Top 5 most valuable Pokémon cards ever sold

By H&T Pawnbrokers Tue, Aug 02, 2022
It's been a fantastic start of the year for Pokémon fans. Not only has the latest addition to the video game series, Pokémon Legends: Arceus, been a hit with regular players, but the franchise was recently celebrated on Pokémon Day on 27th February.

In the late 90s, the Pokémon Trading Card Game was launched and it took the world by storm. In fact, The Pokémon Company still sell billions of these collectable cards per year. To celebrate the success of the franchise, we've put together a list of some of the most rare and valuable Pokémon cards to date.

Why are Pokémon cards so valuable?

Many people take up trading Pokémon cards as simply a fun past time. However, some cards can be extremely valuable, depending on its rarity and the condition it's in. Particularly rare editions can go for hundreds of thousands of pounds. For example, in 2021, YouTuber Logan Paul spent a staggering $3 million (£2.2 million) on a sealed set of first-generation Pokémon cards (which unfortunately for him turned out to be fake). And, just recently, a sheet of first edition cards from 1998 have been put up for auction, with the most recent offer standing at $37,000 (£27,306.96).

But how much can authentic Pokémon cards go for? Read on to find the five most expensive ones ever sold.

5. Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy

This is easily one of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time. In fact, only 46 copies of the card have ever been identified by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). What makes them so rare is that, unlike many other cards in the franchise, these were not put on general sale. The cards could only be won at the 1998 Parent/Child Mega Battle tournament in Japan. It was awarded to the parent and child teams who won a certain amount of games in the tournament.

While 46 copies of the card have been identified, only three have ever been sold at auction. The most recent auction for this card took place in October 2020, where it sold on eBay for a staggering $150,100 (£110,777.70).

4. Signed Black Star Ishihara GX

Just like the Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy card, this card was not put on general sale. In fact, the only people who were gifted the card were Pokémon Company International employees, at the celebration of the company's president Tsunekazu Ishihara's 60th birthday in 2017. The card has an illustration of the president, alongside a Pokéball.

Each card was handed out by the president himself, to make them extra special. But what makes one particular edition of the card stand out from the rest, is the fact that it was signed by Tsunekazu, and has been kept in pristine condition. Tsunekazu Ishihara has been involved with the franchise since the very beginning and is well respected amongst fans, so it's no surprise that a card signed by him became so valuable. It was sold for an impressive $247,230 (£182,462.17) in spring 2021.

3. Blastoise

Pokémon fans will no doubt know that many Blastoise cards aren't particularly rare. However, one particular edition is incredibly hard to find, and it’s believed to be one of the earliest cards ever made. There are only two known versions of this exact Blastoise card, and only one of them has been seen by the general public.

Aside from there being just two editions of this card, what makes them so interesting is that they were made as a prototype simply to show what Pokémon cards would look like and how they would work. Unlike other cards, this edition has no design printed on the back. This rarity was sold at auction just over a year ago in January 2021, for an impressive $360,000 (£266,000).

2. Shadowless Holographic Charizard

Charizard cards are some of the most popular amongst Pokémon fans, in part down to the dragon Pokémon's power level, and simply the general aesthetic of the card. So, it's no surprise that one of these cards is considered to be so rare and valuable.

What makes this particular card so unique and rare is the fact that there is no shadow beneath the dragon and around the border of the illustration. Shadowless cards come from the first edition of the 1999 base set. As well as being early editions, there are very few of them, which makes these cards incredibly valuable. The most valuable shadowless Charizard card to date was sold for a staggering $369,000 (£272,331.59) in December 2020.

1. Pikachu Illustrator

The Pikachu Illustrator (otherwise known as Pokémon Illustrator) is an incredibly rare card, and the most valuable one to date. While there are 40 known editions of this card around, which is more than many of the other cards on this list, what makes it so special is that it was gifted to winners of an art competition, so they could not be bought on general sale.

The illustration on the card is done by Atsuko Nishida, the designer of the most famous Pokémon of the series, Pikachu, adding even more to the value of the card. Just last year in February 2021, one of these cards sold for a staggering $375,000 (£276,759.75), making this the most valuable Pokémon card of all time.

Currently H&T does not buy or lend on Pokémon cards, but we do lend on a wide variety of items such as Cars, Handbags, Art, Watches and Jewellery. If you have an item that you would like valued, take it in to your local H&T branch to get it valued today. Alternatively, use our online pawnbroking portal and get a quote for your item in 30 minutes during opening hours.

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