The Top Most Expensive Pokemon Cards in 2023
So your kid has traded in his toy trains and cars for Pokémon cards but you don’t know what he’s talking about half the time.
What is Pokémon? What’s a booster pack? What’s a trainer? And who is this Pikachu fellow he’s always mentioning? Your kid will probably always be one step ahead of you in his Pokémon knowledge, but this guide is a good start.
What are Pokemon Cards?
Pokémon cards have been a running craze since they first appeared in the tall grass in the 1990s, and while the excitement around them has risen and fallen, it has never gone away.
Rare, expensive, valuable, unique, or irreplaceable cards have been a big part of that. From the legendary allure of the shiny Charizard, to cards that are only given to the best players, there are some Pokémon cards that are worth more than you could imagine.
That could be the reason why some people are getting too excited about them. Seriously guys, make sure the game continues to be fun. Otherwise, check out the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards to ever hit the market below.
Different Types Of Pokemon Cards:
In the Pokémon universe, there are three different categories of cards that you’ll find in any given deck: Pokémon character cards, Energy cards and Trainer cards.
- CHARACTER CARDS
Each Pokémon has a type (there are 11 in the trading card game), such as Fire, Water, Psychic, Metal, or Dragon. Each Pokémon card will also indicate how “evolved” the character is, either in its basic form, at stage one or stage two, in the upper left corner.
Those shiny cards your kids probably want the most are Legendary Pokémon. They do not evolve and are some of the most powerful cards in the trading card game, and are also only found in booster packs.
- ENERGY CARDS
These cards are necessary to power up your Pokémon throughout the game, and you will always find basic Energy cards in any pack you buy. There are also Special Energy cards that give a different kind of boost, depending on your type of Pokémon.
- TRAINER CARDS
These are cards you use for the items, supporters and stadiums you can use during a battle. Any special rules on these cards are indicated at the bottom.
What are you supposed to do with Pokemon cards?
Younger kids (say, JK through first grade) tend to collect and trade cards. As they learn to read, they may also want to play the trading card game. The objective of collecting the cards is to build a powerful deck of 60 that will help you win battles against other trainers.
But your child may be interested in collecting the cards that he likes best or that he considers most valuable. Each pack of cards is different, so if your child doesn’t have any cards (or just a pair), you may want to start with a themed deck – a 60-card pack that comes in a small cardboard or metal box tin.
Themed decks also come with a coin and cardboard markers that can be used in-game to decide which player goes first or when damage is counted, but you can also use the die instead. The cards also come in envelopes of 10, in cans or blisters.
New cards are released every time a new season of the television show comes out; your child may refer to this as a new “generation” or “series.” The new series usually coincides with the latest video game titles. Right now, the trading card game is in its eighth generation, so all newer card collections will say “Sword & Shield” on the box.
Top 10 Most Valuable Pokémon TCG Cards
1. BASE SET CHARIZARD (SHADOWLESS HOLO) – $2032
Of course, there is no Pokémon card more sought after than a Shadowless Base Set Charizard. This is the one that makes the news regularly, with some auctions running into the hundreds of thousands for a verified pristine copy.
There are two printed versions of the cards without shadows: the first editions can be identified by the first edition symbol below the lower left corner of the illustration, while the second editions, although still without shadows, do not have the same mark.
While first editions can sell for thousands more than second editions, their value depends more on the quality and PSA rating of the card. The ones you see in the news are typically PSA 9 or 10, but most don’t typically get that rating, which means most sell for a lot less.
Still, ‘significantly less’ in this context still means nearly $ 500 more than the second most valuable Pokémon card. If you find this in your collection, you’re done.
2. DRAGON FRONTIERS CHARIZARD STAR (DELTA SPECIES) – $1500
Another now-retired special type of Pokémon is the Delta Species. It was actually part of an exclusive story set in the TCG-only Holon region, as scientists used Delta radiation to hunt down Mew. Delta Species Pokémon are type-shifted, giving this Charizard a Dark type over its usual Fire.
On top of that, it’s also a Star Pokémon, meaning you have a Shiny Black Charizard on a black card template for its Dark type. It’s no surprise why this one is so popular.
3. EX DEOXYS RAYQUAZA STAR – $961.46
It’s kind of nice to see this card on the list for me, as EX Deoxys was one of the last sets I remember buying before going on a Pokémon TCG hiatus.
Released in 2005, EX Deoxys continued the trend of ‘Star’ Pokémon, cards which depicted Shiny Pokémon instead of their usual coloration. While in recent years Shiny Pokémon have become a bit more common (especially in Shining Fates), at the time they were a massive deal, which is why Rayquaza Star is worth almost $1000.
4. BASE SET SHADOWLESS BLASTOISE (HOLO) – $797.99
Okay, maybe not everything is a Charizard. This is the first appearance of a Shadowless Base Set card in this list, and it’s the water-type Blastoise raking in the big bucks. Much like Charizard, it’s important to be certain that what you have is a shadowless holo Blastoise, as one with the drop shadow is significantly less at ‘just’ $150.
To be entirely honest, I feel bad for Venusaur. The grass-type starter Pokémon are always my favorite, but it doesn’t even make this list!
5. PLASMA STORM CHARIZARD – $572.47
From 2013, Plasma Storm was eighth Black & White expansion. In the far-flung Unova region, a land full of exclusive and unique Pokémon. Charizard is the most valuable card. While I do question The Pokémon Company’s fixation on putting Charizard in every set, I do really dig the art on this one.
6. BASE SET CHARIZARD (HOLO) – $566.29
Base Set Charizard is probably the most famous Pokémon card in the world at the moment, and so you may be surprised to see it only be the fifth card on this list. The reason for that is the difference between A Base Set Charizard and a Shadowless Base Set Charizard.
Shadowless Base Set cards can be identified by the lack of a dropshadow around the art frame, and signify it was in the very first print run of the TCG. Ones with shadows, while still highly valuable, are worth significantly less. In the context of Pokémon cards, ‘holo’ simply means a card with glittery foil finish on the art.
7. SHINING FATES CHARIZARD VMAX – $510
The newest card on this list, Shining Fates only launched last month, and brought with it a whole load of Shiny Pokémon. While there are a fair few cards in the set worth a decent amount of money, it is hardly surprising to see Charizard’s full-art Shiny treatment take the top spot.
8. FIRERED & LEAFGREEN CHARIZARD EX – $500
The return to Kanta in the GameBoy Advance era also saw the TCG follow suit, with a set entirely featuring Pokémon from the original 151. To give it that Advance generation flair, a number of Pokémon also received an ex form, a new feature that was first introduced in EX Ruby & Sapphire. Of course, the #1 card was Charizard ex.
9. AQUAPOLIS LUGIA – $490
Aquapolis came from that weird e-Card era of the Pokémon Trading Card game, where cards could be scanned into the e-Reader peripheral for the Gameboy Advance.
While the whole thing was a total failure (the e-Reader was never even released in Europe, yet the cards were…), some of the cards from that time are still pretty valuable. Lugia (also known as ‘Crystal Lugia’, due to its Crystal Type ability) is the most expensive card from Aquapolis, coming in at around $490-$500.
10. STORMFRONT CHARIZARD – $489.46
Prepare to see a lot of Charizard on this list. As the series’ most popular Pokémon, it appears on almost all of the cards here in some form or another.
Stormfront was released in 2008 under the Diamond & Pearl umbrella. While not one of the set’s many rare Lv.X Pokémon, Charizard was still a highly coveted Secret Rare, putting him as the most valuable card from the entire set.
Have any other Pokemon cards sold for over $100,000?
Yes, a handful of extremely rare Pokemon cards have sold for over $100,000 at auction. These include a 1st edition shadowless holographic Charizard that sold for $183,812 and a Pikachu Illustrator promo card that sold for $375,000.
Are Pokemon cards worthless?
But the reality is that the vast majority of Pokemon cards are worth a few bucks each at most. And when you factor in eBay’s cut and the cost it would take to individually list, sell and ship each of those cards, the value in selling them probably doesn’t make it worth it.
Why are Pokemon cards banned?
At Racine’s Johnson Elementary, Principal Elizabeth Motley said she decided to ban the cards after problems surfaced during summer school. Kids were trading their Pokemon cards and then wanted them back. “Parents had to come and separate the cards,” she said.
What is the rarest sword Pokemon?
Dreepy is probably the rarest Pokémon in Pokémon Sword and Shield because it only spawns in a single place under certain weather conditions. This new generation pseudo-legendary dragon is only found in the Lake of Outrage during overcast, heavy fog, or thunderstorm weather.
Do misprinted pokemon cards have value?
Yes, misprinted cards and cards with errors can have more value to collectors. However, condition remains essential, and the misprint has to be rare/unique enough to warrant premium value.
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