Pokemon Card Value and Price Guide: How Much Are Your Cards Worth?

mobile hero pokemon
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The explosive recent rise in the value of Pokemon cards has opened the eyes of investors and former collectors looking to get back in the game. The original Pokemon base set (1999 1st Edition Shadowless) is the most collectible, with record breaking single card sales happening almost daily on eBay.

“Every generation defines what is nostalgic to them,” says Collectors Universe President Joe Orlando. “Pokémon started its rise in the U.S. during the late 1990s. Today, the young people who were playing the classic game then are now well into adulthood. As a result, the game has enjoyed a kind of rebirth in the hobby.”      

This list of 10 cards from the iconic original set breaks down the total population of each card graded by PSA, as well as their most recent sales to illustrate their current value.

What Makes a Pokemon Card Valuable?

Identify type and assess rarity

04 reverse holo 2x

The first step to identify if a card is potentially worth anything substantial is to check its type and rarity. In other words, how likely the card is to come across from any given booster pack or special event, and if it has any special characteristics, such as card material or Pokemon types.

There are a few indicators of rarity on any given card, though they’re quite subject to change depending on when said card was printed. A marker near the bottom of the card or near its name will indicate rarity: a circle means the card is common, a diamond means it’s less common, and stars mean it’s rare. More stars or with combinations of letters or symbols mean extra rare, including if those symbols are in the name or elsewhere on the card. Other characteristics that can up the rarity include: a higher printed number than there should be in a given printed set (e.g., 66/65); holographic artwork or reverse holographic, in which everything but the artwork is holographic; artwork that takes up the full card; artwork wherein the creature doesn’t cast a shadow; and any shining characteristics, not to be confused with holographic.

There are also special types of cards, like from the aforementioned special events that sometimes award cards to tournament winners. For example, one of the most coveted cards, the Trophy Pikachu Trainer Card, was only given out to competition winners in Japan and is so rare that it is considered priceless due to lack of sellers. And a Pikachu Illustrator card, awarded for a Pokemon award competition, allegedly sold for a cool $90,000 USD.

While rarity isn’t the only factor in appraising value, it’s certainly a major factor: Some of the highest-selling cards worth tens of thousands of dollars, or considered “priceless” from lack of supply, are only so because of small rarities like misprints or typos.

As for the more common cards that don’t match any of these characteristics, the consensus advice online is to sell those in bulk. Though the individual cards may only be worth a few dollars at most, a complete collection of them can likely fetch a little higher of a price. That’s not a terrible idea for someone wanting to get rid of a bunch of common cards and turn a profit.

How To Find the Value of Your Cards

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Taking your old cards out of the closet and researching to find their current value is the most common way people are getting back into Pokémon. When trying to figure out a card’s value, make sure to follow these steps:

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Step 1. Find the year of the card. Check the bottom year(s) of the card.

Step 2. Find the set the card belongs to. If there is no logo on the right side, it’s Base. Every other set has an indicator. 

Step 3. Identify the card with the name and number in the set. 

1st edition
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1st Edition Base

  • The grail set, Charizard is on fire with a recent sale topping $225,000.00.
  • The graded population on this set is low, and the demand has become astronomical.
  • The last Sealed Box auction ended at $198,000.00.  

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Shadowless Base Set

  • Identical to the 1st Edition cards except they don’t have the 1st Edition Stamp. 
  • The Shadowless set is just as rare / more rare than the 1st Edition set.
  • Gem Mint Charizard has a much lower population and the price hovers around $90,000.00. 
  • Shadowless is the only other set with the Red Cheek Pikachu Error card.

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Base Unlimited

  • The Unlimited Set Boxes are over $35,000.00.
  • Gem Mint Charizard is around $30,000.00.
  • This set had 6-8 times the print runs compared to 1 print run each for 1st Edition and Shadowless.

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Jungle Set

  • 2nd Expansion set
  • 1st Edition Boxes worth over $25,000.00
  • Each Holographic card has a non-holographic version
  • Only expansion set where every holographic card has a no symbol version. 

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Fossil Set

  • 3rd Expansion Set
  • 1st Edition Boxes Over $20,000.00
  • Each Holographic card has a non-holographic version.

base set2
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Base Set 2

  • Combination of Base & Jungle sets.
  • Boxes over $25,000.00
  • PSA 10 Charizard valued over $8,000.00
  • Having the original Charizard artwork will always keep this set in demand. 

team rocket
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Team Rocket

  • The 5th set, Team Rocket pays homage to the villains of Pokémon: Jesse, James & Meowth.
  • 1st Edition Boxes over $20,000.00
  • 1st Expansion set to have Charizard
  • After Base Set, Team Rocket is arguably the hottest Gen. 1 set to collect. 

gym hero 0
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Gym Heroes

  • Focuses on 1st 4 Gym Leaders: Brock, Misty, Lt. Surge & Erika
  • 1st Edition Boxes are at $15,000.00
  • PSA 10 1st Edition Moltres is valued over $4,500.00

gym challenge
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Gym Challenge

  • Focuses on Final 4 Gym Leaders: Sabrina, Koga, Blaine & Giovanni
  • 1st Edition Boxes are valued over $20,000.00 
  • PSA 10 Charizard is valued over $5,000.00 

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Promo Cards

Pokémon had numerous promo cards: E3 promos, Black Star Promos and Prerelease promos. They were available at events, in magazines, by mail request and one was available with a VHS film. Due to scarcity, some have skyrocketed and the demand is increasing rapidly.  You can read more about Black Star Promos in this article.

What Are Your Pokemon 1st Edition Base Set Cards Worth?

If you own any of the cards listed below, condition is the biggest factor in figuring out what your cards are worth. The prices below illustrate what these cards are worth after grading in mint condition as PSA 9's & 10's. It is very unlikely that your cards will grade this high if they have been played with. If you have these cards laying around in less than mint condition, it still may be worth getting them graded as long as they are in pretty good shape. 

1. Squirtle First Edition $1000 - $2600

squirtle 0
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Squirtle is the first evolution of Blastoise and carries the most value of any of the big three pre-evolutions. Be sure to assemble your Squirtle-Squad!

PSA Pop: 1418 - (10) 600 - (9) 633

Current Value: PSA 10 $2600 PSA 9 $1000

2. Charmander 1st Edition $574 - $1900

charmander 0
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Baby Zard's value has taken a bit of a dip recently. but don't be surprised if Charmander has a big run up with the prices of Charizard skyrocketing. 

PSA Pop: 1521 - (10) 652 - (9) 661

Current Value: PSA 10 $1900 PSA 9 $574

3. Bulbasaur 1st Edition $710 - $1700

bulbasaur 0
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One of the most popular Pokemon, Bulbasaur delivers long term. With low populations, be sure to make Bulbasaur a top priority. 

PSA Pop: 783 - (10) 237 - (9) 416

Current Value: PSA 10 $1700 PSA 9 $710

4. Pikachu

Pikachu is the most well known Pokemon out there and considered to be a mascot of sorts. There are two versions of Pikachu in this set - with a red cheeked and a yellow cheeked variant. The red cheek is the more rare and valuable of the two.

Pikachu Red Cheeks $1100 - $6400

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PSA Pop: 890 - (10) 215 - (9) 545

Current Value: PSA 10 $6400 PSA 9 $1100

Pikachu Yellow Cheeks $495 - $1913

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PSA Pop: 886 - (10) 338 - (9) 361

Current Value: PSA 10 $1913 PSA 9 $495

5. Onix 1st Edition $88 - $291

Onix was the "final boss" of sorts that you battle against at the first gym in the Pokemon games. Onix's value has jumped significantly in the last 2 weeks. 

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PSA Pop: 923 - (10) 376 - (9) 433

Current Value: PSA 10 $291 PSA 9 $88

6. Blastoise Holo 1st Edition $9469 - $31.975

Blastoise is the fully evolved version of Squirtle. It's widely considered to be in the top 4 most valuable holo Pokemon from the original set. 

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PSA Pop: 1484 - (10) 98 - (9) 507

Current Value: PSA 10 $31.975 PSA 9 $9469

7. Charizard Holo 1st Edition $49,100 - $350,100

This card is the apex of Pokemon collecting. Even non-collectors know that the Charizard holo will make you the king of the playground, in any condition.

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PSA Pop: 2475 - (10) 120 - (9) 645

Current Value: PSA 10 $350,100 PSA 9 $49,100

8. Venusaur Holo 1st Edition $5010 - $22,615

Venusaur is the final form of Bulbasaur. Another one of the most popular holo Pokemon, Venusaur is one of the most stolen Pokemon by Mewtwo in both "Strikes Back" movies.

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PSA Pop: 1310 - (10) 133 - (9) 469

Current Value: PSA 10 $22,615 PSA 9 $5010

9. Mewtwo Holo 1st Edition $2900 - $20,100

Mewtwo is the evil clone of Mew and was the antagonist in “Pokemon The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back”

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PSA Pop: 990 - (10) 80 - (9) 379

Current Value: PSA 10 $20,100 PSA 9 $2900

10. Lass $420 - $2,827

lass 0
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Lass is one of the rarest trainer cards to pull. On top of that, the graded population is very low. The first english Pokemon card featuring a lady has been in demand for years, with sales for PSA 10 topping $2,500.

PSA Pop: 467 - (10) 99 - (9) 269

Current Value: PSA 10 $2,827 PSA 9 $420

11. Raichu $3,151 - $17,100

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Pikachu does evolve, but only with the help of a Thunder Stone. Raichu is capable of storing 100,000 plus volts of electricity.   

PSA Pop: 1253 - (10) 87 - (9) 381

Current Value: PSA 10 $17,100 PSA 9 $3.151.00

12. Chansey $1,954 - $32,433

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Originally known as Lucky, Chansey is known for assisting nurse Joy in the Pokemon Centers in the video games. Chansey is one of the toughest cards to find in PSA 10. 

PSA Pop: 1142 - (10) 47 - (9) 362

Current Value: PSA 10 $32,433 PSA 9 $1954

13. Dugtrio $227 - $1325

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The evolution of Diglett, Dugtrio is the triple headed angry Mole. Capable of creating tunnels at 60 MPH, Dugtrio is known to cause earthquakes.  

PSA Pop: 579 - (10) 137 - (9) 291

Current Value: PSA 10 $1325 PSA 9 $227.00

14. Dratini $305 - $760

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This adorable dragon Pokemon is highly desirable in the card community, topping $4,000 in PSA 10 earlier this year. Dratini is the original form of Dragonair & later Dragonite. 

PSA Pop: 627 - (10) 145 - (9) 371

Current Value: PSA 10 $760 PSA 9 $305

15. Machamp $1025 - $3711

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This is where things get hairy. Although Machamp is finally being properly labeled, most listed as 1st Edition are really the Unlimited version. Check the font, year(s) listed on the card or just check out our Ultimate Pokemon Guide for more information.  

Also, check out where Machamp lands in our Most Powerful Pokemon.

1st Edition: PSA Pop: 6641 - (10) 348 - (9) 2984

1st Edition Shadowless: PSA Pop: 181 - (10) 2 - (9) 21

Current Shadowless Value: PSA 10 $3711 PSA 9 $1025

What's Ahead For Pokemon?

25th 0
Jason Koeppel

February 27th, 2021 will mark the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Pokémon franchise. We recently had a chance to sit down with Dan "aDrive" Clap, one of the leading creators of Pokémon content on YouTube and Twitch, to get his insight as to what we can expect to see in 2021. Check it out! 

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