Few media franchises have achieved the level of success that Yu-Gi-Oh! has. After launching, it offered a compelling trading card game and an anime series reflecting said game in an imaginative, mythology-inspired world in which cards’ monsters come to life. This one-two-punch immediately hooked young fans and began an entire mythos of Yu-Gi-Oh! series, films, video games, and merchandise, to name a few pillars of the empire. And like Pokemon and similar franchises, there are a few select trading cards that have gained prominence for their value and rarity. While most of the higher-valued ones known are considered as such because of their award status in tournaments, it’s not always the case. Here are a few standouts cards and, for those even documented, just how much they have sold for.
The Most Expensive Yugioh Cards of All Time
1. Tournament Black Luster Soldier
Easily the most valuable card on this list, the Black Luster Soldier was an exclusive prize card awarded at the first-ever Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament in 1999. It is printed on stainless steel and is the only one of its kind, thus its coveted rarity makes it essentially priceless. Those who have listed it for sale (with only rumors confirming amounts trading hands) asked for amounts in the millions. Suffice it to say, anyone who lucks into this card has essentially hit the Yu-Gi-Oh! lottery.
2. Armament of the Lethal Lords
Like the Black Luster Soldier, the Armament of the Lethal Lords was a prize awarded to participants in the 2006 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships. It became more noteworthy when a seller allegedly asked for more than $1 million USD for it, but the actual estimate of its worth is around $8,000 - $9,000. Still, trading in upwards of $10K for a single card is on the higher end for Yu-Gi-Oh! ultra-rare finds. It’s illegal to use in official duels and tournaments.
3. Dark Magician Girl
This card, featuring the female version of the series’ iconic Dark Magician, is another tournament prize that has become sought-after. There were allegedly one hundred of this card printed in a Japan-exclusive lottery early on in the franchise’s days. Though it doesn’t fetch as high a price as some of the more rare cards, authentic listings (always be wary of fakes!) show that it’s usually worth at least a few thousand — nothing to balk at in exchange for a cardboard rectangle.
4. Tyler the Great Warrior
This card has quite a very human story behind it. Tyler Gressle, a huge Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer in 2002. He became a recipient of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and his wish was for a custom Yu-Gi-Oh! card that he designed to be made in canon, which eventually became Tyler the Great Warrior. Tyler and his family were flown to New York City to meet with 4Kids Entertainment Inc. for the unveiling and to receive a tour of the Yu-Gi-Oh! facility. As such, there is only one card of its kind in existence. And the story has a happy ending: Tyler beat his cancer after an intensive surgery, and he’s last reported to be perfectly healthy. He still has the card today, although he’s reportedly considered selling it during tough times, and has received serious offers upwards of $150K for it.
5. Skuna, The Leonine Rakan
This two-headed monster card is similar to Armament of the Lethal Lords in that it was an exclusive prize for the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships — this time in 2009 — and there are thought to be no more than six of the cards in existence. It’s rumored that a couple have sold before, placing its value at around $6,000 USD, but its value could continue to climb the longer buyers go without supply.
6. First Edition Blue-Eyes White Dragon
Arguably the most iconic card associated with the entire Yu-Gi-Oh! The franchise, Blue-Eyes White Dragon is popular not only for its strength in the trading card game — fusing three of them together will produce Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon — but also its powerful appearances in the original anime and manga. The first of these cards were released in Japan in 1999 and the United States soon after, and mint condition first editions are known to sell for thousands of dollars. (One father even went viral for selling a few of his to pay for his daughter’s education!)
7. Signed Japanese Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon
This special edition of the aforementioned Blue-Eyes Ultimate Dragon was a prize in the 2001 Asian Championships tournament, including coming in a package signed by Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi. Its owner once jokingly offered it on Twitter for 99.9 billion yen (or around $934 million USD in 2020) but there were no offers given, although it was rumored to have been legitimately offered for sale by a shop before for 45 million yen, or almost $421,000 USD in 2020. This card would likely be up there with Black Luster Soldier for guaranteeing a price point of at least a few hundred thousand.
8. Special Edition Cyber-Stein
Unlike the many commonplace versions of this card inspired by the monster in Frankenstein, the one worth some significant cash is — you guessed it — another tournament award edition. Awarded at the Shonen Jump Championship, and a few thereafter, there are a little over a hundred of these cards in existence. They’ve been known to pop up online for sale occasionally, and one allegedly sold for $7,000 USD.
9. Amatsu-Okami Of the Divine Peaks
There are a few different versions of this card, but the most coveted one was given out to top competitors at the 2018 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships. That version reportedly sold for $18,800 USD, compared to the more recent versions from 2019 listed on eBay for a few hundred each. There aren’t many examples of the extra rare version being listed for sale — only one has been documented — but any collector can bet on being offered a fortune for this more recent rare card. It’s illegal to use in official duels and tournaments.
10. Des Volstgalph
Worth at least a couple thousand, this monster card was another tournament prize associated with the 2005 Pharaoh Tour that took place in various countries. Approximately 20 copies are known to be in existence, and it’s reportedly extremely sought after by collectors. It’s perhaps not as fancy as a crown jewel like Black Luster Soldier, but its rarity drives up that price point.
11. Iron Knight of Revolution
This card is extremely rare, as only three are known to exist. A prize awarded in the 2017 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship, only one has even been known to sell. And that card made its owner almost $13,000 USD richer! Cards like this may not be as likely to sell, since most prize-winners would like to keep their trophies. But for someone interested purely in turning a profit, this one is a cash cow. It’s another card that is illegal to use in official duels and tournaments.
12. Minerva the Exalted Lightsworn
Although this card was reprinted in 2015, the earlier editions of it are considered ultra-rare and can fetch a few thousand on the market. It was another prize winner at the 2015 Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championships, though its market value actually raised after-the-fact due to prominent players incorporating it into their decks. Rarity and clout via super-players? It’s a win-win combo.
13. Crush Card Virus
Recognizable as a significant card in the anime series, this set trap card — a different type of card than monsters that can protect its player from an attack — was already rare but only became more coveted because of its story significance. It was awarded at the Shonen Jump Championship to tournament winners and is recognizable by its specific code: SJCS-EN004. From prices listed online, it’s a reasonable ask for at least a couple thousand. Though it allegedly used to be banned from tournament gameplay, it has since had a few “errata” — or changes to the card’s text to lessen its function and power — so it is able to be played again.