Champions Festival (BW Promo 95) – $512.50
The Champions Festival cards will be familiar to anyone who follows the Pokémon Trading Card Game (PTCG) World Championships. Issued to attendees, this Stadium card is hardly game-breaking, but is exceedingly rare. New versions have been issued every year, depicting the host city, but the 2013 Vancouver original will set you back $512.50.
Umbreon VMAX (SWSH7 – Evolving Skies) – $623.20
Despite only releasing in 2021, this Umbreon VMAX card is already a highly sought-after collectible, fetching as much as $623.20. Why? Not only is Umbreon a fan-favorite Pokémon, but this ‘Secret Rare’ print was released in Evolving Skies, a set that has had no reprint. It’s so rare, in fact, that many dedicated collectors have never seen one in person.
Rayquaza C LV.X (DP47) – $671.50
Rayquaza, Pokémon’s god of the sky, can summon cyclones to destroy its opponents. And now it can destroy your wallet, with this card reaching up to $671.50. This reprint was sold as the mascot of one of six collector tins in 2009, with only one per tin, exclusively outside of Japan. These conditions make it it vanishingly rare.
Pokémon Center (Base 40/53 Promo) – $742.25
Pokémon Center is a classic healing card, with new versions reprinted constantly. What makes this $742.25 card so special, however, is that it was distributed at the opening of New York’s very own Pokémon Center in the Rockefeller Center. This became America’s premier Pokémon destination, until it was remodeled in 2005 as the more generic Nintendo New York.
Lucky Stadium (Base 41/53 Promo) – $822.45
Long a Japan-exclusive card awarded to tournament participants, Lucky Stadium was finally released in the US as part of New York’s Pokémon Center opening. This remains the only print run, with the card now costing $822.45. Still, this isn’t even the rarest version: a bilingual print was released for Japan’s 2000 Tropical Mega Battle tournament, with as few as 50 cards thought to have been made.
Charizard (Legendary Collection 3/110) – $948.85
Perhaps the most iconic and sought-after card in trading card history, Charizard has had dozens of reprints with originals fetching many hundreds of dollars. Currently, however, the rare Legendary Collection release is the most valuable. Released in 2002, this set notably included so-called ‘Reverse Holo’ cards, which are shiny everywhere but the artwork. All that adds up to a hefty $948.85 price tag.
Tropical Beach (BW Promo 28) – $1,025.15
Created to commemorate the 2011 World Championship, Tropical Beach is both rare in number and in that it’s a competitively viable card. Ultimately, it and its 2012 equivalent (which costs as much as $682.99) would be banned from competitive play, since it gives an outsized advantage to highly monied players. The 2011 version will set you back $1025.15 per card.
Porygon2 (HGSS Promo 23) – $1,080.50
Porygon has had negative associations ever since an anime episode caused seizures in dozens of children. Going some way to repair that was Japan’s ‘Get in Battle! Summer Vacation Battle Campaign 2010,’ which incentivized children to play together and buy booster packs to receive special cards. Points were awarded even for making new friends. Today, this special Porygon2 card will cost you $1,080.50.
Alolan Ninetales (SM Promo 128) – $1,271.95
Vulpix and its evolution, Ninetales, have long been fan-favorite Pokémon, something only reinforced by its more recent Alolan form. While this card is, competitively speaking, nothing special, it’s mind-bendingly rare: a Japanese promotional version was one of seven possible cards given to tournament participants between March and April 2018. Unless you’re a time traveler, it’ll now cost you $1271.95.
Tropical Tidal Wave (Nintendo Black Star Promo 36) – $3,815.85
At the time of writing, Tropical Tidal Wave is the most expensive Pokémon card of all time, costing as much as a small car or the down payment on a house. The 2006 version, released to coincide with that year’s World Championship, is by far the most eye-watering, coming in at $3815.85. But the 2005 card is far from a budget-friendly alternative, costing as much as $1934.60.