The 10 rarest Pokemon cards of all time

Pokemon card collectors often hunt for the rarest cards in each set, but here are the rarest Pokemon Cards in the entire franchise.

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Pokémon games are often big money, with collectors going out of their way to purchase titles that can be hard to get. When it comes to the Pokémon Card Game, most often, it is the mistakes that lead to cards being valuable. These misprints only happen on a handful of cards, making them highly collectible and, of course, very expensive. If you’re desperate to catch every Pokémon card you can and have plenty of money to spare, here are the ten rarest cards Pokémon cards in existence.

Related: 10 most expensive Pokémon cards

The ten rarest Pokemon cards ever

Most of these cards on this list are rare because they were given out as part of a tournament prize or because they contained printing errors. Like the video games that spawned them, some have become rarer as time passes, and there are fewer opportunities to purchase them. Getting your hands on any of them will cost you a significant amount of money, though.

10) 1996 Japanese Base Set Venusaur with no Rarity Symbol

Image via PWCC

Most Japanese Pokémon cards come with a symbol in the bottom right that signifies how rare it is. However, the rarest of them are missing this mark and have become known as No Rarity. Combining that factor with a first edition print of the game in 1996, and you get this Venusaur card. Finding a No Rarity first edition Venusaur card in mint condition is very difficult, as only five are believed to have been traded ever. This particular card sold for $55,000 back in November 2021, a price that was increased by the fact that the card’s illustrator signed its case.

9) 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind

Image via PWCC

Back in 1999, players gathered together to compete in the Tropical Mega Battle tournament, which would eventually become the Pokémon World Championships. This illustrious tournament saw 50 players from all around the world take part, but only the top 12 received the Tropical Wind card as a prize. Only a dozen of these cards were ever created, which explains why it causes such excitement when one shows up in the marketplace. In October 2020, one sold at auction for over $65,000.

8) 1999 Super Secret Battle No. 1 Trainer

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This one was another prize at a Pokémon tournament. This time, the card was awarded to the finalists of the Super Secret Battle tournament held in Tokyo in 1999. It had a holographic back and bore a message inviting them to the finals. Only seven of these cards are believed to have been made, so finding them on the market seldom happens. The last time that happened was in July 2020, when the card sold for $90,000.

7) 2006 Pokémon World Championships Promo No. 2 Trainer

Image via PWCC

Only three of these cards were awarded to players at the Pokémon World Championships in California in 2006. They were given to those who earned enough points during the tournament to advance to the finals of their divisions. This incredible rarity, combined with the prestige of winning them, means that a mint condition card sold for over $110,000 in February 2021.

6) 2000 Pokemon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Lugia #9

Image via PWCC

Lugia is one of the Gen II Legendary Pokemon, so it makes sense that it would have a legendary card to go with it. This card is so rare because of the number of errors and misprints that were included on the card. Auction house PWCC has claimed that only 41 of these cards have ever been graded, with only three earning the highest condition grading. A Pristine copy of this card sold for more than $144,000 in May 2021 in what was described as probably the last time that such an item would make it to auction.

5) Kangaskan #115 Family Event Card

Image via PWCC

Considering the subject on this card, it makes sense that it was awarded to a parent and child team at a tournament. Three copies were awarded to teams at the 1998 Parent/Child Mega Battle tournament 1998. Those who made it to the final were awarded this valuable card. When it made it to market in October 2020, it sold for $150,000.

4) Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card

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This is one of the newest cards on this list. In April 2021, this remarkable card made it to market and fetched more than $247,000. It depicts the founder of Pokémon Company and its president Tsunekazu Ishihara and was printed to celebrate his 60th birthday in 2017. The card was given to company staff as part of that celebration. What makes this card so much rarer and more valuable is the fact that Ishihara signed the card, making it an incredible piece of Pokémon history.

3) 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard

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Sometimes the smallest error can make a card soar in value. This card, which was the Shiny version of a fan-favorite character, has everything going for it. It is a first-edition card and is in near-mint condition, which is rare considering its age. The icing on the cake is the lack of a shadow underneath Charizard’s form. This error makes this one of the rarest Pokémon cards of all time and boosted its selling price to $420,000 in March 2022.

2) Illustrator Pikachu

Image via Logan Paul YouTube Channel

We’re going to warn you that there is a big jump in price on this one. It makes sense that the most expensive and rare Pokemon card of all time would feature fan-favorite Pikachu. Only 39 copies of this card were given out back in 1997-98 by a Japanese magazine as part of an art competition, but only 23 have ever surfaced online. It marks the recipient as an Illustrator rather than Trainer, something unique among these rare cards.

How much did this card go for? The most recent auction saw it purchased for $5.275 million back in July 2021, purchased by YouTuber Logan Paul. This might not be the rarest Pokemon card of all time, but it is certainly the most expensive.

1) Pokemon Blastoise #009 Commissioned Galaxy Star Hologram

Image via Heritage Auctions

Not all the cards on this list were intended to make it to market. This one, which sold for $360,000 in January 2021, was created as part of a pair by the makers of Magic: The Gathering to convince Nintendo executives to let them handle the card game’s English release. Only two were created, but just one has ever been seen at auction, making this the rarest Pokémon card of all time.