In 1995, Satoshi Taijiri created a fictional world where creatures called Pokemon were trained by humans to battle one another. This world was originally meant to be for the Nintendo Game Boy as one of its games, but has since become so much more! Pokemon has “evolved” (pardon the pun) into an animated television show, a world famous card game, toys and a new interactive app that has taken the world by storm. Owned by three companies including Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures (with Nintendo owning the trademark solely), Pokemon has been quite the cash cow.
But it is the trading cards that have kept the Pokemon concept alive for over twenty years. Still today, there’s a tinge of excitement when opening a brand new pack of cards. Each pack is different and you may get lucky and get a very rare card. Much like the old days of buying packs of athletic cards, Pokemon offers the same general concept, except you can’t play a cool game with athletic cards! It’s not just for kids anymore either, as Pokemon cards have an entire subculture all their own. The card game is fun to play, but for many adults today, they’re fun to trade, buy and sell. As a result, some of these Pokemon cards are worth some serious cash with many collectors willing to pay. Knowing this, many people that grew up in the mid-90s are digging up their old Pokemon collections to see what they can get for some of their old gems. Here are 15 cards that are worth a pretty penny.
15 Mewtwo Holographic Card
There are lots of different variations of cards that have come out through the years. As with any collection, there is a grading system for condition as well as variations of different cards. Mewtwo was a very powerful card that only had a few thousand made. The Mewtwo cards with a holographic background appeared in 1999 and were incredibly rare. The prices fluctuate, so take any reference to value with a dose of caution. All Pokemon cards have a tendency to go up and down pretty quickly and the values are completely based upon the market value day-to-day. Today, the 103/110 EX Holon Phantoms Mewtwo is the more valuable and currently worth well over $100. We know $100 isn't anything to write home about, but still.
14 1999 First Edition Machamp
Machamp was a beast in Pokemon battles back in the day! Everyone loved using Machamp to kick some serious tail. While the vintage cards aren’t used much in battle anymore (although there’s nothing stopping you) this one is a great card to have for its collector value. While Machamp is part of the original base set of 16 Pokemon cards, making it an important part of the collection, there are more of the Machamp cards out there than any of the others. While not overly rare at this point in time, putting it together with the others helps complete a collection of the base set and by extension, greatly increasing the value. By itself, it’s still worth some money, although not at the same level as some of the others.
13 First Edition Shadowless Alakazam
The first edition shadowless cards are certainly worth the most when you are looking at rare vintage cards. These are harder to find and collectors will make you pay for them. If you have one, it’s currently worth a few hundred dollars or more. Remember that these prices change like the wind in either direction, so hanging on to the card (or any of them for that matter) is all about timing and finding the right buyer. Alakazam was another beast that everyone wanted to do battle with, and it brings back some great Pokemon memories for those of us that played back in the day. It is also part of the base set and the shadowless first edition is an important distinction, or it’s not worth nearly as much money.
12 “W” Stamp Reprint Pikachu
Tiny things that seem to be meaningless in the world of collectors make all the difference. This is a prime example in the case of this Pikachu card. Reprints are usually very low value and not worth an investment, unless of course, you are just wanting to play the game (as let's face it, most people are). In the reprint of the Pikachu card, there is a very small “W” on the card. This “W” is what makes the card worth so much more. These cards with this symbol were limited and thus making it much more rare. They have gone for $20 or more consistently, which is pretty good money for a single card. If you’ve got a stockpile of them, then you can sell them all day long for $10 each.
11 1999 Poliwrath First Edition Holographic
The water Pokemon are a species all their own. He has arms and is a fighter that has the power to absorb water. Poliwrath is an evolution of Poliwhirl and this guy has been around since the beginning. First editions in the base set are only worth a few dollars, but if you have the first edition holographic card, it is a much different story. Again, remember that prices and the demand for the cards change with the wind, but the holographic first editions are worth considerably more. If you have one and aren’t attached to your collection, you may consider letting it go and pocketing well over $100. You aren’t going to get rich with this card, but it will buy a really nice dinner and maybe even a movie, at least.
10 1999 Blastoise First Edition Shadowless Holo
The Blastoise Pokemon is a pretty cool water Pokemon that looks like a turtle, with spouts coming out of its shell that shoot water bullets. As cool as he is, the price that you can get for the card is even cooler! Worth more than a few hundred dollars, the shadowless holo first edition of this card from 1999 is a highly prized piece from the base set collection. Anyone can ask anything they want for a card, but that doesn’t mean that it is worth that amount. The better valuation is based upon the consistent sale price. This card is actually selling for $300 or more. Keep that in mind if you have one and are ready to part with your collection, so you don’t just give it away for pennies on the dollar.
9 XY Evolutions Charizard Holo Error Card
Misprints and errors are often worth big money in the world of any collectible. This is a newer holo card that is has the starfoil on the entire card. The whole card should not have the starfoil finish, making this one a very interesting and rare error. Newer cards are often not worth as much as the vintage cards from the late 90s, but in this case, it can be worth around a hundred dollars. The Charizard is a flying, flame thrower and in any Pokemon deck is a very powerful card. The Charizard is often seen as one of the most undefeatable and for this reason, these cards in general are worth more money than most other Pokemon, but when you add the interesting error, it really stands out as something special.
8 Espeon Gold Star
From 2007, the Gold Star cards were and still are incredibly rare. As evidenced by the fact that these are not from the 90s, the Gold Star cards are highly coveted. One estimate is that there is one of these cards in every 72 packs! The Espeon is a psychic Pokemon in the sun category. It is an evolved form of the Eevee and looks very much like a cat. The Gold Star card of the Espeon is very valuable and people are willing to pay good money just about any day of the week. Selling for a few hundred dollars, it would be well worth checking out your cards to see if you have one. If you’re not too emotionally connected to it, I believe it may be a good time to drop it like a bad habit! It's just a suggestion.
7 First Edition Base Set Shadowless Holo Charizard
The description is certainly a mouthful, but remember that in the world of Pokemon trading cards, the finest details make all the difference in the world when it comes to value and pricing. This bad boy is and was quite the beast and incredibly rare. The Charizard has always been an incredibly strong card and virtually unbeatable. Beyond this, the price tag is also unbeatable if you want to add it to your collection. Selling for a few thousand dollars consistently, this vintage card is one of the most expensive and rarest of them all. Sure, they are available online and you can find them, but you’ll have to pay through the nose for them. If you do have one, make sure you get it in a plastic cover pronto, because grading is highly important for the value.
6 2006 Gold Star Pikachu EX Holon Phantoms
As discussed, the Gold Star cards are highly rare and very valuable. The Pikachu has long been regarded as the poster child of the Pokemon brand, since it’s the one you see most often in promotions. That little guy just oozes cuteness and while there are a great deal of other Pokemon that are stronger, finding one of these cards is extremely rare. Valued at well over $500, this card is not vintage and it is not overly old either, but the Gold Star gives it its value. From the EX Holon Phantoms series, you may have one or two of them laying around without even knowing. So check your collection and look for the little gold star. You might just be sitting on a heap of cash without even realizing.
5 2006 Mew Gold Star EX Dragon Frontiers
Mew is a psychic Pokemon that has the ability to make itself invisible at will. This skill comes in handy in many battles. As many Pokemon, it is cute as a button. This 2006 card is another example of the power of the Gold Star. As part of the EX Dragon Frontiers series, the Mew Gold Star card is worth a pretty penny. If your card is in mint condition, expect to get well over $500 for this one. Make sure if you find one that you didn’t know you had, that you have it graded by PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator). They are the standard in trading card appraisal. This provides authenticity and makes it a lot easier to go ahead and sell for full or close to full appraised value.
4 Raichu Holo 14/102
The Raichu is the evolved form of Pikachu. Another cute little devil, he is a little more handy to have in a battle. This card is one of the older ones and is apparently very rare. It’s a holo card and as a result of its rarity, you should be able to sell it for quite a lot of money. While the price tends to fluctuate from a few hundred to well over a thousand dollars, you should figure that there is a good market of people that want this card for their very own personal collection. Condition and grading will obviously have a lot to do with how much you can get for it, but if you have a Raichu holo, get ready to get excited and start taking some really good pictures.
3 1999 Japanese Challenge Road Tropical Mega Battle Promo
This card is one of the most rare Pokemon artifacts available. The Tropical Mega Battle was an annual event held in Honolulu, Hawaii between 1999 and 2001. This battle event was an international competition involving 50 participants. This particular card was only used for the battle and was made in very small numbers and is printed almost entirely in Japanese. Finding one in mint condition is even more rare and worth a great deal of money. This is the kind of card that serious collectors pine after because it is nearly impossible to find. They have sold for several thousand dollars though, and finding one is occasionally possible. Don’t count on finding one hiding deep in your personal collection. Be prepared to dig deep if you want to get one for yourself.
2 Vaporeon Misprint 12/64
From the Jungle set, the Vaporeon is another water Pokemon that has features of a water and land creature. This particular card is mis-cut and thus makes it that much more valuable. As mentioned before, misprints and errors are often worth big bucks. What makes this specific card interesting is that it is the same size as regular cards, but it is mis-cut diagonally. You can find this error periodically for sale for a few hundred dollars. Collecting misprints and errors is not something that every collector finds necessary, but for the most serious of collectors, having as many different types of cards as possible is an important necessity. So look through your collection to see if perhaps you accidentally have one of these mis-cut cards. You might just find get lucky!
1 1999 Charmeleon
Selling for as much as five thousand dollars, this card in good condition is very rare and obviously very valuable. In 1999, this card along with the Charmander and Charizard were used to promote the Pokemon Red game that was developed for the Nintendo Game Boy. The Charmeleon is a fire type Pokemon and is evolved from the Charmander. These cards along with others that are rare and used for promotional purposes are now highly sought after and a great addition to any collection. Those with huge collections from the original years of Pokemon may find one of these laying around. If that is the case, then you can enjoy knowing that you have both a rare and highly marketable card in your collection. Now to figure out if you want to part with it or not!
Sources: Pokemonprices, International Business Times
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