Pokemon TCG – A history of gold cards

Pokemon Gold cards

Gold Pokemon cards have been on everyone’s mind lately. The Ultra-Premium Collection was released, a Charizard from it got graded a PSA 10, the auction for it got shilled to high heaven, and now it’s relisted again. All good fun.

Gold cards have been around in one form or another for a large part of the game’s history, some types of gold cards have shown up so often they’ve just become something expected and (in my opinion) have lost some of the excitement. Some other types of gold cards we only see once in a blue moon. So, with the hope that the site’s editor has enough gifs on hand from Austin Powers and Spandau Ballet, let’s go through the history of gold cards.

The first card that resembles what we now think of as gold cards was Rocky Helmet back in Boundaries Crossed. It seems like an odd choice, but the card started out within another subset of cards. Since Next Destinies each set had a few secret cards, of shiny Pokemon with a gold border and some gold features on the card layout. The gold was subtle, and all of the focus was on the shiny Pokemon. Rocky Helmet was simply the first trainer card to be part of this set, and as there was no special shiny form to draw the eye, the amount of gold of the card was heavily ramped up. This treatment continued across the next few sets with Random Receiver in Plasma Storm, Max Potion and Ultra Ball in Plasma Freeze, and finally Rare Candy in Plasma Blast.

The next set, Legendary Treasures did not give us any golden trainers but did introduce us to a new type of gold card. The two secret rares of the set were Reshiram and Zekrom, and outside of energy symbols and text the cards were entirely gold. Some nice fancy textured gold. I do like these cards, and I especially like that the style has only been repeated a handful of times throughout the game (pretend that I whispered that bit in case The Pokemon Company hears and decides to put twelve of them in the next set).

XY started off the era without any gold sightings for the first few sets, the closest thing was Phantom Forces giving us a very nice silver Dialga in the same style as the Reshiram and Zekrom. Primal Clash then dropped and gave us four nice new golden trainers as secret rares. Two more in Roaring Skies, and two more in Ancient Origins which gave us a nice little golden subset before the rest of the era.

Then Sun & Moon came along and ran the idea into the ground. That could honestly be the tagline for the entire Sun & Moon and Sword & Shield eras no matter what the subject matter. They took an idea and did it again and again until no one cared about it anymore. While there was energy now included in the gold section too, the number of golds ramped up. The Sun & Moon base set had six, the majority of sets in the era had nine, and the grand total for the era crept up into three figures. Within that, we did at least get to see some “all over” gold cards, with two in Ultra Prism, one in Dragons Majesty, and a couple of Black Star Promos.

Pokemon Gold cards

Sword & Shield decided that we needed more Pokemon as gold cards, so introduced those into the mix as well. They are shiny versions of Pokemon, similar to the secret rares of the Black & White era, but fully immersed in the golden style. This isn’t instead of any of the other gold cards, of course, this is in addition to. The record of nine gold cards in a set (which was held by five different Sun & Moon sets) has been smashed, and now Chilling Reign and Evolving Skies sit together at the top of the leaderboard with twelve each. It is just getting stupid now, isn’t it?

But of course, we come full circle and reach the Celebrations Ultra-Premium Collection and a collection that included four gold Pokemon cards, across two different styles. The first two, a Pikachu V and a Pokeball, aren’t hugely different from the cards we’ve seen in the past. Almost entirely gold with texture changes showing the design. Definitely a fan. The other two gold cards are where all the attention has been focused. For a start they aren’t even cards, they’re made of much thicker and sturdier material (they feel like metal, but I have no idea if that’s plating and I’m not about to cut one up and find out).

The two cards in question, are a Base Set Pikachu and a Base Set Charizard. They honestly look like nothing we’ve ever seen before (except the Japanese Base Set Pikachu they made out of actual gold and sold for thousands of dollars). My only hope for these is that they never do it again. It was a perfect idea for the 25th Anniversary, and it needs to stay that way. Any future releases of cards in this style will only serve to lessen the ongoing impact of these two.

Dan Norton – DJGigabyte

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