In the beginning, Pokemon trading cards were made by Wizards of the Coast in the U.S. in 1999 but as the cards began to gain popularity, Pokemon Company decided to publish the cards themselves. The following year, the Game Boy trading card game was launched and took the trading game to a whole new dimension and global success. This eventually led to trading card collectibles and the top 10 rarest Pokemon cards.
#10 Pokemon Full Art EX Cards
Not all Full Art EX Cards are worth a lot of money or hard to find but there are a few like the Mew EX and the Lugia EX cards that are now being sold for as much $26 and the Diox (Deoxys) EX card that has sold for over $37.
#9 Pokemon Gold Star Cards
The first of many shiny Pokemon trading cards that sells today anywhere from $30 to $80. However, graded Gold Stars can be sold for as much as $150.
#8 Pokemon Shining Cards
Released with the Gen 2 and after the Gold and Silver sets, the Shining Cards, first edition in mint condition will sell for over $150 each. They were once valued at $300 until the cards became more easily available in the US.
#7 Southern Islands Card Set
For this set to be valuable, it has to be an original with its collectible folder, not the promo cards. There were only 18 cards (2 sets of 9) printed which makes them hard to find and known as Rainbow and Tropical Island sets. They are being sold for minimum $150 and can go as high as $300 per card.
#6 Charizard First Edition
As long as it is first edition and graded 9 or higher, it will sell for over $300. It was a promo card in 1998 for the “Trade Please” campaign. A first edition in mint condition can sell for as high as $700.
# 5 Snap Cards
The Snap Cards came from the Pokemon Snap 64 DD Nintendo game. It was released in 1999 and one of the promotions was to invite anyone to take snapshots where winners would have their work printed acknowledging them as the artist on the trading card. The highest paid for a Snap Card was about 11,000 pounds although most sell for much less.
#4 Tropical Mega Battle 2001
These rare Pokemon trading cards came out in Hawaii for a special occasion. There were only 12 made and extremely hard to find. In mint condition, you can buy them for a high $10,000 each. On the low side, it would be sold for $5,000!
#3 Pre-Release Raichu Cards
One of the rarest Pokemon trading cards is the Pre-Release Raichu cards because only 10 to 15 cards are available worldwide. One card would be worth over $10,000.
#2 Numbers 1, 2, 3 Trainer Cards
These cards were released for the World Finals TCG. There was one card released per year and the value increased with the age of the card. If you had this card, you were given entry to the following year’s world championships.
#1 Pikachu Illustrator Cards
Made in 1998 and was recently being sold on eBay for $100,000. The reason for the high price is because only 4 exist in the world. They are Japan-released cards and described as the “Holy Grail of Pokemon.” The card not in mint condition will still sell for a minimum of $50,000 while an ungraded original will sell for $20,000. At the moment only 5 cards exist with the 6th belonging to the Pokemon TCG Blog which is not putting it in circulation.
There’s a whole lot more to know about Pokemon and we’ve got you covered. Check out our article English vs. Japanese Pokemon Cards to find out which is best!
Top 10 Rarest and Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Ranking
- Pikachu Illustrator Cards
- Numbers 1, 2, 3 Trainer Cards
- Pre-Release Raichu Cards
- Tropical Mega Battle 2001
- Pokemon Snap Cards
- Charizard First Edition
- Southern Islands Card Set
- Pokemon Shining Cards
- Pokemon Gold Star Cards
- Pokemon Full Art EX Cards