamic, ever-changing challenge for fans of all ages.
The 10 Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Ever
Collecting Pokémon cards can be an exciting hobby for people of all ages. But if you’re interested in investing, you should look into the most expensive Pokémon cards that have ever been sold.
Researching this area is essential, as some of the most valuable cards cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Some of the rarest and most sought-after pieces include a mint condition Charizard card from the original Base Set that recently sold for $420,000 at auction.
However, that’s not even the most expensive Pokémon card ever! These are significant investments, so weighing your options and knowing precisely what you’re getting beforehand is best. Here are the ten current most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold.
1. Pikachu Illustrator
Sale Price: $5,270,000
The most expensive Pokemon card ever sold is the Pikachu Illustrator card. The ultra-rare item was first released in 1997 in honor of CoroCoro’s art competition and featured Pikachu drawing other monsters.
Previously, the most expensive Pokémon card sold for $900,000. This record was smashed when a pristine PSA Gem Mint 10 of the Pikachu Illustrator went for an eye-popping $5.27 million. Who bought the card? None other than the internet-famous Logan Paul. The trade was so exclusive that it was reportedly carried out in secret.
2. Charizard 1st Edition Shadowless
Sale Price: $420,000
Back when these Charizard cards first appeared in 1999, any kid who was a fan of Pokémon desperately wanted to get their hands on one. Even if you had it, trying to hunt down the rare Shadowless version was an even more significant challenge.
That’s why this particular card can sell for such an absurd amount today. On October 9th, 2020, popular rapper Logic splurged an impressive $226,000 on a Grade 10 version of this rare card, causing it to become the most sought-after collectibles while also setting a new bar for high-selling Pokémon cards.
Just two months later, a new record was set when a bidder at a PWCC auction parted with the card for $350,000. And as if that weren’t enough, the card sold at another auction in March 2022 for a whopping $420,000.
3. Blastoise Wizards of the Coast
Sale Price: $360,000
Wizards of the Coast initially commissioned this Blastoise Wizards of the Coast card back in 1998 to give stores an idea of what the TCG line would look like when it was printed. Surprisingly, no one knew that this rare card existed until 2021; however, everyone realized its potential value when it finally came to light.
That’s why it’s no surprise that the Blastoise Wizards of the Coast card recently made history when it sold for an astronomical $360,000 at an online auction in January 2021, making it one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever.
4. Autographed Ishihara GX Promo
Sale Price: $247,230
The Autographed Ishihara GX Promo card is most definitely one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold. In 2017, Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO, and President of The Pokémon Company gave out this extremely rare promo card to each employee who attended his birthday.
Estimates say only 30 to 60 of these collectibles are out there, but the actual quantity isn’t known. So, you know these cards are pretty exclusive. However, it wasn’t until a few years later, in April 2020, that someone paid an astronomical $50,000 for their copy at an auction. The most recent sale was even higher; an ungraded one sold in 2021 at Goldin Auctions for $247,230.
5. Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy
Sale Price: $150,000
This 1998 Trophy card is ultra rare, as it was only obtainable by competing in a special tournament held in Japan. Understandably, this exclusive competition required both parents and children o get involved in TCG battles, which makes sense given the card’s illustration portraying Kangaskhan with its baby snugly tucked away in its pouch and surrounded by holo sparkles.
Only 11 of these graded trophies remain today, so it should be no surprise that two PSA 10s were recently sold at auction for an incredible $150,000 each.
6. Lugia 1st Edition Neo Genesis
Sale Price: $144,300
Lugia’s 1st Edition Neo Genesis card has been a significant hit with collectors for years. Many grew up playing the series in the ’00s and are now outbidding each other, trying to acquire the iconic Johto Pokémon card from its debut expansion.
In 2020, this item sold for an astonishing $129,000 and broke even more records just when a Beckett-graded 10 version of the Lugia went for an incredible $144,300 at a later PWCC auction.
7. 2006 World Championship No. 2 Trainer
Sale Price: $110,100
The 2006 World Championship No. 2 Trainer card was handed out as a Trophy at the 2006 World Championship held in Anaheim, California, and given to only a select few winners. After all, how many second-place cards can you offer in a tournament of that size?
This makes finding one on the market even more of a rarity. In February 2021, one finally appeared online, and due to its surreal scarcity, it brought in over 150 bids and totaled an impressive $110,100 at a PWCC auction.
8. No. 1 Trainer Super Secret Battle
Sale Price: $90,000
One of the most coveted and expensive Pokémon cards ever sold is the Trainer Super Secret Battle card. Back in 1999, the Pokémon Company hosted regional tournaments in Japan.
Winning participants received a special No. 1 Trainer Pokemon card granting them access to the final secret location event named the “Super Secret Battle.” You literally couldn’t attend the secret event without the card.
With its unique silhouette of Mewtwo, the TCG tournament card had an aura of mystique about it. In July 2020, the ultra-rare Japanese promotional card was sold for an unheard-of price tag of $90,000, making it one of the most sought-after and valuable Pokémon cards.
9. Umbreon Gold Star Holo
Sale Price: $70,000
It’s certainly no surprise that a rare card featuring one of the most popular characters in the entire series would become highly sought-after. After all, this card could only be obtained after earning over 70,000 XP points by the end of the 4th season of the Pokémon Players Club. So, few have ended up being sold due to the exclusive nature of the card.
Its BGS grade of 9.5 makes it even rarer, as demonstrated when it recently sold for an impressive $70,000 at auction back in June 2021.
10. Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy
Sale Price: $66,100
The Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy card is one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold, and it all started in 1998.
Shogakukan’s Magazines in Japan held a contest for students by giving out tests they could send back to be graded. Students who scored high were invited to a big special conference in Osaka, where they participated in a unique Pokémon card battle tournament. The winners went home with the most coveted prize, the rare and highly valuable Magikarp Trophy Pokémon card.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, when this holy grail of collectibles recently sold for an astronomical $66,100 at PWCC in February 2021.
Is Collecting Pokemon Cards a Good Investment?
Collecting Pokémon cards can be a great way to invest in something you are genuinely interested in and have fun collecting. As the market for Pokémon cards grows, it’s becoming more and more likely that collecting these cards can be a real money maker.
For those serious about collecting, studying past trends and staying updated on limited edition cards is key. It’s important to know what makes a card valuable, so having experts in the field to consult is also recommended.
With dedication and smart investments, collecting Pokémon has the potential to be an incredibly profitable hobby. If that sounds interesting, then you’ll want to arm yourself with…
Tips for Growing Your Pokémon Collection
Doing your research is the key to growing a Pokémon card collection sustainably. Look into the card’s condition, rarity, and age to ensure they’re worth investing in. Additionally, a budget is essential, so you don’t overspend and risk draining your resources.
If you’re incredibly serious about your card collection, it’s equally vital to attend Pokémon card tournaments and connect with sellers to find hidden gems along the way.
When possible, try trading with other collectors at conventions or online to save money on one-of-a-kind pieces for your collection. When in doubt, read through these tips to help you get started.
Understand the Pokémon Trading Card Game
Collecting cards involves more than just gathering a variety of paper designs and Pokémon characters. To get the most out of collecting, you need to understand what your cards are capable of.
Knowing the game’s rules will help you appreciate the nuances and value of each card, allowing you to build a better collection and a greater understanding of the game.
Buy Modern Cards
It’s a thrilling experience to buy brand-new packs and open them up to see what rare and powerful cards might be inside.
Many competitive players seek out new cards every year as they create decks, so folks who buy modern sets of cards often have the inside track on finding the hottest collectible cards that will fetch large sums of money when traded or sold.
The bottom line? Buying modern Pokémon cards is smart for any collector looking for financial gain and personal satisfaction.
Look for Rare Cards
Finally, looking for rare cards is essential for collecting Pokémon cards. The most obvious reason for this is that you will likely be able to increase the value of your collection by obtaining those harder-to-find rare cards.
Additionally, having a few rare or ultra-rare cards in your deck is valuable in competitive play.
How do you know what to look for? Every card has a symbol at the bottom right corner denoting its rarity: look for black circles for common cards, black diamonds for uncommon cards, and stars for rare cards. The rarer your collection is, the more potential it has.
Browse Pokémon Cards & Other Collectibles
At Breaking Bangers, we’re dedicated to providing you with some of the world’s most coveted Pokémon trading card collectibles. We’ve got everything from Sword & Shield original booster boxes to elite trainer boxes and battle stadiums.
As you learn more about the most expensive Pokémon cards sold, browse through our Pokémon collectible cards and items to help you build your collection. Click here to start browsing everything Pokémon-related!