Start Investing

The Top 15 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards

Photo by I and J Photography

Get Our Weekly Newsletter

You're on the list!

Look out for Otis emails in your inbox every week. Download the app to start investing now.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
The Top 15 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards
Luke Winkie

If you’re reading this, it’s probably not news that since the beginning of the pandemic, rare Pokémon cards have seen a huge increase in demand. And while the market has cooled a little of late, prices for most of the top cards remain far above their levels from 18 months ago. 


But, if you're a newcomer to this field and can't yet tell your Bulbasaurs from your Squirtles, it can be difficult to clearly identify the trends in this market. Don't worry, we're here to help. Below you'll see a list of the 15 most expensive, and often some of the rarest, Pokémon cards in the hobby, which ideally will offer a clear understanding of where the money tends to concentrate in this universe. As you might guess, the closer we get to the '90s, the better.


(1) 1999 Pokémon Game #4 Charizard Holo, 1st Edition — $399,750



We've already written about how Charizard's majesty shines over the Pokémon hobby, so unsurprisingly, the dragon also has one of the most expensive and rarest card on this list. The "Shadowless Charizard" refers to a printing error in the original Pokémon TCG run. Certain Charizards left the distribution site without a telltale floating drop-shadow behind the border. Cards bearing this mark are extremely rare, which is why the price is capable of getting higher than every other option on the market. We all serve Charizard, at the end of the day.


(2) 1998 Pokémon Japanese Promo Holo Illustrator Pikachu — $375,000



A rule of thumb in collecting; if a promotional card is released into circulation — particularly at the earliest era of a card game's lifecycle — it will generally be highly desirable. That is the case with the humble Pokémon Illustrator, which was a prize for the competitors in a Japan-only "Illustrator" contest. Kids scribbled up their own crayon-drawn interpretations of their favorite characters in the universe. Only 39 of these cards exist, making them insanely rare and a forever the holy grail among investors.


(3) Pokémon Blastoise #009/165R Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Holo (Wizards of the Coast, 1998) — $360,000



The "backless" in the name here refers to the opposite edge of the card. In Wizards of the Coast initial test printing of Pokémon cards, certain Blastoise's were left without the usual logo or insignia on its rear. A layman might think that it's a bootleg, rather than one of the rarest and most expensive cards in the whole hobby.


(4) 2017 P.M. SM Black Star #TPCi01 Tsunekazu Ishihara Signed Pokémon GX Promo Card — $247,230



Most of the cards on this list were printed back in the '90s, but this one — featuring Pokémon president Tsunekazu Ishihara — emerged on the market back in 2017. As you might expect, the Black Star Ishihara isn't tournament legal (you won't find him trading blows with a Venasaur anytime soon). Instead, it was simply printed to celebrate the man's 60th birthday. But the card's quirkiness, and sheer scarcity, speaks for itself. Not just any Black Star crosses the quarter of a million dollar threshold, however. The ones that are valued the highest bear Ishihara's signature.


(5) Pokémon Blastoise #009/165R Test Print "Gold Border" Foil (Wizards of the Coast, 1998) — $216,000


This is another early Pokémon card from Wizards of the Coast's initial test print run to bring the game to western shores. But this particular Blastoise has the additional quirk of sporting a Magic The Gathering cardback. Imagine slapping down a Blastoise in the middle of a Magic game! 


(6) 1998 Pokémon Japanese Promo Kangaskhan-Holo Family Event Trophy Card #115 — $150,100



This holographic limited-edition Kangaskhan has an extremely charming origin story. In the late '90s, the Pokémon Company put on an event called the "Parent/Child Mega Battle," where kids teamed up with their mothers or fathers and battled each other for true familial supremacy. Winners received this promo card as a trophy, making it one of the rarest pieces of cardboard ever to bear the Pokémon name. This Kangaskhan rarely comes up for auction, but when it does, expect to pay a pretty penny.


(7) 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia — $144,300



Lugia is the rare Pokémon to have a devout fandom without first being introduced in the original 150. No, Lugia's first appearance came as the marquee figure on the cover of Pokémon Silver, one of the follow-ups to Pokémon Red and Blue, and its $144,300 price tag tells you that it can compete with the big boys in the trade. Its popularity is possibly also driven by the 1999 film, Pokémon: The Movie 2000.


(8) 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer — $110,100


The No. 2 Trainer was awarded to winners at the 2006 Pokémon World Championship, and according to experts, only three of these were ever handed out. That is incredible scarcity, which is part of the reason why this relatively young 15-year old card commands such a high price.


(9) 1999 Pokémon Super Secret Battle "No. 1 Trainer" Trainer Promo Holo — $90,000



Are you sensing a theme yet? The Super Secret Battle trainer card served as a reward to a lucky group of players invited to the "Super Secret Battle" in 1999. Decades later, in a world where the Pokémon hobby has accrued unprecedented dividends, this is now one of the most hotly sought-after relics in auction houses all over the world.


(10) 2005 Pokémon Japanese Play Promo 70,000 Pts Holo Umbreon Gold Star #26 — $70,000



The Pokémon Company embraced some sports card thinking in the mid-2000s. Printers sorted a veritable golden ticket into a smattering of lucky booster packs — Pokémon emblazoned with a star next to their name, designating that the paperboard features alternative artwork and were limited to an incredibly small circulation number. This Umbreon is one of those cards, and it represents one of the few relics released after Pokémon's late-'90s heyday capable of taking down a five figure auction cost.


(11) 1998 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Card — $66,100


Ah, Magikarp. The most useless Pokémon of all time has earned something of a cult following over the years, so it's nice to see the fish recognized on this list. This card was given out to fans who scored well on something called the "Tamamushi University Hyper Test" — which we imagine was some sort of Pokémon quiz. Owning this particular Magikarp can earn you a lot of money, and also prove your scholastic bona fides.


(12) 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind — $65,100


The deeper we get into this list, the more it continues to become clear that some of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in the world were originally printed as a reward for some long-forgotten '90s tournament. That is again the case for Tropical Wind, which entered the market through the "Tropical Mega Battle" in Hawaii back in 1999. Who even knows how many of these cards survived to this day?


(13) 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle No. 2 Trainer $50,300


Yep, another card that was handed out to the top finishers of a Pokémon tournament. This one was called the Tropical Mega Battle, and it went down in — where else? — Hawaii in 1999.


(13) 1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Blastoise #2 — $45,100

This Blastoise might not have a Magic The Gathering cardback, but it does lack a drop-shadow; a printing error fetishized by collectors who archive Pokémon's primordial era. $45,100 honestly might be a bargain.


(14) 2005 Pokémon Ex Deoxys Gold Star Holo Rayquaza #107 — $45,100


This Rayquaza is another Gold Star card, similar to the Umbreon we spoke about earlier. With a PSA-certified Gem Mint status, nobody should be surprised by the $45,100 pricepoint.


(15) 1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Chansey #3 — $36,877



As we mentioned before, Pokémon cards that lack a shadow are ultra rare and verifiably from the earliest sets to hit American store shelves. Chauncey might not be as well-known as Charizard, but it's still an iconic card, and the $36,877 hammer price reflects that.


***


Otis has several 1999 1st edition holo Pokémon cards available for investment all graded PSA 10, including: Charizard, Blastoise, Mewtwo, and Raichu


OTIS WEALTH, INC. (“OTIS”) OPERATES THE WITHOTIS.COM WEBSITE (THE “SITE”) AND A MOBILE APP-BASED PLATFORM (THE “APP”), AND IS NOT A BROKER-DEALER OR INVESTMENT ADVISER. Dalmore Group LLC, member FINRA and SIPC, is the broker-dealer of record for Otis Wealth, Inc., an issuer direct offering. YOU CAN REVIEW THE BROKERCHECK FOR DALMORE HERE. AN UP-TO-DATE DALMORE FORM CRS IS AVAILABLE HERE.

YOU SHOULD SPEAK WITH YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR, ACCOUNTANT AND/OR ATTORNEY WHEN EVALUATING ANY OFFERING. NEITHER OTIS, ITS AFFILIATED ISSUERS NOR DALMORE MAKES ANY RECOMMENDATIONS OR PROVIDES ADVICE ABOUT INVESTMENTS. THE SITE AND THE APP MAY MAKE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THESE STATEMENTS BUT SHOULD CAREFULLY EVALUATE THE OFFERING MATERIALS IN ASSESSING ANY INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY, INCLUDING THE COMPLETE SET OF RISK FACTORS THAT ARE PROVIDED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

OTIS GALLERY LLC (“GALLERY”) AND OTIS COLLECTION LLC (“COLLECTION”) ARE CONDUCTING PUBLIC OFFERINGS PURSUANT TO REGULATION A AND PRIVATE OFFERINGS PURSUANT TO REGULATION D UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933, AS AMENDED, THROUGH THE APP. THE OFFERING CIRCULAR FOR GALLERY CAN BE FOUND HERE, AND THE OFFERING CIRCULAR FOR COLLECTION CAN BE FOUND HERE. THE PRIVATE PLACEMENT MEMORANDUM FOR ANY OFFERING CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO REGULATION D HAS BEEN OR WILL BE, AS APPLICABLE, DISTRIBUTED DIRECTLY TO INVESTORS. PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. INVESTMENTS SUCH AS THOSE ON THE OTIS PLATFORM ARE SPECULATIVE AND INVOLVE SUBSTANTIAL RISKS TO CONSIDER BEFORE INVESTING, OUTLINED IN THE RESPECTIVE OFFERING MATERIALS AND INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ILLIQUIDITY, LACK OF DIVERSIFICATION AND COMPLETE LOSS OF CAPITAL. KEY RISKS INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO, LIMITED OPERATING HISTORY, LIMITED DIVERSIFICATION, RISK OF ASSET DAMAGE OR THEFT AND LACK OF VOTING RIGHTS. ALSO, THE ADVERSE ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ARE UNKNOWN AND COULD MATERIALLY IMPACT THIS INVESTMENT. AN INVESTMENT IN AN OFFERING CONSTITUTES ONLY AN INVESTMENT IN A PARTICULAR SERIES AND NOT IN OTIS, GALLERY, COLLECTION OR THE UNDERLYING ASSET(S). INVESTORS SHOULD CAREFULLY REVIEW THE RISKS LOCATED IN THE RESPECTIVE OFFERING MATERIALS FOR A MORE COMPREHENSIVE DISCUSSION OF RISK.

INVESTMENT OVERVIEWS CONTAINED HEREIN CONTAIN SUMMARIES OF THE PURPOSE AND THE PRINCIPAL BUSINESS TERMS OF THE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES. SUCH SUMMARIES ARE INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DO NOT PURPORT TO BE COMPLETE, AND EACH IS QUALIFIED IN ITS ENTIRETY BY REFERENCE TO THE MORE-DETAILED DISCUSSIONS CONTAINED IN THE RESPECTIVE OFFERING CIRCULAR FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (“SEC”) OR OTHER OFFERING MATERIALS RELATING TO SUCH INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY.

FROM TIME TO TIME, AFFILIATES OF OTIS WILL SEEK TO QUALIFY ADDITIONAL SECURITIES UNDER REGULATION A. FOR OFFERINGS THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN QUALIFIED, NO MONEY OR OTHER CONSIDERATION IS BEING SOLICITED AND, IF SENT IN RESPONSE, WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. NO OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES CAN BE ACCEPTED, AND NO PART OF THE PURCHASE PRICE CAN BE RECEIVED, UNTIL AN OFFERING STATEMENT FILED WITH THE SEC HAS BEEN QUALIFIED BY THE SEC OR UNLESS AS STATED IN THE OFFERING MATERIALS RELATING TO AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY, AS APPLICABLE. ANY SUCH OFFER MAY BE WITHDRAWN OR REVOKED, WITHOUT OBLIGATION OR COMMITMENT OF ANY KIND, AT ANY TIME BEFORE NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE GIVEN AFTER THE DATE OF QUALIFICATION BY THE SEC OR AS STATED IN THE OFFERING MATERIALS RELATING TO AN INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY, AS APPLICABLE. AN INDICATION OF INTEREST INVOLVES NO OBLIGATION OR COMMITMENT OF ANY KIND.

OTIS DOES NOT OFFER REFUNDS AFTER AN INVESTMENT HAS BEEN MADE. PLEASE REVIEW THE RELEVANT OFFERING MATERIALS AND SUBSCRIPTION DOCUMENTATION FOR MORE INFORMATION.

AN ACTIVE TRADING MARKET FOR ANY SERIES OF GALLERY OR COLLECTION INTERESTS MAY NOT DEVELOP OR BE SUSTAINED. IF AN ACTIVE PUBLIC TRADING MARKET FOR GALLERY OR COLLECTION INTERESTS DOES NOT DEVELOP OR IS NOT SUSTAINED, IT MAY BE DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO RESELL YOUR INTERESTS AT ANY PRICE. EVEN IF AN ACTIVE MARKET DOES DEVELOP, THE MARKET PRICE COULD DECLINE BELOW THE AMOUNT YOU PAID FOR YOUR INTERESTS. THERE IS NO ASSURANCE THAT THE OTIS PLATFORM WILL PROVIDE AN ACTIVE MARKET FOR RESALES OF GALLERY OR COLLECTION INTERESTS. FURTHER, WITHOUT THE OTIS PLATFORM, IT MAY BE DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO DISPOSE OF YOUR INTERESTS. IF THE MARKET DEVELOPS FOR ANY SERIES OF GALLERY AND/OR OTIS COLLECTION INTERESTS, THE MARKET PRICE OF SUCH INTERESTS COULD FLUCTUATE SIGNIFICANTLY FOR MANY REASONS, INCLUDING REASONS UNRELATED TO PERFORMANCE, THE UNDERLYING ASSETS OR ANY SERIES, SUCH AS REPORTS BY INDUSTRY ANALYSTS, INVESTOR PERCEPTIONS OR ANNOUNCEMENTS BY COMPETITORS REGARDING THEIR OWN PERFORMANCE, AS WELL AS GENERAL ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRY CONDITIONS.