Top 15 Rarest and Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Of All Time
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Top 15 Rarest and Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Of All Time

This article was updated in October 2019. Enjoy!

In the beginning, Pokémon trading cards were made by Wizards of the Coast in the U.S. in 1999 but as the cards began to gain popularity, Pokémon 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 15 rarest Pokémon cards.

#15 Gold Star Espeon

This God Star Espeon card was originally part of the POP Series 5 promotional set of Pokemon cards. Members of the official Japanese “Daisuki Pokemon Fan Club” could exchange 50,000 fan club points for this special Espeon, making the Japanese print of this card extremely rare.

Gold Star Espeon

#14 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.

pokemon fullart ex card

#13 Pokemon Gold Star Cards

The first of many shiny Pokémon trading cards that sells today anywhere from $30 to $80. However, graded Gold Stars can be sold for as much as $150.

latios gold star card

#12 Pokémon 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.

pokemon shiny card

#11 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.

Southern Islands Card Set

#10 Shining Charizard

The Shining Charizard card was part of the Neo Destiny expansion pack and was the first shiny Pokemon that was featured on a Pokemon card. First-edition versions of this card have been known to fetch around $1000 on the second hand market.

Shining Charizard

#9 Tropical Mega Battle Cards

The Pokemon Tropical Mega Battle was a TCG tournament that took place every year between 1999 and 2001 in the Hawaiian city of Honolulu. As only 50 TCG players participated in the event each year, the promotional cards distributed at the tournament are some of the rarest out there! One Tropical Mega Battle Trainer Card depicting Psyduck was reportedly sold for $10,000.

Tropical Mega Battle Cards

#8 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.

Charizard First Edition

#7 Master’s Key

The Master’s Key card is a promotional card that was awarded to 36 lucky competitors that partook in the Japanese national TGC tournament in 2010. Due to its scarcity, this card has been known to be sell for up to $10,000.

Master's Key

#6 Snap Cards

The Snap Cards came from the Pokémon 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.

Squirtle Snap Card

#5 Kangaskhan Parent/Child Tournament Promo

These special promotional cards of Kangaskhan were awarded to elite players in the Parent/Child Mega Battle Tournament held in May 1998. Only ever distributed at this one-off Japanese event, this version of Kangaskhan is considered one of the original “Holy Grail” Pokemon TCG cards with copies of the card selling for up to $10,000!

Kangaskhan Parent/Child Tournament Promo

#4 Shining Charizard

The Shining Charizard card was part of the Neo Destiny expansion pack and was the first shiny Pokemon that was featured on a Pokemon card. First-edition versions of this card have been known to fetch around $1000 on the second hand market.

Shining Charizard

#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.

Raichu Prerelease Card

#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.

pokemon-trainer card

#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 Pokémon.” 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 Pokémon TCG Blog which is not putting it in circulation.

Pikachu-Illustrator

Top 15 Rarest and Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Of All Time

  1. Pikachu Illustrator Cards
  2. Numbers 1, 2, 3 Trainer Cards
  3. Pre-Release Raichu Cards
  4. Shining Charizard
  5. Kangaskhan Parent/Child Tournament Promo
  6. Snap Cards
  7. Master’s Key
  8. Charizard First Edition
  9. Tropical Mega Battle Cards
  10. Shining Charizard
  11. Southern Islands Card Set
  12. Pokémon Shining Cards
  13. Pokemon Gold Star Cards
  14. Pokemon Full Art EX Cards
  15. Gold Star Espeon

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! If you’re also a fan of Yu-Gi-Oh! then check out our top 10 rarest and most expensive Yu-Gi-Oh! cards article!