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

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm / Jason Koeppel/ONE37pm

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

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eBay

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.

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

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $3000 PSA 9 $1500

2. Charmander 1st Edition

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $3000 PSA 9 $1600

3. Bulbasaur 1st Edition

bulbasaur 0
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $5500 PSA 9 $1200

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.

redcheeks
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Pikachu Red Cheeks

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $10,100 PSA 9 $3000

yellowcheeks
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Pikachu Yellow Cheeks

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $4000 PSA 9 $1600

5. Onix 1st Edition

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. 

onix
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $606 PSA 9 $210

6. Blastoise Holo 1st Edition

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. 

blastoise
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $38,609 PSA 9 $9367

7. Charizard Holo 1st Edition

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.

charizard
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $220,574 PSA 9 $47,500

8. Venusaur Holo 1st Edition

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.

venasaur
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $28,961 PSA 9 $9,000

9. Mewtwo Holo 1st Edition

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

mewtwo
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

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

 

Current Value: PSA 10 $10,000 PSA 9 $4450

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