The 10 Most Expensive Pokemon Card Sales of All time
Photographer: Sara Stathas/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Pictured: Pokemon Cards
Most Expensive Pokemon Cards of All Time
|1. Illustrator Pikachu PSA 10*||$5.275 Million|
|2. Sealed First Edition Pokemon Boxes*||$3.5 Million|
|3. Illustrator Pikachu PSA 9||$840,000|
|4. Illustrator Pikachu PSA 7||$720,000|
|5. Shadowless Sealed First Edition Booster Box||$432,000|
|T6. First Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard PSA 10||$420,000|
|T6. Steve Aoki’s Raw Illustrator Pikachu||$420,000|
|8. First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box||$384,000|
|9. Illustrator Pikachu PSA 7||$375,000|
|10. Blastoise Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram, CGC 8.5||$360,000|
*denotes private sale
The collecting bump from the COVID-19 pandemic not only affected sports cards, it also led to skyrocketing values of Pokemon cards, particularly the most rare cards from either the first edition in 1999 or rare promo cards.
First generation Pokemon collectors were now in their late 20s to mid 30s. No one did more for Pokemon hype than influencer-turned-boxer Logan Paul, who tops the list at No. 1 and No. 2 below.
1. Illustrator Pikachu, PSA 10, $5,275,000
You will find the Illustrator Pikachu card dominates our list. There were only 39 made and they were released in Japan as part of a prize for the Pokemon Illustration Contest in 1998. The artwork was done by Atsuko Nishida, who was one of the designers of the Pikachu.
PSA has graded 24 Illustrator Pikachu cards and there is only one 10. Logan Paul flew to Dubai to buy this card and then wore it around his neck at 2022 Wrestlemania.
2. Sealed Case Of First Edition Pokemon Boxes, $3.5 Million
Logan Paul made news when he paid $3.5 million for a sealed first edition case of Pokemon boxes. There was initially skepticism that it could be fake until BCEE, which certifies sealed boxes, gave their blessing that they thought that the entire outside was original.
At some point, Paul didn’t feel good enough about it, so he opened up the packaging, risking hundreds of thousands in diminishing value, to find out that he had been had. In front of BCEE executives, to their horror, the big box was filled with smaller boxes that didn’t have Pokemon, but $10 boxes of G.I. Joe.
Paul reportedly got his money back, but the guy who sold it to him is still looking for his money.
3. Illustrator Pikachu, PSA 9, $840,000,
With only one 10, an Illustrator Pikachu 9 came on the market in June 2022. And despite the downturn in cards, this one shined, getting nearly $850,000 at Heritage Auctions.
4. Illustrator Pikachu, PSA 7, $720,000
Originally sold for $900,000 at Goldin Auctions in February 2022 and billed as the most expensive public sale ever, the buyer backed out. It was then offered to the remaining bidders, one of whom took it at the discount. Still an extraordinary number for the grade.
5. Shadowless Sealed First Edition Booster Box, $432,000
With the Shadowless Charizard as the key card, buying raw boxes and going hunting became fashionable. There’s so few of them, so it only needs a couple bidders. This one sold in November 2021 at PWCC with the COVID bump still alive and the crypto market on fire.
T6. First Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard, PSA 10, $420,000
The market was still hopping in March 2022, as this sale set a record for the price paid for a first edition base card. PSA has graded 3,626 shadowless holo Charizards from this set and only 121 of them are graded a 10. The Charizard is the most coveted because it has the highest attack of power of any of the original Pokemon cards.
T6. Steve Aoki’s Raw Illustrator Pikachu, $420,000
In February 2021, DJ Steve Aoki, who went all into cards, plunked down $420,000 for a beautiful Illustrator Pikachu that was ungraded. Aoki graded it and received a 9, a risk that seems to have paid off. Based on the auction 15 months later, he at least doubled his money.
8. First Edition Base Set Sealed Booster Box, $384,000
These boxes were released in January of 1999 and include 102 cards in each set. There are 396 cards in the box.
9. Illustrator Pikachu, PSA 7, $375,000
In Feb. 2021, this Illustrator card sold for less than half at PWCC of what the same grade did on Goldin a year later. So much Pokemon talk and hype undoubtedly helped.
10. Blastoise Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram, CGC 8.5, $360,000
One of two copies produced, Heritage sold this in January of 2021. It was produced by ‘Wizards of the Coast’ in mid-1998. It was used as a presentation piece to get Nintendo’s approval to print Pokemon cards in English.
First Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard, PSA 10, $350,100
It was quite a rise for the first edition shadowless Charizard. In October 2020, Rapper Logic spent $220,574 for the card. A month later, the record was broken at $295,300 and then one month after that, it was broken again as this PWCC card was sold on eBay for a then-record.
First Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard, PSA 10, $349,995
If you can’t afford an Illustrator, the next rarest card is the shadowless holo Charizard from the 1999 base set. Make sure you know the difference between a shadowless and a regular holo. PSA has graded 34,617 regular holos and less than 10 percent of that for the shadowless. A regular holo from the base set sells for around $10,000.