"The Pokemon Trading Card Game is just worthless toys for kids. You are delusional."
This is what you will hear if you go back in 1996 to tell them that Pokemon cards will be worth more than hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Despite being over 20 years, the Pokemon franchise has still managed to keep itself pretty relevant. As a matter of fact, its popularity and value are only expanding with time. And 2020 might have been the biggest year for this franchise, as we saw some rare and valuable cards sell for more than a hundred thousand dollars and some that set new records. In this article, we will go over the 5 Most Expensive Pokemon Cards Ever, as of now, in 2021, along with their intriguing backstories, and finish it off by addressing a huge misconception around this topic.
What are the most expensive Pokemon cards ever sold?
Well, here they are -
5. No. 1 Trainer Super Secret Battle (1999) - $90,000
4. Lugia 1st Edition Neo Genesis (2000) - $129,000
3. Blastoise Test Print (1999) - $360,000
2. Charizard 1st Edition Shadowless PSA Grade 10 (1999) - $369,000
1. Pikachu Illustrator (1998) - $420,000
Now, let's go over each of these to learn their backstory, where they got sold, and how they became so valuable. Maybe, you are holding onto one such gem and don't even know it.
It first appeared in 1999 when The Pokemon Company hosted a series of regional contests where the winners would receive a No.1 Trainer card, granting them a direct entry to the finals, named "Super Secret Battle." Living up to its name, the tournament took place in a highly secretive location, which created a lot of hype and intrigue among fans.
Designed by Hideki Kazam, only seven copies of the No.1 Trainer card exist, making them extremely rare. Six out of these seven cards have earned the perfect Gem Mint 10 rating, one of which sold for a whopping $90,000 at Heritage Auction in July 2020, making it one of the most expensive Pokemon cards ever.
Kids who grew up on the Pokemon Series in the 2000s would know that Lugia was one of the most iconic Pokemon characters, similar to Mewtwo. And it came off as no surprise to people when its debut in The Pokemon Trading Card Game was an instant hit.
The reason why it's so precious and unique is that it was a part of the Neo Genesis collection, which was released in 2000. Although it's believed that there are more than 500 copies of this same card in circulation, it's worth is still estimated in five figures, and possibly more if it's rated Mint Gem 10 rating.
In November 2020, one of these Mint Gem 10 rating copies of the Lugia 1st Edition Neo Genesis was sold for a startling $129,000 at a PWCC auction.
Ken Sugimori, the art director and primary character designer for the Pokemon franchise, designed this card when the original publisher of The Pokemon Trading Card Game, the Wizard of the Coast, created this card to convince Nintendo executives to produce the trading card game in English before it eventually released internationally in 1999.
It's believed that there are only two copies of this card ever produced, probably making it the rarest Pokemon card of all time. For a very short period of time, Blastoise was incorrectly considered to be the most expensive Pokemon card ever sold for $360,000.
Nonetheless, Blastoise is still the one of the most expensive Pokemon cards ever sold and might become the most expensive in the future, with its price expecting to grow over $460K.
Every Pokemon fan can confirm that Charizard has always been one of the favorites of kids and adults alike. Hence, when the 1st Edition Charizard Holo launched in 1999 with an error in the printing, which was quickly corrected and reprinted, the "shadowless" version of the 1st edition became one of the rarest and most valuable collectibles among the Pokemon community.
On top of that, only 121 of these 1st edition cards are rated Gem Mint 10, which makes them all more valuable. The first time it set a world record for being the most expensive card ever sold was when the retired rapper Logic bought it for more than $226,000 on October 9, 2020.
However, just after two months, on December 12, a bidder paid $350,000 for Charizard 1st Edition Shadowless in a PWCC auction, setting a new record... for only four hours, as just four hours later, another 1st Edition Charizard went for $369,000, making it the second most expensive Pokemon card ever. Very few people know about the last one, which created the misconception of Blastoise being the more expensive one.
The Pikachu Illustrator card is considered one of the rarest cards of all time, with only 19 copies believed to exist. Atsuko Nishida, the original illustrator of the Pikachu character, designed this card for a Japanese magazine called CoroCoro in 1997.
It was created for the winner of an art competition held by this magazine. That's why the card shows the adorable electrified Pokemon holding a paintbrush, drawing other monsters, representing the contest. Hence, the name Pikachu Illustrator.
Over the last few years, the card was consistently selling for $195K-200K. A record was set in 2019 when one of these cards was sold for an incredible amount of $243,000. But wait. That's not it. A new record was set in 2020 when someone paid a whopping $250,000 for this card.
However, it doesn't end here. On January 31st, Steve Aoki, an American DJ, and Producer announced that he spent $420,000 to get a PSA 9 Pikachu Illustrator card setting up the world record for the most expensive Pokemon Card ever sold.
Now that only 19 copies are left, and demand is high. Its price is almost guaranteed to rise more in the future.
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