From Pikachu to Payday: Here are the Pokémon Cards that could make you rich!

Do you have any of these extraordinary Pokémon Trading Cards? Well, my friend, you might just be holding a golden ticket to fortune!

Pokémon has taken the world by storm for over two decades, captivating our hearts through video games, animated series, and merchandise galore.

And now, with the likes of Pokémon GO, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and a brand-new animated series, the Pokémon frenzy is stronger than ever!

pokemon cards rare

But let’s cut to the chase, my fellow treasure hunters. With more than 20 years of Pokémon Trading Cards history, there are countless hidden gems waiting to be discovered. And if you’re lucky enough to possess one of the eleven rare cards we’re about to unveil, you could be in for a life-changing payday!

So, put aside thoughts of saving these cards for future generations and embark on an exciting journey to uncover the potential fortunes of your childhood self. Here are 12 Rare Pokémon Cards that could fill your pockets with joy and riches!

Charizard Base Set (PSA Graded, 1st Edition)

1. Charizard Base Set (PSA Graded, 1st Edition): Estimated value, $3,000 to  $450,000 +

Ah, Charizard—the holy grail of Pokémon that sent collectors into a frenzy during the late ’90s Pokémon craze. While shiny Venusaur and Blastoise cards made appearances, it was the majestic Charizard that stole the show.

Even today, fans still experience a surge of excitement when they uncover this legendary card in the reprinted XY Evolutions set. Though the value hasn’t skyrocketed as much as some hoarders hoped, a mint condition, first-edition Charizard graded by PSA could be worth a cool $1000 – $2000.

Shining Charizard – Neo Destiny (PSA Graded, 1st Edition)

2. Shining Charizard – Neo Destiny (PSA Graded, 1st Edition): Estimated Value, $800 – $3000

Just a few years after the Charizard Base Set craze, another Charizard card emerged to bewitch collectors’ hearts. Introducing Shining Charizard from the Neo Destiny set—a special and rare alternative depicting a mesmerizing shiny Charizard.

This card, with its attack requiring five energy, stood out as an extraordinary rarity in its time. The Neo Destiny cards were produced in smaller quantities due to the waning Pokémon card craze, making them harder to come by. Among the myriad of shiny Pokémon editions, it’s the Charizard that continues to captivate collectors’ souls.

Pokemon Snap Chansey

3. 1999 Pokémon Japanese 64 Mario Stadium Best Photo Contest Chansey Estimated value $63,000 +

In a delightful celebration of Pokémon Snap’s launch on the beloved Nintendo 64, not one but two enchanting contests were held, inviting players to share their most treasured snapshots from the game. The grand prize? The chance to immortalize their photographic prowess on official Pokémon cards!

Among these prestigious competitions was a special endeavor sponsored by the illustrious Nintendo-backed Japanese TV sensation, 64 Mario Stadium. Spanning from 1993 to 2000, this remarkable show awarded five fortunate winners the extraordinary honor of receiving a staggering 15 copies of their victorious entry. These precious cards, limited to a mere 15 in total, have become the stuff of dreams, adorned with an unparalleled rarity that renders them virtually unattainable.

Enter the remarkable Kaori Someya, whose talent and keen eye for beauty captured the essence of Chansey in a breathtaking masterpiece. Their awe-inspiring snapshot soared to victory, earning a place among the privileged few. Then, in a remarkable turn of events, one copy of this precious gem found its way into the auction spotlight in December 2022, fetching an astonishing sum of $63,000 (£51,590). And truly, it comes as no surprise, for this singular card stands as the sole survivor of its kind, a beacon of irreplaceable magnificence, preserved in nearly flawless condition.

'Let's Trade Please' rare pokemon cards

4. Let’s Trade Please! – Promo: Estimated value, $90 +

Cast your mind back to 1998—a golden era in Pokémon history. During that time, a promotion in Japan allowed devoted fans to trade two Pokémon cards in exchange for the Let’s Trade Please promotional card, along with a promo Venusaur, Charizard, or Blastoise.

This particular card holds a special place in the Pokémon TCG, being one of only two cards with a holographic back.

Its fascinating artwork was masterfully crafted by none other than the Pokémon TCG mascot, ‘Imakuni?’. The limited time available to obtain this promo has made it a rare gem. While not the most expensive card on our list, it possesses a rarity that should not be underestimated.

5. Base Set Booster Box – Black Triangle Error: Estimated Value, $8,700 + for a sealed box, $1300 + for a booster pack

For dedicated collectors, buying cards in bulk can prove highly cost-effective. Many choose to acquire an entire booster box, keeping it sealed with the hope that its value will soar over the years as the set becomes increasingly elusive. Needless to say, older Pokémon booster boxes can fetch thousands of dollars on eBay.

Recently, the renowned Pokémon TCG YouTuber Unlisted Leaf stumbled upon a once-in-a-lifetime surprise. Little did he know (or the person who sold it to him), he had acquired a sealed Base Set

box featuring a rare gem—the Black Triangle Error. These boxes are considered some of the rarest in existence. What sets them apart is the presence of black triangles over the ‘first edition’ label on the booster packets, indicating that the printing factory had ceased production of first editions.

Rumour has it that these black triangle packets were printed for only a few hours. A sealed box of this caliber is valued at around $11,000, but the true revelation of the black triangle packets lies hidden within, waiting to be unveiled upon breaking the seal.

Gold Star Cards

6. Gold Star Cards: Estimated value, $3,550.00 to  $27,493.90 +

Following the footsteps of the iconic Shining cards from the Neo Revelation and Neo Destiny expansions, Gold Star Pokémon cards emerged in later sets, becoming the holy grail for collectors. These illustrious cards showcase the shimmering, alternate-colored variants of Pokémon and are incredibly scarce.

Legend has it that the odds of finding a Gold Star card in a booster box are as slim as one or maybe two. The most coveted Gold Star cards are the Japanese Eevee evolution cards, exclusively awarded to members of the prestigious Pokémon Players Club. With a golden star adorning the Pokémon’s name, these cards hold immeasurable value.

Espeon Gold Star


7. Espeon Gold Star: Estimated value, $1600 +

Prepare yourself, for we are about to unveil the crème de la crème of Gold Star Pokémon cards—the Japanese Espeon Gold Star.

This elusive gem could easily be considered the pinnacle of Pokémon card collecting. Members of the revered Japanese Daisuki club had to earn an arduous amount of points through various activities to claim this precious shiny Espeon card.

The difficulty of obtaining this card in its country of origin has elevated its value to staggering heights. While an English version of this card still fetches a hefty sum, the Japanese variant reigns supreme in terms of desirability and worth.

Pre-Release Raichu

8. Pre-Release Raichu: Estimated value, $10,000 +

In the lead-up to the second expansion of Pokémon cards, aptly named Jungle, an astonishing printing error occurred—a ‘PRERELEASE’ Raichu card was mistakenly created. These rare cards were rumoured to have been printed alongside the pre-release Clefable card (which, interestingly enough, is actually part of the Jungle set).

Wizards of the Coast, the company responsible for manufacturing Pokémon cards at the time, initially denied the existence of this card, only for one of their staff members to release an image of it in 2006. Out of the approximately 100 cards produced in error, it is believed that a mere ten cards have survived the test of time, as most of them were regrettably destroyed.

Owning one of these ten remaining treasures would undoubtedly make you the envy of collectors far and wide.

Number 1-3 Trainer/World Championship cards

9. Number 1-3 Trainer/World Championship Cards: Estimated value, Unknown

Since the inception of the Pokémon TCG, official competitions have been an integral part of the Pokémon experience. As a reward for emerging victorious in these prestigious tournaments, players were bestowed with super-exclusive Pokémon cards, including the exceedingly rare No. 1 – 3 Trainer cards, World Championship Trainer cards, and the illustrious Trophy Pikachu.

Participants had to demonstrate their skills and dedication, attending and excelling at competitions, or even working as staff members, to secure these limited-print cards. While some trainers hold onto these cards as cherished mementos of their accomplishments, a select few find their way into the hands of collectors, enticing them with their undeniable rarity.

Shaymin EX: Roaring Skies Pokémon

10. Shaymin EX: Roaring Skies: Estimated value, $50 – $100 +

In the fast-paced world of competitive Pokémon TCG, one card stands out as a must-have for players seeking an edge: Shaymin EX. Despite its relatively recent release, this card has quickly become a highly coveted addition to any deck.

What sets Shaymin EX apart is its extraordinary ability to draw cards until you have six in your hand upon playing it to your bench. But that’s not all. With its powerful move, Sky Return, you can effortlessly return Shaymin EX and all attached cards back to your hand, wiping away any damage counters inflicted upon it. This strategic maneuver allows you to recycle the card repeatedly, making it a formidable challenge to eliminate from play.

With approximately another year remaining in the competitive TCG legal set (although whispers of a potential re-print circulate), many players are eager to secure this invaluable card for their decks. The Roaring Skies Booster Boxes, which hold no guarantee of containing Shaymin EX, command a staggering price range of £100-£250. These prices soar above the typical rates of recent booster box releases, reflecting the tremendous demand for this game-changing card.

If you’re serious about taking your Pokémon TCG skills to new heights, obtaining Shaymin EX is an investment that could prove indispensable. So join the ranks of ambitious trainers who seek this coveted card, and prepare to elevate your gameplay to unparalleled levels. Good luck on your quest to capture the power of Shaymin EX!

11. Pokémon Snap Cards/Pokémon Art Academy Cards: Estimated value, $30 to $35,000 +

Pokémon Snap and Pokémon Art Academy have both served as platforms for captivating Pokémon TCG artwork competitions. In the nostalgic era of Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64, players embarked on thrilling adventures to capture Pokémon in their natural habitats.

The best snapshots were chosen to adorn Pokémon cards, credited to the talented artists behind them.

However, due to the limited quantity produced, determining the exact value of these Pokémon Snap cards proves to be a challenging endeavor. Fast forward to 2014-2015, when Pokémon Art Academy allowed aspiring artists to showcase their skills.

The winners of this competition were rewarded with 100 Pokémon promo cards featuring their very own designs. As these winning cards are scarce and cherished by their creators, stumbling upon them for sale is akin to finding a hidden treasure. Best of luck scouring the depths of eBay in search of these elusive collector’s items.

Pokémon Snap Cards/Pokémon Art Academy Cards

12. Illustrator: Estimated value, $195,000 +

Prepare yourself for the grand finale, the pièce de résistance of Pokémon cards—the illustrious Pokémon Illustrator card. This promotional card was a prestigious accolade awarded exclusively to the winners of a Pokémon Card Game contest held in the renowned Japanese magazine CoroCoro. With a mere 39 cards in circulation, this gem is a true rarity among rarities.

The Pokémon Illustrator card stands out with its unique distinction, replacing the customary ‘Trainer’ title with the moniker ‘Illustrator.’ Furthermore, it features a pen symbol denoting its membership in the exclusive set series.

In a private auction held last year in California, this legendary card fetched an astonishing price of over $54,000, solidifying its status as the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. Owning this card would undoubtedly place you in the upper echelons of Pokémon card collectors, a symbol of prestige and reverence.

There you have it, a tantalizing collection of 11 rare Pokémon cards that possess the power to turn your childhood memories into a fortune. So before you dismiss those old shoeboxes filled with Pokémon Trading Cards, take a moment to dig through them and see if you’re holding one of these extraordinary treasures.

Who knows, you might just unearth a hidden gem worth thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. So unleash your inner Poké-detective and embark on a quest to discover the priceless Pokémon cards that could make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. Happy hunting, trainers!

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