The Best (Most Expensive) Pokemon Cards Ever
What now, a grown man making a "Best Of" list of Pokemon cards? Heck yah!
As a kid I LOVED Pokemon. I especially, totally, absolutely, most of all LOVED their CARDS. Wooo!! Pokemon cards! Who didn't love em? 150 Pokemon! Gotta Catch Em All! Gotta buy em all! Oh right.. Parents weren't too keen about emptying their wallets whenever a new Set of cards hit the stores. Sorry Mom and Dad!
Well parents, fret never more. The kid-generation of the 90's, myself included, are all grown up now and we make our own money to spend as we please. And what do we buy??? We buy.. not Pokemon.. *Sigh* Now we spend our money on bills. And then we spend our spare change towards stocks, bonds, 401k..
..and really expensive POKEMON CARDS!!
Pokemon Illustrator- $100,000
Also known as "Pikachu Illustrator", this Holy Grail of Pokemon cards stands alone and THE MOST EXPENSIVE Pokemon card to date. Only FIVE of these were given out to the five winners of the Pokemon Card Game Illustration Contest in Japan. There's a sixth one somewhere out there in the universe, but it's not for sale. Among the five winners' cards, one graded as a PSA 9* was last seen on eBay a few weeks ago for $100,000, buy only, no bidding whatsoever.
*PSA: Professional Sports Authenticators (sports cards, trading cards, etc). Mint condition, aka PSA 9 means it's a 9/10 on their strictest-of-the-strict grading scale. To my knowledge, no PSA 10 of Pokemon Illustrator exists!
Charizard, Base Set 1st Edition (Eng)- $4,800
Behold, the 1st Edition Charizard in GEM Mint PSA 10 condition! This is the most expensive English printed card from the world of Pokemon. Ther's currently one on eBay for $6,000 at lowest, but I've only heard of one being sold for $4,800 tops. That's still a lot of poke-dough.
Tropical Mega Card(s)- $999 to $9999.95
Okay, here's where this Best-Of list becomes a little tricky. I haven't exactly gotten confirmation from sellers on eBay regarding what's the most that each particular card has sold for. In fact, I'm not 100% certain a lot of the most expensive Pokemon cards have ever been sold at all. So here's what I'll do: I'll list from what I know, with a little eBay help, and to the best of ranking that I can. Don't like it? Well, I don't either :)
The picture above is just one of the many prize cards issued at the Tropical Mega Battles, tournaments held in Hawaii I believe annually, or at least it was annually when Pokemon was a red hot trend.
Raichu, Jungle Set Prerelease error print- "$11,500"
You're probably wondering why a card worth $11,500 #4 and not #2. One word: rumors. There's no definitive price of this Clefabled Pokemon card, just a lot of rumors about it being worth around $10,500 to $12,000 among other estimates.
Why the play-on-words about Ms. Clefable? Well, during the release of the Jungle Set in English, a special Prerelease Clefable card was being produced for promotional purposes. However, during printing, some Raichu cards from Base Set got shifted onto the sheet meant to be stamped "PRERELEASE".
Given the number of possible error printing mistakes -that is, one Raichu per wrong sheet for 'x' number of sheets- it's estimated that there are 8 to 10 of these error Raichu cards out there somewhere. Until one sells at auction, I have no idea what it's true value is.
Super Secret Battle No. 2- $5999.99
Ok. I give up trying to keep these in pricing order :)
The 1999 Secret Super Battle Tournament. *Sigh* Nostalgia? No. I sigh because I have no idea what this tournament was. I also don't know why only No. 2 is up for sale.. anywhere! "No. 2" was a trophy card given to those who placed 2nd in the tournament. Was 1st prize not a card? Was there no 3rd or 4th prize? Did coming in 2nd place suck so badly that the owner wanted to sell his 2nd place trophy? No offense. Just curious :3
Magikarp, Tamamushi University Prize- $3,749.99
In 1998, Tamamushi University of Japan held a "test" made specifically for Japan's Pokemon card trainers to test their skills in battle. In other words, it was a tournament. Trolololo.
Each participant who made it onto the 2nd day of competition received a trophy card exclusive to the event. There's an estimated 30-50 of these trophy cards. And what Pokemon card was this exactly?
Gyarados, CoroCoro Pokemon Snap Best Photo Contest- $8,500
Again, I lack the ability to keep pricing ranks in order. Okay, Gyarados with a winning image from a Japanese Pokemon Snap Contest. Snap was an N64 game where you'd ride around in a cart snapping pictures of wild Pokemon in all their 64-bit 3D glory. I remember entering one of the Snap contests, a US one anyway. I snapped a picture of Mew worth 9,920 pts (more than the max "possible"). Too bad everyone else did the same. We ended in a draw and were given a tiebreaker with tasks that had nothing to do with Pokemon Snap, so I didn't submit mine.
But this.. What the heck is Gyarados doing? It took me 2 full minutes to realize that the red thing is his tongue. I thought he was eating a Pokedex. Now that would be a rare photo op. Ah well, it's pretty funny looking, and I wouldn't mind owning one of these car--- oh right it's $8,500.
Kangaskhan, Family Event Trophy card- $3,749.99
Another trophy card given to winners of a tournament in 1998. Notice how I said "winners" with an "s"? That's right, a Kangaskhan Trophy Card was appropriately given to each Parent and Child team who reached a certain winning quota within the allotted period of the tournament.
Pokemon World Championship, No. 2 Trainer- $3,042
I'm sensing a trend here with No. 2 cards.
I finally found a picture of a trophy card in English. Whew. I love the text. The card is a trophy AND it's your pass into next year's competition! Again however, $3,042 is merely the asking-price, not the price that one of these has officially sold for. I await the next Poke-auction. That's not a real thing by the way. Wait.. Is it?
Tropical Mega Battle Legendary Bird Phone Card- $1,199.99
And #10, the Legendary Birds of the Tropical Mega Battles, phone card versions! I know some of you are grumbling right now about how a lot of cards didn't make my Best-Of list. I know I know.. But c'mon, it's a freaking phone card! That's just awesome!
How tournament competitors acquired these phone cards are uncertain. I think a lot of participants got this one though. I tried asking my friend if he knew anything about this card. He pondered for a moment, checked his phone, perhaps to open a browser to check for the answer to my inquiry, and alas he looked up at me and proclaimed: "Why are you still looking at Pokemon cards on eBay???"
Far from an orderly "Top 10" list indeed. I may have ruffled a few feathers by leaving out an agredge of cards that should've been on this list. But like stocks and investments -as I mentioned in the intro- the ever-changing market value of Pokemon cards makes it impossible to keep track of which one is worth the most. Maybe I should invest in Pokemon cards for my retirement. Afterall they say stocks are popular due to their volatility and uncertainty of worth.
What was I talking about? Off trail a bit. Hm.. Time to go to sleep.
Goodnight, Articuno. I'll call you in the morning.