What are the rarest and most expensive Pokémon cards ever sold?

Gotta catch 'em all (if you have the money).

The Pokémon Trading Card Game has released thousands of different cards over the past two decades and its multiple iterations. And, while most of the cards are readily available to those looking to add them to their collection, only the wealthiest of collectors can acquire some of the rarest cards out there.

For those avid collectors looking to find these rare Pokémon cards, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars to get your hands on just one of them if you’re lucky enough to find one—and some of them are reaching heights where they can be sold for millions of dollars in private deals.

The increased interest in the Pokémon TCG and collecting the iconic creatures leads to many wondering what rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards out there are? Well, we’ve scoured the internet to find some of those cards to let you know exactly how expensive they are at their peak.

Pikachu Illustrator Promo Card

Image result for Pikachu Illustrator Promo card
Image via The Pokémon Company

The Pikachu Illustrator Pokémon Card was originally given to those who had a winning entry in the Japanese Pokémon Card Game Illustration Contest in 1997. Only six copies were made.

Due to its short print and how old the card is, collectors from across the globe shell out thousands of dollars to get one for themselves. It’s the most sought-after Pokémon card in the world, and for collectors looking to get them all, having one makes you TCG royalty.

One of these cards sold for $224,500 last October when it went up for auction in New York through Weiss Auctions.

20th Anniversary Gold Pikachu Card

Image result for 20th anniversary gold Pikachu card
Image via The Pokémon Company

It’s a Pokémon card that’s forever framed in a special case. The card is also made out of 24k gold after The Pokémon Company collaborated with Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka to bring to life a special version of the base set Pikachu card.

Originally priced at around $2,000 when they hit the market, the limited edition, solid-gold Pikachu card most recently sold for around $9,000 in 2019.

1998 No. 1 Trainer First Place Pikachu Trophy

Photo from eBay via The Pokémon Company

The Trophy Pikachu cards were given out as prizes to TCG players competing in various top-level Pokémon TCG events over the years, but there’s a specific draw to the prize from the 1990s.

These cards are so rare and hard to find that they’re effectively priceless. Only printed in Japanese, a mint version of this card is so highly coveted that players only ask for insane returns for them. The 1998 No. 1 Trainer has been listed on eBay but has been marked up from the expected price of $70,000 all the way to $450,000.

Master’s Key Prize Card

Image result for pokemon Master Key Prize Card
Photo from eBay via The Pokémon Company

Selling for more than $10,000 when they hit the market, The Master Key card is another prize card that’s highly sought after by collectors. This card was awarded to all the competitors from each age division in the TCG and VGC events at the 2010 Japan World Championship.

Only 34 cards of this specific version were printed and it can sell for as high as $21,201, according to the most recent auction involving this card.

Holographic Shadowless First Edition Charizard

1999 Pokemon Charizard HOLO first edition card sold at auction
Image via The Pokémon Company

What do you get when you combine one of the world’s most popular Pokémon, a holographic card, and a host of errors that are a treasure trove to card collectors? You get one of the rarest cards to hit the market.

Depending on the rarity, this Charizard in question can sell from anywhere between $3,000 for a PSA grade 8 to an incredible $55,650 for one PSA 10 that was sold on eBay in 2017. The reason for its rarity is that it’s a holographic card that has an error known as “Shadowless,” which means that it’s missing a shadow in the right of the card’s image that’s typically present in the base set holo.

It’s unclear how many of these misprinted cards were released and still exist in the wild, but finding one in even good condition can net you a five-figure profit at auction.