It feels like almost every day reports surface of the next record-breaking sale or trade within Pokemon TCG. With a large number of trades occurring in private and information drip-fed through sources, it’s easy to get mistaken when discussing the last “record” sale. This list will take you through the top 10 most expensive Pokemon card deals ever.
Before we begin, huge thanks to @poke_mafa for helping put together this list, these values are based on public knowledge and have either been recorded through official auctions or publicly on social media.
In the past, we’ve reported instances where buyers don’t pay after shill bidding attempts and I, therefore, feel like a reference to the biggest sales and trades in Pokemon history would benefit the community for future instances where information is falsely reported.
10. CGC 8.5 Prototype Blastoise (Heritage Auctions) – $360,000
Starting off the most expensive Pokemon card list, a CGC 8.5 prototype Blastoise card used as a “presentation” piece by Wizards of the Coast to seek Nintendo’s approval to bring Pokemon cards to the English market. This card is one of two known to exist in the world with original artwork by Ken Sugimori printed on Magic The Gathering! Card stock. This CGC 8.5 sold for $360,000 via Heritage Auctions in January this year.
9. SGC Gold Label Pristine 10 1st Edition Charizard (Goldin Auctions) – $369,000
SGC is better known for sports card grading but this 1st Edition Base Set Charizard sold for $369,000 on Goldin Auctions at the tail end of 2020. The card is certified by MBA (Mike Baker Authenticated) and was given a Black Diamond certification which is only given to the most pristine cards. This card is the only one in existence to be graded through these companies and is a prime example of purchasing a card, not a grade thanks to its near-perfect condition.
8. Pikachu Trophy 2nd Silver 2nd (1997) (@Mister_Fuji @PokemonRadar Trade) – $370,000
In March 2020, Pokemon Radar flew to Dubai to record a monumental trade with renowned Japanese Pokemon Collector, Mister Fuji. The trade was valued at around $370,000 at the time with Mister Fuji receiving a PSA Authentic Altered Silver 1997 Pikachu Trophy card in exchange for a PSA 10 Shadowless Charizard and other items including a guaranteed Shadowless Booster Box. The Trophy card itself is one of the rarest in the hobby as it was handed out in very small quantities during Pokemon TCG’s first-ever tournament to competitors who came second.
7. PSA 7 Pikachu Illustrator (PWCC Auctions) – $375,000
We’ve discussed the Pikachu Illustrator at length on this website and this appearance will not be the last on this list. PWCC Auctions had a very special block of cards listed on eBay for Pokemon’s 25th anniversary in February 2021. The headline act of that auction was the first publicly auctioned Pikachu Illustrator in the Western world for years. The card sold for $375,000 which was somewhat less than expected by the wider public. The Pikachu Illustrator is considered the “Holy Grail” of Pokemon cards yet to be perfectly honest, all of the cards on this list are. PSA has 18 graded versions of this card on their population report, with one PSA 10 in existence.
6. PSA 10 1st Edition Base Charizard (Goldin Auctions) – $399,000
The card that is showcased everywhere on the internet as the “Holy Grail” of Pokemon is surprisingly only sixth on this list. Showcasing Charizard for the first time in English, this card has been at the forefront of Pokemon TCG’s boom over the last 12 months. Logan Paul purchased one in October 2020 for $150,000 and now these cards are valued around the $400,000 mark. This particular card sold on Goldin Auctions in December for $399,000.
5. Ungraded Pikachu Illustrator (Yahoo Auctions Steve Aoki) – $420,000
In February 2021, American DJ Steve Aoki purchased a raw ungraded Pikachu Illustrator from Japan for $420,000. Due to the rarity of these cards, the price is incredibly hard to determine for a raw card yet he was rewarded when the card graded as a PSA 9 just a few weeks later. Another Pikachu Illustrator on the list, are you seeing a pattern yet?
4. PSA 10 Topsun Charizard Blue Back (Goldin Auctions) – $490,000
Trades and private deals aside, this is the most expensive Pokemon card in history. Sold via Goldin Auctions, this “No number” Charizard card is the first appearance of Charizard in any language. Although the card shows a 1995 date on its PSA slab, it was originally distributed in 1997 across Japan via packets of gum. Each pack included two pieces of gum and two Topsun cards. This particular card is the very rare “Blue Back” variant and is an error card missing a number in the top left for the Pokémon. Since this sale, another PSA 10 has appeared on the PSA registry making this one of only two in the world. This is the current king of Charizard cards. Since writing this article, the exact same copy of this card sold for a whopping $300,000 loss.
3. PSA 10 Pikachu Trophy 1st place (1999) (@teng.g5 @OnlyCollectables trade) – $700k/$800k
The first of two trades including @OnlyCollectables on this most expensive Pokemon card list and the most recent deal to feature. @teng.g5 received the only PSA 10 of this card in existence in exchange for some incredible cards that must be seen to be appreciated. The video showing one side of the deal including a PSA 10 1st Edition Charizard as well as a PSA 7 Trophy Kanghaskan to name a few can be found here. As we continue forward with this list, videos showcase the number of cards in each trade better than a written list.
2. Ungraded Pikachu Illustrator (@149montblanc @Onlycollectables trade) – $800k+
Last week, we reported that CGC graded their first-ever Pikachu Illustrator and that card came from this groundbreaking trade from March. We were incredibly excited at the time to reveal this trade and would encourage you to head over to this article for all the information you need. Yet another Pikachu Illustrator on the list, and currently the only CGC Trading Card Pikachu Illustrator in the world.
1. PSA 9 Pikachu illustrator (@poke_mafa trade) – $900k
When Marco (@poke_mafa) posted a picture of his PSA 9 Pikachu Illustrator in December, social media went into overdrive. With only 8 in PSA’s population report and one PSA 10 that has never been shown publicly, this card is as close to the top as possible. To receive such an incredible piece of history and currently the most expensive Pokemon card publicly revealed, Marco exchanged the following cards worth an estimated $900,000 at the time:
PSA 10 1st Edition Base Charizard, BGS 9.5 No Rarity Charizard, PSA 10 Shadowless Charizard, PSA 10 Charizard FPO, PSA 9 Auto 10 Ken Sugimori Charizard CD Promo, PSA 10 1st Edition Shining Charizard, PSA 10 Expedition Holo Charizard, PSA 10 Skyridge Crystal Charizard, Ungraded E1 UED Charizard, and a trio of Pikachu Trophy Sketches
Now that we’ve made it to the bottom of this list, these are the current publicly revealed most expensive Pokemon card deals in history. This list is up-to-date as of writing this article (20/04/21) and will hopefully be used as a guideline to determine future sales records. Any other reported sale such as the PWCC Auction of a PSA 10 1st Edition Base Charizard that sold for over $500,000 are yet to be paid for or factually incorrect. With the substantial continued growth in the hobby, this list may be out of date by next week, if that’s the case please reach out and we’ll do our best to continuously update to make sure this is a definitive guide.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor-in-Chief