If you’re looking for the most valuable 1st Edition Pokémon cards, you’re in the right place!

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most sought after English Pokémon cards from 1999’s iconic ‘Wizards of the Coast‘ era.

We’ll also analyse their PSA population reports and consider their rarity to fully understand whether their recently sold prices are justified.

FYI – I’ve looked at recent sales from the last year or two. Do bear in mind that some of the prices paid aren’t the current market prices today, as 2020 was a crazy year for Pokemon!

So, let’s get into it…as you’ve probably guessed, there’s only one place to start!

1. 1999 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard

PSA 10 Recently Sold for $350,100 

[Source]

1999 1st Edition Holographic Base Set Charizard

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes The First Edition Shadowless Base Set Charizard So Valuable?

This is it guys, the holy grail of Pokemon cards! This iconic artwork has so much nostalgic value for collectors around the world. This card means so much to so many people; as a kid it could make you king of the playground, and today it can make you king of the hobby.

With only 121 PSA 10 First Edition Base Set Charizards in existence, this is a low population card, but it’s not crazy low!

So is it worth hundreds of thousands of dollars people are paying for? Absolutely. Long-term, there’s only one direction the value of this card is going….

I don’t know about you, but I’m seriously intrigued to see how much this card sells for at Pokemon’s 50th anniversary!

1999 1st Edition Base Set Charizard PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Charizard PSA Population Report

2. 2000 1st Edition Lugia from Neo Genesis

BGS 10 Recently Sold for $144,300

[Source]

2000 1st Edition Lugia from Neo Genesis

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes The First Edition Lugia So Valuable?

Where Charizard is the poster boy for Gen 1, Lugia is that for Gen 2. This legendary Pokemon was the star of Pokemon The Movie 2000, and on the box artwork for Pokemon Silver on Gameboy. 

Lugia as a character is much loved, but when we combine that with a set as stunning as Neo Genesis, the 1st Edition Lugia card was always destined for greatness. 

With such a large clear holofoil area, this was always going to be a tough one to grade. In fact, only 43 PSA 10’s exist, and only 3 BGS 10’s!

A PSA 10 recently sold for $129k, but with the card above only one subgrade away from Beckett Black Label, it totally justified its $144k price tag.

3. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Blastoise

Recently Sold for $45,100

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Blastoise

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Blastoise so Valuable?

If you’re more of a water-type trainer, Blastoise is your guy. It may not be able to breathe fire, but with water canons on your back who cares!

This much appreciated middle child of ‘the big three’ will forever be in Charizard’s shadow, but will eclipse Venusaur in terms of value. 

With only 100 PSA 10’s in existence, the stats are very similar to Charizard.

Interestingly, the value of PSA 10 1st Edition Base Set Blastoise, is relatively similar to a PSA 9 1st Edition Base Set Charizard (which has a relatively high population of 688 cards).

So which is the better investment? PSA 10 Blastoise or PSA 9 Charizard…

My head says the Blastoise 100% – the numbers are much more favourable.

But god damn it, my heart says the Charizard! I just want it more! That bad-ass dragon gets me every time.

1999 1st Edition Base Set Blastoise PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Blastoise PSA Population Report

4. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Chansey

Recently Sold for $36,877

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Chansey

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Chansey so Valuable?

Expecting to see a big green dino-toad next?! You would be forgiven for wondering why Chansey goes in a number four!

But just look at that beautifully clear holographic area. It’s very easy to spot print imperfections or scratches. This is why 1st Edition Chansey is incredibly difficult to grade, and also why only 48 PSA 10’s exist. The rarity drives the value here, and collectors want to own the rarest cards. In my opinion, this card absolutely deserves its price tag.

1999 1st Edition Base Set Chansey PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Chansey PSA Population Report

5. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Venusaur

Recently Sold for $25,000

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Venusaur

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Venusaur so Valuable?

Here he is! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE this card. Mitsuhiro Arita’s artwork is just iconic with the contrast of the greens and the pop of the orange. 

So interestingly, 138 PSA 10 copies exist, which is the highest of all the cards above, but of course, it’s part of the ‘big three’ and collectors love to complete the trilogy. 

1999 1st Edition Base Set Venusaur PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Venusaur PSA Population Report

6. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Hitmonchan

Recently Sold for $23,100

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Hitmonchan

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Hitmonchan so Valuable?

In the red corner, with the purple trunks, weight in at 50kg (I had to Google that!), representing the Kanto region… HITMONCHAN (the crowd go wild).

Perhaps a surprise entrant at number 6, and despite my pumped up intro, Hitmonchan isn’t often everyone’s cup of tea!

Let’s just say if you were opening a 1st Edition Base Set Booster Pack, there are plenty of other cards you’d want to pull first. So why is it so high up?

Again, like Chansey, the holofoil area is vast and clear – meaning it’s hard to grade. In fact only 56 copies exist in a PSA 10. 

Now if you were going to drop this kind of money on a card, would you do it on this one? Perhaps not. But remember there are plenty of collectors out there would love low pop vintage cards, and are on a mission to complete sets. So although I wouldn’t do it myself, I can’t say I’m overly surprised by the kind of acquisition. 

1999 1st Edition Base Set Hitmonchan PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Hitmonchan PSA Population Report

7. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Mewtwo

Recently Sold for $22,655

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Mewtwo

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Mewtwo so Valuable?

Every story needs a villain, and although this card’s attack is particularly powerful, the Mewtwo character always is.

It’s cool to see how to artwork has developed over the years, and where it all started with this beautiful 1st Edition Base Set Mewtwo. 

This is definitely a card that if you pulled, you’d be happy with and with 81 PSA 10 copies in the world its got good rarity too.

1999 1st Edition Base Set Mewtwo PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Mewtwo PSA Population Report

8. 2002 1st Edition Shining Charizard from Neo Destiny

Recently Sold for $20,250

[Source]

2002 1st Edition Shining Charizard from Neo Destiny

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shining Charizard so Valuable?

Let’s dive back into the ‘Neo Era’ and into Neo Destiny one of the best sets EVER from Wizards of the Coast.

What makes this set so special is that it contains eight secret rare ‘Shining’ cards. The holofoil was on the character themselves, instead of the background, which is something unique collectors hadn’t seen before.

Charizard was always going to lead the pack in terms of value, and that tiny little first edition stamp adds that extra level of rarity too. 

In terms of the PSA population, it’s certainly not as low as some of the others on this list. In fact 229 PSA 10 1st Edition Shining Charizards exist. But with a smaller holofoil area, grading is relatively easier, therefore this is to be expected.

So is it worth it? For so many reasons (other than the population), YES. This is an awesome first edition, WOTC era, secret rare Charizard. It ticks so many boxes.

1999 1st Edition Shining Charizard PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Shining Charizard PSA Population Report

9. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Raichu

Recently Sold for $17,100

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Raichu

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Raichu so Valuable?

The evolution of Pikachu was always going to be a popular character. It makes me think back to that brilliant early episode where Ash’s Pikachu defeats Lt. Surge’s Raichu. Find it on Netflix, you won’t regret it!

lt surge raichu

With a PSA 10 population of 87 it makes similar reading to the First Edition Mewtwo above.

I like the character, I like the old school Ken Sugimori artwork, and this particular card has a lot of nostalgic value because of the links to Pikachu. Overall, I think it justifies it’s value very well.

1999 1st Edition Base Set Raichu PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Raichu PSA Population Report

10. 1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Magneton

Recently Sold for $17,067

[Source]

1st Edition Shadowless Base Set Magneton

Check current eBay listings here!

What Makes First Edition Shadowless Base Set Magneton so Valuable?

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE Magneton! There’s something about this Pokemon that I think is understated, goes under the radar, but is actually seriously strong. I mean, just look at that Selfdestruct move – Magneton is one brave dude!

Jokes aside, this is a first edition base set card with only 64 PSA 10’s in existence. It’s seriously rare, and evidently, hard to grade. Worth the money? I think so, yes.

1999 1st Edition Base Set Magneton PSA Population Report

1999 1st Edition Base Set Magneton PSA Population Report

 

First Edition Pokémon Card FAQs

How can you tell if Pokemon cards are first edition?

One of the first things people want to know when looking at Pokemon cards is if they are first edition. Naturally, these cards are worth more as they are the first print run of that particular set. It’s pretty straightforward to identify whether a card is first edition or not, as it will contain a small version of the symbol below. This symbol will predominately appear in the middle of the card to the left-hand-side. However, the exception to the rule are Energy Cards which have the first edition symbol in the top right-hand-corner of the card.

1st edition symbol pokemon cards

 

How many 1st Edition cards are there?

If we just consider the WOTC era from 1999 to 2003 there are 940 first edition cards. But remember, this is just looking at English cards and of course there have been reprints and additional variants of certain cards over the years which blurs the number a bit. For example, some people consider ‘No Rarity’ Japanese Base Set cards as the first edition equivalent for Japan, so it’s a bit of a grey area. However if you plan on building first edition sets from the early days of Pokemon, the list below should help you! 

  • Base Set – 102 cards
  • Jungle – 64 cards
  • Fossil – 62 cards
  • Team Rocket – 83 cards
  • Gym Heroes – 132 cards
  • Gym Challenge – 132 cards
  • Neo Genesis – 111 cards
  • Neo Discovery – 75 cards
  • Neo Revelation – 66 cards
  • Neo Destiny – 113 cards

Total – 940 cards

Are all 1999 Pokemon cards 1st Edition?

No, there were multiple ‘print runs’ of the early Pokemon card sets. If the card doesn’t have the first edition stamp on it, it’s not first edition.

Are all 1st Edition Pokemon cards shadowless?

Yes they are! The shadowed border to artwork was only added in a later print run. For more information about shadowless Pokemon cards follow the link. 

How much is a 1st Edition Pokemon pack worth?

Naturally, the value of a first edition Pokemon pack will vary depending on what set it’s from. The most valuable first edition packs are from Base Set, which sell for approximately £2k and upwards (depending on condition and whether it’s graded or not). First edition packs from the later sets sell in the high hundreds, and potentially hitting low four figures, again depending on condition and grade. Please bear in mind though, valuations change all the time, and these prices are listed at the time of writing. 

Wrapping Up!

So there we go guys, the most valuable first edition Pokemon cards in existence. 

As I mentioned at the start, some of these prices paid were in the whirlwind of 2020. The hobby went nuts, and fear of missing the boat lead to a lot of cards achieving top prices.

Since then, there has been a natural re-correction for a lot of cards. But for the ones mentioned above, their long-term trajectory will be upwards. 

Not a lot of people (myself included) have deep enough pockets to get involved in such substantial purchases. But remember, PSA 10 prices help drive the value of lower grades too.

Keep an eye out on the market for raw/ungraded variants that will inevitably pop up. Inspect them as carefully as you can of course, then acquire and grade them. Not only are they a piece of Pokemon history, but they’re also a pretty solid investment vehicle too.

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