Katy Perry and Pikachu at table.
Image via Katy Perry YouTube.

Top 11 Rarest Pokémon Cards

Some Pokemon TCG cards truly are one in a million.

Though most Pokemon fans are familiar with the Pokemon video games, the trading card game also has a loyal following. If you get swept in the card-collecting hobby, you’ll soon learn that not all cards are created equally, and some are significantly more expensive than others. Find one of these rare cards and you could become very wealthy, as collectors are willing to pay top dollar for some specimens.

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The rarest Pokemon Cards you might have at home

If you’re wondering whether you’re sitting on a goldmine, consult this list to see if your Pokemon card collection has a few hidden gems. Some are specific cards, while others are types of cards you could have at home that are well worth getting graded so you can sell them when the time is right.

11. Club-exclusive Pokemon cards

daisuki club rarest pokemon cards
Image via PSA

Certain Pokemon cards were exclusive to members of particular clubs. One of the most notable of these are Daisuki Club cards. This Pokemon fan club offered merchandise that was only available to members, some of which now sell for thousands of dollars. The rarest Pokemon card that the Diasuki Club offered is the Masters Scroll Promo card. To get this, you had to complete a set of activities and come out on top in a leaderboard with 8,600 points.

10. Shadowless Pokemon cards

psa shadowless charizard rarest pokemon cards
Image via PSA

While they don’t sell for nearly as much as some of the other cards in this list, shadowless Pokemon cards still sell for between $1,500 and $3,000. The one pictured above is on the rarer end of the scale, a shadowless Charizard. Shadowless means that the card has no darkened shadow around the frame, making the card look much flatter than most.

9. Black Star Ishihara GX

Black Star Ishihara GX Pokemon TCG card.
Image via Professional Sports Authenticator.

A few cards are extremely valuable due to the circumstances of their creation. This is the case with the Ishihara GX card. Hardcore fans will recognize that name, as Tsunekazu Ishihara is The Pokemon Company‘s CEO. The card was created in 2017 to celebrate Ishihara’s 60th birthday. Copies of the card were distributed to staff, and one signed by the CEO sold for $247,230.

8. Tournament cards

Bronze Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Trophy in Pokemon TCG.
Image via Professional Sports Authenticator.

Pokemon TCG players who are good enough can enter various tournaments and eventually stand a chance to become world champion. Winners and runner-up contestants are typically given unique cards for their victory. These are some of the most valuable cards in Pokemon TCG, as very few of them are created.

One of the most valuable Pokemon TCG tournament cards is the Bronze Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Trophy card. It has caught the attention of collectors because only four were created, and they were distributed to the runner-ups in the first-ever Pokemon TCG tournament in 1997. It was sold for $300,000 this year.

The 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer card was distributed to the finalists of the Pokémon World Championships in 2006. Only three copies of the card are known to exist. The card depicts Pikachu holding a massive trophy.

7. Banned Pokemon cards

mistys tears rarest pokemon cards
Image via PSA

There are a few Pokemon cards that have been banned or had their artwork changed entirely over the years. Misty’s Tears, pictured above, is one of those cards. Understandably, it was deemed a little risque given the game was largely aimed at children. These are some of the rarest Pokemon cards because their runs were so short, resulting in sales for tens of thousands of dollars.

6. Blastoise card

Image via the Pokemon Company.

It may not get as much attention as Charizard, but Blastoise is also a beloved Pokemon. Only two copies of the rarest Blastoise card exist. They were created in 1998 as a presentation card for the Wizards of the Coast. In 2021, the card sold for $360,000 which makes it one of the most valuable cards of all time.

5. Charizard cards

Image via Professional Sports Authenticator.

When it comes to Pokemon, there are few that are as recognizable as Charizard. The orange dragon that’s technically not a dragon has appeared on a number of Pokemon cards, and some of them have gone on to become extremely valuable.

One of the rarest Charizard cards is the first edition card released in 1999. It won’t do you any favors in modern battles where power creep has left the card relatively weak, but it has become extremely valuable for its historic significance and rarity. According to the PSA, only 124 have been graded a 10. The Charizard Gold Star Delta Species Holo Dragon Frontiers is also highly sought after, and the PSA has only recorded 99 grade 10 specimens.

4. Topsun Charizard Blue Back

topsun charizard blue back rarest pokemon cards
Image via PSA

Wizards of the Coast didn’t always make Pokemon cards, and that’s what makes the Topsun Charizard Blue Back so rare. This one was specifically only sold in boxes of gum, with one in every twenty boxes estimated to contain a card. It’s a moment in time for the card game when it was still a startup trying to make its way in the world. There’s no advantage to having this in a deck, but a recent sale price of $6,211, there might be an advantage for your bank account.

3. Lugia 1st Edition Neo Genesis

lugia first edition neo genesis rarest pokemon cards
Image via PSA

Lugia is a legendary many of us grew up with, and getting one in a pack gave you serious street cred on the playground in the UK. It’s only become more popular as time has gone on, leading to it selling for an eye-watering $55,000 in some cases. For nostalgia alone, this is a card I’d love to have in my collection, but the fact that it’s one of the rarest Pokemon cards out there means I won’t unless I win the Lottery.

2. Pikachu cards

Logan Paul holding the Pikachu Illustrator card.
Image via Logan Paul YouTube.

As the franchise mascot, it’s no surprise that Pikachu sits so high on the list. There are plenty of Pikachu cards to discover, but every so often, The Pokemon Company will release an incredibly rare card featuring the yellow rodent, and fans will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for it.

Collectors have sought the Japanese Pokémon XY-P Black Star Promo Pikachu card. It was distributed to attendees of the Pokémon 20th Anniversary Festa in 2016, making it extremely rare.

The most expensive Pikachu card, and the most expensive card in the franchise, is the Pikachu Illustrator. It is believed that 30 to 40 of these cards exist, though at present, there is only one known to be graded a PSA 10. It belongs to Logan Paul, who bought it for $4 million and a PSA 9 of the same card. He had less luck when he spent $3.5 million expecting to receive unopened first-edition cards but got scammed instead.

1. 25th Anniversary Celebrity Collaborator Cards

Katy Perry and Pikachu.
Image via Katy Perry YouTube.

In 2021, Pokemon enjoyed its 25th anniversary, and several celebrities joined in on the festivities. As a token of thanks, Post Malone, Katy Perry, and J Blavin were given one-of-a-kind V cards. Only one of each card exists, making them extremely valuable. Unfortunately, they’ll probably never enter the market, as the owners have no need to sell them, and Post Malone has publicly expressed his love of Pokemon TCG.

New to Pokemon TCG? Check out this guide to learn the basic rules of the game. You’ll also want to learn about which Pokemon TCG sets have been released so you’ll have a better idea of where to start collecting.

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Smangaliso Simelane
Staff Writer - Smangaliso Simelane is a writer with a passion for all things related to video games. He has been writing about video games since 2020.
Jamie Moorcroft-Sharp
Jamie is a Staff Writer on Destructoid who has been playing video games for the better part of the last three decades. He adores indie titles with unique and interesting mechanics and stories, but is also a sucker for big name franchises, especially if they happen to lean into the horror genre.