What is the most expensive Pokemon card | The 11 Most Expensive Pokémon Cards Ever

What is the most expensive pokemon card? Countless rare Pokémon cards have been printed in the 27-year history of the franchise, but only the rarest Pokémon cards command the kinds of prices that would make Team Rocket blush.

When collectors trade or sell these cards, we often never hear about it—nobody wants to share how much they paid or received, because that information might impact future deals. That said, a few high-end transactions have become public knowledge, and these Pokémon card values are staggering.

These cards hold the record for the most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold.

Pokémon World Championships No. 2 Trainer Promo (2006)Grade: PSA 9.

  • Month Sold: February 2021.
  • Venue: PWCC.
  • Price: $110,100.

This card was awarded to finalists in the 2006 Pokémon World Championships, which were held in Anaheim, California. Players had to survive three days of tournament play, and it’s thought that only three copies were ever given out. This is also the only copy that’s ever been graded by PSA.

It’s actually quite fortunate that we have this sales datapoint for this card, because trophy cards like these almost always are sold in private transactions.

Were that not the case, there’s a very good chance this list would be filled with trophy cards. Being a No.2 Trainer from 2006 graded in a PSA 9, I would argue this isn’t even all that desirable of a trophy card. Despite that, it managed to sell for $110,100 on PWCC in February 2021.

No.2 Trainer Toshiyuki Yamaguchi (2000)

  • Grade: CGC 8.
  • Month Sold: July 2023.
  • Venue: Heritage Auctions.
  • Price: $137,500.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this card? Despite being #10 on this list, No.2 Trainer Toshiyuki Yamaguchi is the only card here that is truly one of a kind.

It was awarded to Toshiyuki Yamguchi in 2000 after attaining second place in the “World Summer Challenge Secret Super Battle-Best In Japan.”

A single card was given to each of the first, second, and third place winners of the event. What makes this Pokémon card so unique is that it actually features the trainer.

Until Heritage Auctions acquired this card, no images of it had ever surfaced. I was actually lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this and several of the other cards on this list at Card Party last month:

Despite only being a CGC 8, this card sold for $137,500 on July 7, 2023. If I had my way, this card would be a lot higher on the list. It’s just so… perfect.

what is the most expensive pokemon card

Neo Genesis 1st Edition Lugia (2000)

  • Grade: BGS 10.
  • Month Sold: May 2021.
  • Venue: PWCC.
  • Price: $144,300.

This BGS 10 1st edition Neo Genesis Lugia sold for $144,300 at a PWCC audition in May 2021. Beckett is known to grade harsher than PSA (at least when it comes to high grades), in part because they include 9.5’s in their grading scale.

For reference, at the time of sale there were only three BGS 10 copies of this card, whereas there were 41 PSA 10 copies. This is reflected in the price as well. The prior record for this card went to a PSA 10 copy sold in 2020 for $129,000.

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Unfortunately for those buyers, Neo Genesis 1st Edition Lugia has come down a lot in price. There’s currently one available for $80,000 or best offer available on eBay.

Given that it’s still sitting there, the card is likely worth even less now. This card is a great example of how people can buy into the hype. Back when this card first sold for over $100k, so many people started buying it up, whether to try to get a 10, or in the hopes they could get a premium for their lower grades due to the record sale.

Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer (1999)

  • Grade: PSA 10.
  • Month Sold: September 2022.
  • Venue: Heritage Auctions.
  • Price: $156,000.

This card both looks extremely unique, and also has a very unique back story. It was awarded to seven regional winners of the Super Secret Battle tournament.

The card’s text reads, “The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament’s champion is recognized here, and this honor is praised. By presenting this card, you may gain preferential entry into the Secret Super Battle.” The location of the tournament was only revealed upon winning one of these No. 1 Trainer cards. The finals took place in Tokyo on August 22, 1999.

Since there were only seven regional winners, it is assumed that there are only seven copies of this card in existence. Interestingly, PSA has a total population of eight for this card, with six of those being PSA 10s, with the other two being PSA 9s. Most likely, someone resubmitted their copy in an attempt to get a 10.

This card is one of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time. The most recent public sale of this card was for $156,000 in September 2022 from Heritage Auctions.

Prior to that, the last public sale of this card was in 2020 for $90,000, so it’s actually appreciated substantially in the past few years. (And I certainly wouldn’t say that about all the cards on this list!)

Family Event Trophy Kangaskhan (1998)

  • Grade: PSA 10.
  • Month Sold: July 2023.
  • Venue: Heritage Auctions.
  • Price: $175,000.

This adorable Kangaskhan has quite a wholesome backstory. Released in May 1998, it could only be obtained in the Parent/Child Mega Battle tournament in Japan. It was awarded to parent and children teams who attained a certain amount of wins.

It also contains a very special set symbol on the lower right of the art box. It was one of a very few, very early, promotional Pokémon cards to feature the original Pocket Monsters Trading Card Gamelogo as its set symbol.

Many of the cards possessing this symbol are among the rarest Pokémon cards in the hobby. So, in the slim chance you encounter this symbol in the wild, don’t skip over it!

It’s also worth noting that while PSA has the value of this card listed at ~$225,000, it’s never actually had a recorded sale at that price! Many sites will use that higher number for the pricing, but the highest ever recorded sale of this card in a PSA 10 actually just occurred this past week, which was for $175,000 on Heritage Auctions.

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Currently there’s also a copy sitting at $400,000 OBO on eBay, but that listing was last updated in December, 2022, so it’s been sitting around for a while.

Test Print Blastoise Gold Border (1998)

  • Grade: CGC 6.5.
  • Month Sold: July 2021.
  • Venue: Heritage Auctions.
  • Price: $216,000.

While this card may look fake to some, it is one of the rarest and oldest Pokémon cards. This is considered one of the earliest attempts by WotC to produce English Pokémon cards.

It’s notable for its odd font and its back, which is the same as for Magic: The Gathering cards. It also has a distinctive gold border around the art box, a foil front, and sharp edges.

Given the unique nature of these cards, it was difficult to prove they were even real. CGC employed a panel of experts and “advanced forensic technology” to prove the cards were real.

Another compelling piece of evidence was the emergence of a test sheet containing the Blastoise and other MTG cards:

I highly recommend this blog post by CGC discussing the origin story in more depth.

This Test Print Blastoise is incredibly rare, and only five have ever been graded by CGC. Despite only being a 6.5, this card sold for $216,000 in July of 2021. In fact, a second copy in the same grade also sold for the exact same price in November 2021.

Tsunekazu Ishihara Signed Promo (2017)

Grade: PSA 7 (Autograph PSA 9)

Month Sold: April 2021.

Venue: Goldin Auctions.

Price: $247,230.

This was a promotional card released in 2017 for the birthday of the then-60-year old founder and president of Pokémon, Tsunekazu Ishihara. It was distributed to Pokémon employees. We don’t know for certain how many copies were printed, but it currently has a total population of 10 from PSA and an additional 12 from CGC.

It’s certainly an outlier on this list, considering that its value comes primarily from the creator’s signature. The signature itself is graded a 9, and the card is only a PSA 7! For reference, a PSA 10 copy sold in 2020 for just $100,000, and that’s only a pop one! I imagine they are really regretting not asking their boss to sign their copy of the card. It’s also a bit ironic that it seems the print quality on this card isn’t very good!

I’m not going to lie, looking at this card makes me slightly uncomfortable. While it definitely has a cool origin, it’s also giving me uncanny valley vibes.

Trophy Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Bronze (1997)

  • Grade: PSA 8
  • Month Sold: April 2023.
  • Venue: Heritage Auctions.
  • Price: $300,000.
  • Source: Heritage Auctions

If only the No. 3 Trainer was in the No. 3 spot on this list! This extremely cute Pikachu trophy card was only obtainable in the first ever Pokémon tournament.

Held in June 1997 in Chiba Japan, only four third-place winners from each event received a copy. It also granted entry to the Lizardon Mega Battle Tournament, which is considered the first official National Championships for Pokémon.

This card is one of the most recent additions to this list—a PSA 8 sold for $300,000 at Heritage Auctions on April 21, 2023, instantly making it one of the most valuable Pokémon cards in the world. Just imagine how much the No.1 Trainer from this tournament must be worth.

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Commissioned Presentation Blastoise Galaxy Star Holo (1998)

Grade: CGC 8.5

Month Sold: January 2021.

Venue: Heritage Auctions.

Price: $360,000.

While there are certainly some one-of-a-kind Pokémon cards… how many two-of-a-kind cards can you name? That’s exactly what you’re looking at here. This card is often confused with the MTG-backed Blastoise (which is also incredibly valuable and rare) because the front is quite similar.

Both also have the same wacky Comic Sans-esque font going for them. However, this Blastoise is rarer as it features the same holofoil pattern as seen in Base Set, and has an entirely blank back. There were also only two copies ever printed, and the other one has never surfaced!

This is one of those legendary Pokémon cards that just makes me feel excited. Commissioned Presentation Blastoise was almost lost to the sands of time.

It was only ever featured in one interview which has now been lost. One other similar Pokémon card was created for international purposes, but as of now, its location remains a mystery. It makes you wonder just how many more of these promotional and test cards exist out there that we’re never seen yet.

Some of these were intended to be public information, while others were from sneaky employees rescuing test cards that would otherwise have been destroyed.

A great example of this are the “For Position Only” (FPO) cards. Packed in Legendary Collection collection boosters, but with only five cards inside.

They were printed prior to the release of the Expedition E-reader set. They were meant to be shredded, but one WotC employee rescued them (a hero in my eyes, but perhaps slightly illegal?).

what is the most expensive pokemon card

First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard #4 (1999)

  • Grade: PSA 10
  • Month Sold: March 2022.
  • Venue: PWCC.
  • Price: $420,000.
  • Source: PWCC

Of course, there had to be a Charizard on this list. This is the OG (English) Charizard Pokémon card, and despite there being 124 PSA 10 copies, and nearly 4,000 total graded, it last sold for $420,000 at auction on PWCC.

It’s worth noting that this card is no longer worth $420,000. There is a buy-it-now listing with best offers enabled on PWCC right now listed for the same price. And it’s been sitting on PWCC since October 2022.

Even worse, there’s a listing for $295,000 on eBay, with best offers enabled. Imagine losing around the value of a house on one Pokémon card. Ouch.

Illustrator Pikachu (1998)

  • Grade: PSA 10
  • Month Sold: March 2022.
  • Venue: Private Sale.
  • Price: $5,275,000.

A truly one-of-a-kind card, the population 1 PSA 10 Illustrator Pikachu was bought by YouTube influencer Logan Paul in 2022 at a valuation of $5.275 million dollars, making it the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. More specifically, he paid $4 million in cash plus a PSA 9 Illustrator Pikachu he previously owned.

The card was released in 1998 as a promotional card for Corocoro magazine, which is known for many iconic promos throughout Pokémon history. Another notable card from Corocoro is the iconic Shining Mew.

Oddly enough, Corocoro also released a jumbo version of the Base Set Charizard for the April 2000 edition. This by itself isn’t weird, the weird part is that it was printed in English. Kind of strange for a Japanese magazine, right?

But back to the Illustrator Pikachu, it’s debatable whether this card would actually sell for anywhere near the $5.25 million price tag Logan Paul paid for it. After all, it was a publicity stunt for “Liquid Marketplace” where you can “co-own” the card. Think NFTs.

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