The 10 Most Valuable First Edition Pokemon Cards
What Is A First Edition Pokemon Card?
First Edition Pokemon cards are vintage Pokemon cards that were included in the first print run of their designated set. This was a feature that continued to be printed on cards during Wizards of the Coast’s management of Pokemon card printing from 1999 to 2003. Because of this, First Edition Pokemon cards cannot be found in sets beyond the year 2003 when Nintendo took over from Wizards of the Coast.
An Array Of First Edition Pokemon Cards
How Can You Tell If A Pokemon Card Is First Edition?
A First Edition Pokemon card can be identified by a small, black, circular stamp with the number “1” on it that reads “EDITION” above it on the bottom left corner of the card’s art. This can also be verified by the lack of a shadow on the right border of the card’s art as well as copyright dates ranging from 1995 to 1999.
First Edition Pokemon Stamp
Are First Edition Cards Worth Anything?
First Edition Pokemon cards are very rare but even within the First Edition cards themselves, there are varying degrees of rarity and value. For one, common and uncommon cards (indicated by the shape of the stamp on the bottom right corner of the card), although they are undoubtedly rare cards and will sell for more than any modern common or uncommon card, they won’t sell for half as much as basically any First Edition holographic card. Every single First Edition holographic card (and that means every single one) is worth a few hundred dollars in a PSA 10.
What Is A PSA 10?
Throughout this post, we are going to be throwing around the term “PSA 10” which might sound like complete nonsense if you’re not familiar with Pokemon collecting so we’ll clear this up quickly. PSA stands for Professional Sports Authenticator and is a grading company for collectible items from trading cards to FUNKO POP figures. They grade cards on a scale from 1 – 10 (10 being the best) and grade them according to a few things. These things include the centering of the card, the quality of the print (especially in the case of foil cards), scuffs or scratches, warping or bends in the card, and staining. Once it is graded, the card is put into a hard plastic case with a label that states the grade of the card. Having a card in a PSA 10 case can massively increase the value of the card as you will see further into this article.
More First Edition Pokemon Cards
#10 Shadowless Base Set Magneton
This holographic card comes from the 1999 base set of Pokemon cards and features the first generation electric type Magnemite evolution: Magneton. It is shadowless meaning it lacks the shadow on the right border of the card which was considered an “error” in a few of the print runs of the set which vastly increases the value of the card. Ungraded these have sold for around $130 but in a PSA 10 one recently sold for $17,000.
Shadowless Base Set Magenton
#9 Shadowless Base Set Raichu
If only this were a Pikachu, the value of the card would likely shoot up by thousands. Unfortunately, however, there was no holographic Pikachu in the base set of Pokemon so the fans had to settle for a first edition, holographic Raichu instead. Ungraded these can sell for up to $200 and in a PSA 10, they have sold for $17,100.
Shadowless Base Set Raichu
#8 Neo Destiny Shining Charizard
This is one of only two entries on this list that aren’t a part of the base set of Pokemon as this one comes from 2002 set Neo Destiny, just a year before first editions stopped running. If you don’t already know this about Pokemon, all the Pokemon Company has to do is slap a Charizard on a card and it will likely sell for top dollar and this card is no exception. Ungraded, these cards are already insanely hard to get a hold of, ranging anywhere between $1000 – $2000 but put this card in a PSA 10 and it’s a whole different story. In a PSA 10, the First Edition Shining Charizard has sold for $20,000.
First Edition Shining Charizard
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#7 Shadowless Base Set Mewtwo
Everyone’s favorite telekinetic alien thing is pretty valuable if you have a First Edition, shadowless version of it. In fact, chances are you have seen or even at one point owned (if you are a 90s kid) one of these holographic Mewtwos. But it’s not the 90s anymore, so if you still got one of these in mint condition, ungraded it can sell for around $400 and in a PSA 10 it has previously sold for $22,000.
Shadowless Base Set Mewtwo
#6 Shadowless Base Set Hitmonchan
At number 6 we have a bit of a curveball entry that I don’t think many people saw coming considering the vast number of cards I’d rather pull when opening base set Pokemon cards. However, the reason this card is so valuable is that the Hitmonchan itself takes up such a small portion of the card art, meaning that there is foil is clear and fills up more space. This makes it much harder to grade well. In fact, only 56 copies of the card exist in a PSA 10. Speaking of which, ungraded you can probably pick one up for about $200 but as soon as you get that in a PSA 10 case, the card’s value skyrockets up to $23,100.
Shadowless Base Set Hitmonchan
#5 Shadowless Base Set Venesaur
Oh yeah, remember that whole rule about slapping a Charizard on a card and people going wild for it? Well, the same principle applies, although to a lesser degree, to essentially all first-generation starter Pokemon. While it’s common knowledge that nobody on this planet picks grass-type starters, the First Edition, Base Set Venesaur is extremely popular among collectors. You can expect to find one of these ungraded for around $600 but in a PSA 10 this has sold for $25,000.
Shadowless Base Set Venesaur
#4 Shadowless Base Set Chansey
This is another one of those entries that just feels completely out of left field, because, let’s be honest who really likes Chansey that much? Well, it turns out not that many people like Chansey that much but it’s valuable for the same reason as the Hitmonchan. Because of the nature of the card’s art and how vast and clear the foil is, it’s extremely hard to get one in a PSA 10. They are so rare in fact that only 48 exist in a PSA 10. Ungraded they are worth about $200 but in a PSA 10 they are suddenly worth around $36,877.
Shadowless Base Set Chansey
#3 Shadowless Base Set Blastoise
Considering the value of everyone’s least favorite first-generation starter Pokemon, it comes as no surprise that the Blastoise is worth so much as well. But, as well as being a sought-after Pokemon, this card only has a population of roughly 100 in a PSA 10. Because of this, finding one ungraded will probably cost in the ballpark of $420 but in a PSA 10 this card sells for obscene amounts. It recently sold for $45,100 in a PSA 10.
Shadowless Base Set Blastoise
#2 Neo Genesis Holographic Lugia
To the more seasoned collectors, you may already be aware of the reason for this card’s value, but for everyone else, this may come as a massive shock. While Lugia is definitely nostalgic and a fan-favorite legendary to some degree, it certainly isn’t at Charizard level of cards that people want, so what is happening here? It all has to do with the card population, but there’s a reason for this too. Yes as we’ve mentioned before the vast and clear foil already makes the card hard to grade blah blah blah. However, when Neo Genesis dropped in 2000, the first few print runs of the set were irredeemably bad, the printing on the foil was just completely inconsistent and this meant that all of the First Edition prints of the card were just terrible. While they later corrected the printing in the unlimited version of the set, it was too late, the First Edition run was already over leaving there only to be 43 PSA 10 Lugias to exist today and only 3 in a BGS 10. Even finding someone selling an ungraded one is rare but has sold for around $800 in the past. In a BGS 10 however, you better be ready to say goodbye to your mortgage because this card has sold for $144,300.
Non-PSA 10 First Edition Lugia
#1 Shadowless Base Set Charizard
Everyone and their mom have seen this card by now. It’s the poster boy of Pokemon himself, this OG Charizard has been the crown jewel of Pokemon since 1999 and it doesn’t look like it is going anywhere, anytime soon. This card is probably the most popular card of all time among collectors and with good reason. It ticks all the boxes of being a valuable card, it is extremely hard to get a hold of, it’s vintage, it’s First Edition and most importantly of all, it’s a Charizard. The population of the card clocks in at 121 in a PSA 10, which comparatively isn’t that low, but when we’re talking Charizards, that is DEFCON 1 levels of rare. This is why ungraded, the card practically doesn’t exist, but if you do manage to find one it would still cost you around $4000 and in a PSA 10 this card sold for a whopping $350,100.
PSA 10 First Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard
Are All First Edition Pokemon Cards Shadowless?
Yes, all print runs of the base set First Edition Pokemon cards did not feature a shadow on the right border, the shadow was then added in a later print run in the unlimited version of the set.
How Much Are First Edition Packs Worth?
First Edition was a feature that ran for every set (except Base Set 2) until Neo Destiny in 2002. This means that the value of a First Edition pack varies depending on what set you are referring to. The First Edition Base Set packs are likely the most expensive packs, costing around $4000 a pack, but if you look towards first edition jungle packs, they are worth around $400 a pack. A good way of gauging the value of a pack is checking the sold items under the item’s name on eBay.
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What To Read Next
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