The 10 Best Sneaky Good Deals for Pokémon Cards You Can Find on eBay

Leaving Pallet Town, 21 years late

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Jason Koeppel/ONE37pm

Records are being shattered weekly for original Pokémon cards. The conversation has turned from nostalgia to investing options and there's one thing most of us have in common: We grew up around Pokémon culture.

Currently, Pokémon cards are all the rage again but at a cost. What was a $150 Charmander two years ago, is nearly $2,000 today. That price isn’t guaranteed to stay for long. As awareness grows & demand is exploding, we wanted to compile a list of sleeper cards that deserve more attention and that you can snag for sneaky great deals on eBay. Wild enough, almost everything mentioned here was half its current price or less one year ago. Time to grab your Pokedex, start studying population reports & catch em’ all! 

1. Pikachu Black Star Promo #1

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The first Black Star Promo handed out is the iconic Unlimited Ivy Pikachu. With the last PSA 10 sold fetching $100, there is great value to be had. The last PSA 9 recently sold for $51 on eBay. There is a 1st Edition version of the card, only available in the 1st Ed Jungle set, and it would be extremely rare to pull in a pack. 


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2. Jungle 1st Edition Meowth #56

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Which Pokémon character had the most exposure on the TV show after Pikachu? Meowth, that’s right!

The Jungle 1st Edition set has seen steady profits since the fall of 2019. A Meowth PSA 10 was fetching $20 then, with current sales averaging $50 and a top sale of $102.50 on August 8. PSA 9 prices have stayed under $25, but that won’t last. Consider this; there are only 370 graded 1st edition Meowth cards right now. That number will increase, but that won’t matter when there are only 229 total PSA.

10’s and 124 PSA 9’s. Time to go Team Rocket and snatch up every single one that you can.


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3. Every Base 1st Edition Shadowless PSA 9 card under $60

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The 1st Edition base set is the holy grail of Pokémon sets. A pristine Box of 36 packs is valued over $90,000 currently. That’s 396 cards in a box, 12 Holograms, and there’s no guarantee each card will be perfectly centered. That said, there are 102 cards in the set (Red Cheek Pikachu would make it 103), how can any card PSA 9 or higher be under $60? Trainer cards, energies, common cards, all are safe. Feel confident going after PSA 8 grades if the 9’s are out of reach. Holograms: PSA 6 and up have shown 100% + increases in 2020.


4. 1st Edition Shadowless Machamp #8

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Currently, PSA does not differentiate the 1st Edition Shadowless and 1st Edition unlimited versions of Machamp. The easy ways to tell the difference are the font on the 100 HP (thin is shadowless—thick is unlimited). Also, the Shadowless has 1995, 96, 98, 99 on the bottom, unlike the unlimited version that has 1995, 96, 98. With that out of the way, prices have been low compared to every other hologram in the set. A PSA 9 Shadowless Machamp last sold on eBay for $450 on August 9, and although that seems high, a PSA 8 sold for $130 on eBay, August 11. Machamp is unique; it’s the only card in the set that can’t be pulled in a pack. Only available in the 2-Player Starter Set. 


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5. Base Unlimited Pikachu #58

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The Yellow Cheek version is the only Pikachu card in the Unlimited Base set. Although the Unlimited collection had seven print runs, compared to one for the 1st Ed set and one for the Shadowless set, Pikachu has only been graded 865 times with 500 in gem mint. Given the demand for Pikachu, prices are rising fast with a gem mint selling for $199 on July 3 via eBay. The highest sale for a confirmed PSA 9 is $61 on July 17, also via eBay. Ungraded cards are fetching under $15; if you can spot a clean one, it could be a bargain.


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6. Black Star Promo Cards 1999–2002

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The Black Star Promo cards were given out in a variety of ways, such as Pokémon League, the Pokémon Movie, in magazines, mail giveaways, and even in a VHS/DVD release.

There are 53 cards in the set, not including error cards, and many have low populations. There are expensive Black Star Promos, such as #24 Birthday Pikachu, #40 Pokémon Center & #41 Lucky Stadium, which I believe is the coolest promo card in the set. The artwork of Charizard with Pikachu and Picchu on his back is legendary. If only there were a holographic version. 


7. 1999 Pokémon Fossil 1st Edition Prerelease Aerodactyl

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The second Prerelease given out to the public, Aerodactyl has seen a steady increase in price since 2019, when PSA 9 grades were valued under $40. $152 is the top sale in 2020 for PSA 9, with many sales between $70-$100 recently. PSA 8 grades are still around $40. With only 304 total graded, and 15 PSA 10’s, there is a lot of upside with this prehistoric Pokémon.


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8. 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Corocoro Comics Grey Star Pikachu

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This version is an English card that was distributed in Japan. The Grey Star Pikachu has 61 total PSA graded cards, and there appears to be a limited supply of loose cards available. That said, this is an extremely undervalued Pikachu in a time when 1999 English Pikachu’s are soaring in demand.


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9. 2000 Pokémon Team Rocket 1st Edition Here Comes Team Rocket #15 Hologram

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Jesse, James & Meowth all in one hologram?

Team Rocket was the first English Wizards of the Coast set to have trainers on a Hologram, with a total population of 886 PSA Graded and 437 PSA 10’s. The last confirmed PSA 10 recently sold for $172.50 on eBay, meanwhile a PSA 9 sold for $152.50 on June 19. There are some listings well under that PSA 9 sale. You can also go for the unlimited version, which only has 233 total graded.


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10. 2000 Team Rocket Charizard #4

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There are multiple versions of this card, with the 1st Edition and unlimited print runs having two versions of ‘Zard a piece: Hologram and non-Hologram.

With a considerable population, prices have dipped since the beginning of 2020, when PSA 9 Hologram 1st Edition was over $850. Recently a PSA 9 sold for under $725 at auction. Lower grades are affordable, and you can always get a loose non-Hologram unlimited Dark Zard for under $30.

When buying loose cards, make sure to look them over and even consider requesting more photos from the seller if you are unsure. Graded cards are the safer purchase, but many want to take the risk and find ungraded gems.


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