Pokemon: Top 10 Expensive Cards – A Collector’s Guide

Thousands of Pokémon Cards are in existence, only a few are worth a fortune. These are the 10 Most Expensive Pokemon TCG Cards: A Collector’s Guide.

Pokemon TCG Top 10 Rarest Cards A Collector's Guide

Originating in Japan in 1996, Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) cards are coveted collectibles tied to the immensely popular Pokémon franchise. While designed for use in a trading card game, these cards have also become highly valuable collector’s items. A Pokémon TCG card’s value is influenced by various factors, including Rarity, Condition, Edition, Popularity, Errors, Supply, and Nostalgia. This article, titled “Pokemon TCG Top 10 Most Expensive Cards: A Collector’s Guide,” showcases the most valuable and costly cards currently in existence.

What are the Top 10 Expensive Pokemon TCG Cards a Collector’s Guide

The rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards are incredibly hard to find and can be worth a small fortune. These cards are often so rare that they were once considered a myth. In this article, we will share what makes these cards so rare, a collector’s guide!

Here are the 10 Expensive Pokemon TCG Cards:

  1. Pikachu Illustrator: Price $5,275,000
  2. Pikachu No.2 Silver Trophy: Price $444,000
  3. First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard: Price $420,000
  4. Prototype Blastoise: Price $360,000
  5. Bronze Pikachu No.3 Trophy: Price $300,000
  6. Ishihara Signed GX Promo: Price $247,230
  7. Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy: Price $175,000
  8. First Edition Holo Lugia: Price $144,300
  9. Toshiyuki Yamaguchi No. 2 Trainer: Price $137,500
  10. Prerelease Raichu: Price $20,000

10 Prerelease Raichu

Prerelease Raichu - Pokemon TCG
Credit: Pokebeach.com

Price: $20,000 / £16,055 /  €18,321 / $27,443 CAD

First up, a printing error led to the emergence of The Unreleased Raichu Card, once shrouded in myth until 2006 due to its rarity. This card accidently came into existence during the creation of Clefable Promos for the Pokemon Leagues. Only a select few Wizards of the Coast employees managed to acquire this exceptionally rare and expensive card.

Additionally, the card’s controversial history holds substantial importance within the Pokemon community. Only two Prerelease Raichus have undergone grading, with the highest receiving a score of 8. The card fetched a hefty $20,000 at auction, prompting contemplation on the potential value of a PSA 10. Despite its $20,000 price tag, it claims the 10th spot on this list.

9 Toshiyuki Yamaguchi No. 2 Trainer 

Toshiyuki Yamaguchi No. 2 Trainer - Pokemon TCG
Source: Dicebreaker.com

Price: $137,500 / £110,379 /  €125,956 / $188,670 CAD

Following Raichu, Former Pokemon trainer Toshiyuki Yamaguchi takes center stage in this unique card, unseen for two decades. Once awarded to the second-place finisher in the Secret Super Battle-Best Tournament. The reward was the Toshiyuki Yamaguchi No. 2 Trainer card, thus holding a special place in Pokemon TCG history.

During the August 2000 tournament, the top three finishers each received personalized promo cards. This Pokemon trainer was one of them. After Toshiyuki received the card, it remained hidden for over 20 years until its resurgence in 2023. While hidden, the rarity and price grew, commanding a staggering $137,500 at auction. As the sole version of its kind, it confidently secures a position among the top 10 most expensive cards in the Pokemon TCG.

8 First Edition Holo Lugia

Pokemon TCG: First Edition Holo Lugia
Source: PWCC

Price: $144,300 / £115,838 / €132,186 / $198,001 CAD

Next up is Lugia, one of the most beloved Legendary Pokemon, captured the hearts of fans worldwide since its debut in the Pokemon Silver game and the release of the Pokemon Movie 2000. Its status as an incredibly important and rare Pokemon has endured over time, making its card highly sought after and highly expensive.

The First Edition card made its debut in the Neo Genesis set in 2000, even gracing one of the booster pack designs. Thanks to Lugia’s immense popularity, the card became an instant hit. Decades later, this card has become exceptionally rare and valuable. A BGS 10 Pristine Holo Lugia recently fetched an impressive $144,300 at auction, solidifying the Legendary Pokemon’s position as one of the most coveted cards in the Pokemon TCG.

7 Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy

Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy - Pokemon TCG
Source: Heritage Auctions

Price: $175,000 / £140,483 / €160,308 / $240,126 CAD

Next up, only select competitors in a Japanese tournament from 1998 received the coveted Holo Kangaskhan card. This is one of the reasons it comes in at number 6 on our collector’s guide list.

In the unique family tournament, children and parents collaborated to outplay other family duos. Only a select few teams emerged victorious enough to claim the coveted Holo Kangaskhan Family Trophy card. This card is a representation of the parent-child format, featuring an adult Kangaskhan cradling an infant in its pouch. Exclusive to the Family Event tournament, this card is one of the most expensive, commanding an impressive $175,000 at auction and securing a spot in the Top 10 expensive Pokemon Cards.

6 Ishihara Signed GX Promo

Ishihara Signed GX Promo - Pokemon TCG
Source: Artfixdaily.com

Price: $247,230 / £198,466 / €226,475 / $339,236 CAD

The President of the Pokemon TCG, Ishihara, personally created the Ishihara Signed GX Promo card. With his signature, this card played a pivotal role in numerous Pokemon milestones. The most notable milestones under his leadership were the launch of the Red and Green games, the Pokemon TCG, and Pokemon Go.

Given his significant contributions to the entire Pokemon community, a card with his autograph and dedication holds exceptional value. The exact quantity of these cards remains unknown, with only a scarce few undergoing grading. Because of its rarity, this unique card commanded an expensive $247,230 at auction, securing the Ishihara-signed GX as the 6th-rarest card. However, it falls short of cracking the top 5 of this list.

5 Bronze Pikachu No.3 Trophy

Bronze Pikachu No.3 Trophy - Pokemon TCG
Source: Heritage Auctions

Price: $300,000 / £240,828 / €274,815 / $411,645 CAD

Emerging from the hallowed grounds of the first-ever Pokémon TCG tournament, the Bronze Pikachu Trophy card stands as a beacon of rarity and historical significance. Only four of these elusive cards were ever produced and bestowed upon the valiant runners-up of that inaugural event, imbuing them with an aura of unparalleled exclusivity. The card’s profound historical significance, intertwined with its release at the dawn of the Pokémon TCG era, has propelled it to the pinnacle of collector’s desires.

A testament to its immense allure, one of these Bronze Pikachu Trophy cards commanded a staggering $300,000 at auction, with over 50 passionate collectors vying for its possession. This expensive sum underscores the card’s profound impact on the Pokémon TCG community, solidifying its status as a true treasure.

Moreover, with its limited existence and pivotal role in Pokémon history, the Bronze Pikachu No.3 Trophy card firmly cements its position among the rarest and most sought-after cards of all time.

4 Prototype Blastoise

Prototype Blastoise - Pokemon TCG
Source: Heritage Auctions

Price: $360,000 / £288,994 / €329,778 / $493,974 CAD

Playing a pivotal role in the inception of the Pokemon TCG, the prototype Blastoise card was crafted to persuade Nintendo to greenlight the trading card game in the 1990s. Without this prototype card, the first set of Pokemon TCG cards might never have been released in 1996. Quite possibly, the emergence of Prototype Blastoise saved Pokemon TCG as we know it.

Among the rarest cards ever, only four of these prototypes were ever created, with only three of them having been publicly observed. Consequently, when this card entered the auction, it commanded an impressive $360,000, firmly establishing itself on the list as one of the most expensive Pokemon TCG Cards.

3 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard

First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard - Pokemon TCG
Source: PWCC

Price: $420,000 / £337,159 / €384,741 / $576,303 CAD

A name that needs no introduction, the Base Set Charizard reigns supreme as the most iconic Pokémon Card. Moreover, Charizard stands tall among the most renowned Pokémon of all time. Due to it’s rarity, history, and passionate fan base, this card fetched a $420,000 price tag.

The Shadowless Holo Charizard’s rarity and value are rooted in its significance. From the very dawn of the Pokémon TCG, with the release of the Base Set, this card has been universally recognized as the pinnacle of strength and desirability. Now, over two and a half decades later, this Pokémon card remains the most recognizable and indispensable collectible for enthusiasts worldwide. Consequently, the Base Set Shadowless Holo Charizard rightfully cements its position among the Top 10 Most Expensive Cards, a testament to its enduring legacy as the ultimate Pokémon TCG treasure.

2 Pikachu No.2 Silver Trophy

Pikachu No.2 Silver Trophy - Pokemon TCG
Source: Dicebreaker.com

Price: $444,000 / £356,426 / €406,726 / $609,234 CAD

The Pikachu Silver Trophy card exists in a limited quantity, with only 14 cards of its kind ever created. Remarkably, it claims the title of the second most expensive card of all time, surpassing the renowned Base Set Shadowless Holo Charizard.

Another example of it’s rarity, issued as the second-place prize for the Lizardon tournament from 1997 to 1998. The Pikachu No.2 Silver card holds historical significance as part of the inaugural national championship. Certainly one to remember with a colossal turnout event that attracted over 21,000 participants.

Since then, only a select few Pikachu Silver Trophy cards have undergone grading, and only one has achieved the coveted PSA 10 grade. Recently, this very card changed hands at an astounding $444,000, solidifying its status as one of the rarest and most valuable Pokemon Cards ever.

1 Pikachu Illustrator

Pikachu Illustrator -Pokemon TCG
Source: Card Collector

Price: $5,275,000 / £4,234,566 / €4,832,163 / $7,238,091 CAD

The Pikachu Illustrator clinches the title of the most expensive Pokemon Card ever with a staggering price tag of $5,275,000. This card is recognized as one of the rarest to ever grace the Pokemon universe. It was exclusively awarded to the winners of a 1997 illustration competition, a mere year after the release of the original base set.

Moreover, the Pikachu Illustrator card’s rarity is further underscored by the fact that only a handful have undergone official grading, solidifying its status as one of the most sought-after Pokemon Cards in history. However, its value soared to unprecedented heights with a groundbreaking sale in 2022.

Renowned YouTuber Logan Paul acquired a PSA 10 Pikachu Illustrator card for $4 million and a PSA 9 Pikachu Illustrator valued at $1.275 million. This sale, totaled in at an astounding $5.25 million. This historic sale earned the Pikachu Illustrator a Guinness World Record, easily establishing it as the rarest and most expensive Pokemon Card to date.

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