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What Is The Rarest Pokémon Card? Top 10+ Most Rare Pokémon Cards!

What Is The Rarest Pokémon Card? Top 10+ Most Rare Pokémon Cards!

While many people are familiar with basic Pokémon cards, there is a vast world of rare and valuable cards waiting to be discovered. These cards are highly sought-after by collectors and enthusiasts all around the globe, not only for their significant value but also for their rarity.

So, for the question "What is the rarest Pokémon card?" or "What is the most expensive Pokémon card?", you will have your own answer after reading this blog and be able to take your Pokémon card collection to the next level!

Prepare to be amazed as you explore the realm of rare Pokémon cards that will make any fan's heart skip a beat. Dive into the enchanting world of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards below and add these extraordinary cards to your collection!

1. What makes Pokémon cards become rare and pricey?

There are several factors that contribute to the scarcity and desirability of Pokémon cards. One of the primary factors is the rarity symbol on the card, which indicates its level of rarity within the Pokémon Trading Card Game. The rarity symbols include common (represented by a black circle), uncommon (represented by a black diamond), and rare (represented by a black star).

Three types of the rarity symbols

Three types of the rarity symbols

In addition, certain cards have special variations that further increase their rarity and value. For example, holographic (holo) cards feature a shiny foil illustration that covers the Pokémon image, creating a striking visual effect. Reverse holo cards, on the other hand, have a holofoil frame while the actual Pokémon image remains non-foil. Furthermore, the presence of first edition cards, which are from the initial print runs of a card set and often possess unique characteristics, also adds to their rarity, making them the most expensive Pokémon cards.

The condition of the card, its popularity, and the overall demand among collectors also play crucial roles in determining its rarity and value. These factors contribute to these cards’ overall rarity and being the most valuable Pokémon cards, which appeal to international collectors and fans.

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2. What is the rarest Pokémon card?

Do you have any rare Pokémon cards in your collection? Or have you ever wondered what is the rarest Pokémon card? Or what is the most expensive Pokémon card? The answer is undoubtedly the Pikachu Illustrator card!

1998 Pokémon Japanese Promo Pikachu Holo Illustrator

1998 Pokémon Japanese Promo Pikachu Holo Illustrator

This is one of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards that holds a significant place in the world of Pokémon collectibles. For its backstory, this card was created with the purpose of being given as a prize to the winners (along with 20 copies of their own design) of the Pokémon Card Game Illustration Contest, which took place in the Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic in 1997 and 1998.

Do you know how much is Pokémon card worth? This Pikachu Illustrator has sold for nearly half a million dollars at auction!

To be more specific, Logan Paul possessed this PSA 10 card with a jaw-dropping $5,275,000 in 2021, not long after a PSA 7 card sold for $375,000 during a PWCC auction.

Logan Paul revealed that he exchanged a PSA Grade 9 Pikachu Illustrator card, which he had obtained from renowned sports card collector Matt Allen in Como, Italy, for $1,275,000 and gave him $4,000,000 in cash for the flawless PSA Grade 10 Pikachu Illustrator card.

Logan Paul wearing his flawless Pikachu Illustrator card during his WrestleMania debut

Logan Paul wearing his flawless Pikachu Illustrator card during his WrestleMania debut

With the "Illustrator" rather than "Trainer" at the top, this card itself is truly distinctive. It also has a small pen symbol in place of the rarity symbol, and this artwork was created by Atsuko Nishida, the original designer of Pikachu.

Only 41 copies (39 copies that were distributed to competition winners and 2 more copies turned up in Yuichi Konno's collection in 2020) of the card are known to exist, and just over that have been professionally graded.

Another interesting thing about the Pikachu Illustrator card is that it is also the most expensive Pokémon trading card ever sold at auction. In February 2022, this Pikachu Illustrator was sold for $900,000 - an incredible price for a PSA Grade 7! Even though the buyer backed out, this card was still sold for $720,000 and is one of the most valuable Pokémon cards!

3. Top 10+ rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards:

What Pokémon cards are worth money? Are you ready to take your Pokémon card collection to the next level? Prepare to embark on an adventure that will bring joy, excitement, and the thrill of discovering the world of the rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards out there!

3.1. 1998 Pikachu Illustrator Card

For the question "What is the rarest Pokémon card?" or "What is the most expensive Pokémon card?" that you are wondering, you can now find the answer yourself with this Pokémon card!

1998 Pikachu Illustrator Card

1998 Pikachu Illustrator Card

Even though all the information about this card has already been provided above, it is not a big deal to mention it again.

Recent value at auction:

  • $5,275,000 - Logan Paul purchased this PSA 10 card in a private transaction in 2021, which is a whopping amount of money.
  • $840,000 - This was an incredible price for a Pikachu Illustrator 9 that was sold in 2022.
  • $420,000 - Steve Aoki bought a raw card in 2021 which then graded PSA 9.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Only 41 copies of this card are known to exist and 24 of them have been graded at PSA.
  • One of the few Pokémon cards has double-star rarity in the bottom corner.
  • The only card with "Illustrator", not "Trainer" at the top of it.
  • The only card having a pen sign in the lower right corner.

This card has become an iconic and highly prized collectible in the world of Pokémon trading cards, captivating the attention of enthusiasts and fetching record-breaking bids at auctions.

3.2. 1999 First Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard

The 1999 First Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard is considered one of the most expensive Pokémon cards.

 1998 Pikachu Illustrator Card

1999 First Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard

Its scarcity, combined with its role as one of the most iconic Pokémon, has made it a highly desirable and valuable collectible among fans and collectors worldwide.

Recent value at auction:

  • $420,000 - An unbelievable price for a Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard which was recently sold in a PWCC auction in 2022.
  • $349,995 - An eye-watering price for a PSA 10.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Only 121 copies with a PSA 10 rating are known to exist.

In a nutshell, this 1999 First Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard is the nostalgic Charizard Pokémon card that any lucky owner should be proud to own, which is a piece of their childhood.

3.3. 1998 Blastoise Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram Card

For the question "What is the rarest Pokémon card?", there is no doubt that the answer is the 1998 Blastoise Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram Card, which is one of the rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards in existence.

1998 Pikachu Illustrator Card 

1998 Blastoise Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram Card

This one-of-a-kind card was commissioned by Wizards of the Coast in 1998 for a persuasive purpose that a Pokémon trading card game was a good concept.

Recent value at auction:

  • $360,000 - This is the price of a card with a blank back that was sold at an auction in 2021.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Only two cards are known to have ever existed.
  • One of the copies had a "Magic: The Gathering" backside and the other had a blank back.

Even though you would think this card had nothing special, in fact, it is truly iconic and may be the rarest Pokémon card in the world.

3.4. 1997 Pokémon Japanese Promo Trophy Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Bronze

In 1997, the first-ever Pokémon Trading Card Game competition was held in Japan. Each of the three category winners received a unique Trophy Pikachu card that detailed their placement in the historic event, but have you ever wondered how much is Pokémon card worth?

1998 Pikachu Illustrator Card

1997 Pokémon Japanese Promo Trophy Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Bronze

Recent value at auction:

  • $300,000 - an impressive price for a PSA 8 Trophy Pikachu No. 3 Trainer Bronze card that was sold in 2023.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • It was printed in a quantity of fewer than 100 cards.
  • Only four Trophy Pikachu cards have ever been graded by PSA.

This card represents a unique piece of Pokémon history and holds immense appeal among enthusiasts and collectors, as well as being one of various expensive Pokémon cards.

3.5. 2017 Tsunekazu Ishihara GX Black Star Promo Card

What is the rarest Pokémon card? The 2017 Tsunekazu Ishihara GX Black Star Promo is another one! 

2017 Tsunekazu Ishihara GX Black Star Promo Card

2017 Tsunekazu Ishihara GX Black Star Promo Card

This may not be the most eye-catching Pokémon card you'll ever come across, but it is still one of the rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards. The special feature of this card is that it contains the artwork of Tsunekazu Ishihara himself! This card was created to commemorate his 60th birthday - the president of The Pokémon Company.

Recent value at auction:

  • $247,230 - This was the selling price for a PSA 7 version of the Pokémon card signed by Ishihara himself in 2021 at Goldin Auctions.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • This card was only available to personnel who attended the president's birthday celebration in 2017, and there were very few copies produced.

The fact that Tsunekazu Ishihara signed his name on the card made it a unique item in TCG and caused the value of this Pokémon card to skyrocket.

3.6. 1998 Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card

The 1998 Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card is the answer to the question "What is the rarest Pokémon card?"

 2017 Tsunekazu Ishihara GX Black Star Promo Card

1998 Kangaskhan Holo Family Event Trophy Card

The card is a Japanese promo card released in 1998 as part of a Family Event Trophy and was awarded to participants of a special tournament. It is one of the cutest items with artwork that features Kangaskhan's kid in its pouch and surrounded by holo sparkles.

Recent value at auction:

  • $150,000 - A PSA 10 was sold with this price in 2020.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • There are only over 40 graded copies with PSA, 11 of which are PSA 10.
  • There have only ever been three sold in public.

Due to its rarity, this Pokémon card's value is still expected to increase over the next few years.

3.7. 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia

For many kids who grew up with the Pokémon series in the 2000s, Lugia is regarded as the most coveted second-generation Pokémon as it is one of the rarest and most powerful legendaries.

2017 Tsunekazu Ishihara GX Black Star Promo Card 

2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holographic Lugia

This card is in the 2000 Neo Genesis Pokémon set. However, the initial print runs had various print errors that make cards like this hard to grade.

Recent value at auction:

  • $144,300 - An incredible price for a holo Lugia graded a Pristine 10 by BGS at an auction in 2021.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Only 41 PSA 10 have been graded.
  • One of only 3 cards has received the elusive BGS 10 Pristine label.

The popularity of this Pokémon character, combined with the difficulty in grading cards, means that this card will remain expensive in the market over the next few years.

3.8. 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer

Here we have another answer to the question "What is the rarest Pokémon card?", it is the 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer!

 what is the rarest pokemon card

2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer

At the Pokémon World Championships held in California in 2006, just a small number of tournament winners were given rare cards featuring an adorable Pikachu raising a silver trophy.

Recent value at auction:

  • $100,100 - This card with 9 graded by PSA was sold with an impressive price in early 2021.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Only three of these collectibles exist.
  • Due to the fact that only winners received these Pokémon cards, these cards are highly sought after by collectors.

This card is one of exceedingly rare Pokémon cards that may sell for six figures even without a flawless 10 PSA grade.

3.9. 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer

Are you ready for the introduction of one of the rarest cards ever? Welcome 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer! 

1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer

1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer

Only the winners of the 1999 Secret Super Battle Tournament in Tokyo - which took place at a top-secret location, received this extremely uncommon Pokémon card.

Recent value at auction:

  • $90,000 - An astonishing price for this card with 10 graded by PSA, making it to be one of the most valuable Pokémon cards.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • There are just 8 graded copies in the PSA register.
  • There are 6 PSA 10’s and 2 PSA 9’s.

With its feature of Mewtwo, this card is more desirable in the TCG community.

3.10. 2005 Pokémon Japanese Play Promo 70,000 Pts Holo Gold Star Umbreon

This card can be the answer for the question "What is the rarest Pokémon card?".

2005 Pokémon Japanese Play Promo 70,000 Pts Holo Gold Star Umbreon

2005 Pokémon Japanese Play Promo 70,000 Pts Holo Gold Star Umbreon

After four seasons, Pokémon Player's Club members needed to accumulate over 70,000 experience points to receive this card. Trainers also have a lot of matches to win in addition to traveling physically to events.

Recent value at auction:

  • $70,000 - With a BGS grade of 9.5, this is an unbelievable price for this card.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Difficulty of acquiring over 70,000 points.
  • One of only two cards in the whole world have received a BGS grade of 9.5.
  • Only 17 cards with PSA 10 (24 graded copies exist at PSA.

Due to the difficulty in obtaining this card, it is one of the rarest and most coveted Japanese Pokémon cards.

3.11. 1998 Tamamushi University Magikarp Prize

"What is the rarest Pokémon card?" - "Tamamushi University Magikarp Prize with only 14 PSA 10’s exist!" 

1998 Tamamushi University Magikarp Prize

1998 Tamamushi University Magikarp Prize

In 1998, when students enrolled and passed a series of tests, Shogakukan Celadon University offered them the opportunity to become Certified Pokémon Professors. Excellent students received this certification and a card after submitting their assignments to the university for grading.

Recent value at auction:

  • $66,100 - This is the final price for this card at an auction in February 2021.

Why does this card become extremely rare?

  • Only 14 PSA 10’s exist.

With little PSA 10 in existence, there is no doubt that this card is truly rare in the entire world!

4. Conclusion

Above are the top 10+ rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards. I guess you guys can now find the answer for yourself: "What is the rarest Pokémon card?" or "What is the most expensive Pokémon card?". Through this blog, you can also discover more uncommon Pokémon cards and find out what Pokémon cards are worth money.

However, it's crucial to keep in mind that trading cards have more appeal than just their monetary value; millions of people all around the world still hold them in high regard. These elements, along with the memories they evoke, add to the value of the cards and the pleasure they give collectors and fans alike.

For more information on collectibles and upcoming Pokémon sets, keep checking Japan Figure! Happy collecting, and may your collection keep expanding, changing, and bringing you innumerable smiles!

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