- The rarest, most expensive Pikachu Pokémon cards ever bought…
- 1. 1998 Japanese Illustrator Pikachu
- 2. 1995 Japanese Topsun Prism Pikachu
- 3. 2016 20th Anniversay 24k Gold Ginza Tanaka Japanese Pikachu
- 4. 2002 Pokemon E-Card Sample Pikachu
- 5. 1996 Japanese Base Set No Rarity Symbol Pikachu
- 6. 2006 EX Holon Phantoms Gold Star Pikachu
- 7. 1999 Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Red Cheeks Pikachu
- 8. 1995 Japanese Topsun Blue Back No Number Pikachu
- 9. 2001 Black Star Promo Holographic Birthday Pikachu
- 10. 2002 Legendary Collection Reverse Holo Pikachu
- Wrapping Up
The rarest, most expensive Pikachu Pokémon cards ever bought…
In this article we’re going to look at the most significant Pikachu Pokemon card purchases from this past year.
That’s a lot of P’s!
And although Charizard cards tend to top the charts in terms of price, our friendly little electric mouse is often a favourite among collectors, and therefore fetches high figures at auction too.
So let’s get into it, starting with a card that widely accepted as the rarest in the whole hobby…
1. 1998 Japanese Illustrator Pikachu
PSA 7 Recently Sold for $375,000
What Makes The Japanese Illustrator Pikachu so Valuable?
This isn’t just the holy grail of Pikachu cards. To many, this is the holy grail of all Pokemon cards because of its rarity. The card, which features artwork from Pikachu’s original illustrator Atsuko Nishida, was given as a prize to an illustration contest held by the famous CoroCoro Comic. What makes it so rare? Only 39 copies were printed, 23 of which have been graded by PSA.
In fact, when you look at the report and consider that a PSA 7 went for $375k – imagine what a PSA 8, 9 or that one singular PSA 10 might go for!
1998 Japanese Illustrator Pikachu PSA Population Report
2. 1995 Japanese Topsun Prism Pikachu
PSA 10 Recently Sold for $15,000
What Makes The Japanese Topsun Prism Pikachu so Valuable?
Japanese Topsun cards are a fascinating piece of Pokemon history. There were 150 cards, one for each Pokemon of course, with 16 cards designed with the prism holographic effect that you see above. Interestingly, each pack contained two sticks of gum, and two Pokemon cards! But here’s where the rarity kicks in – only 1 in 40 packs contained a holographic card…can you imagine that these days?!
So, not only were they incredibly hard to pull, we then combine that with the ever-popular Pikachu character, and also a PSA 10… it’s no surprise this card went for 5 figures. In fact, only 14 PSA 10’s exist making this one of the coolest, and rarest Pikachu cards in existence.
1995 Japanese Topsun Pikachu Holofoil PSA Population Report
On a side note, I was lucky enough to find a raw version of the card on eBay at quite an acceptable price point. I expect it’ll get a low grade when I decide to submit it, as it’s definitely showing its age, but still, what a cool piece of Pokemon history to own!
View this post on Instagram
3. 2016 20th Anniversay 24k Gold Ginza Tanaka Japanese Pikachu
Recently Sold for $12,655
What Makes The 20th Anniversary 24k Gold Pikachu So Valuable?
OK maybe that’s a silly question… It’s made from frigging 24 Karat gold! But actually, the collaboration with Japanese jeweller Ginza Tanaka, combined with a limited pre-order window of 20 days, and an initial price tag of $2,100, it’s no wonder that this high-end collectible has increased six-times its value in only five years. It’s wishful thinking, but how cool would it have been if they’d have done a select few ‘red cheeks’ versions!!
4. 2002 Pokemon E-Card Sample Pikachu
PSA 10 Recently Sold for $12,500
What Makes the 2002 E-Card Sample Pikachu So Valuable?
Now this next Pikachu card is fascinating. At a glance, you’d think this was a common Pikachu from the Expedition set. But actually a small collection of ten promotional ‘sample’ cards were created to demonstrate at events how they worked with the e-Reader (a peripheral for the GameBoy Advance).
These cards were never released, but naturally leaked into the hands of collectors. So rare are they that only 22 PSA graded Pikachu sample cards exist. 16 of which achieved the PSA 10 grail status. These sample cards are a piece of Pokemon history, and quite a revolutionary development for the time. All of these factors make this particular Pikachu card extremely rare and highly sought-after.
2002 E-Card Sample Pikachu PSA Population Report
5. 1996 Japanese Base Set No Rarity Symbol Pikachu
BGS 9.5 Recently Sold for $8,999*
*Best offer accepted on eBay – no longer easy to find out what this actually was
What Makes The 1996 Japanese No Rarity Symbol Pikachu So Valuable?
In 1996, the first print run of the Japanese Base Set cards didn’t have a ‘rarity symbol’ in the bottom right-hand corner. There is little documentation as to whether this was deliberate or a printing error, but what we do know is that very soon after, this was changed/fixed to include the symbol.
Collectors widely regard the ‘no rarity symbol’ cards as the Japanese equivalent to the English 1st Edition Base Set. As such they have a low population and are highly valued by collectors.
6. 2006 EX Holon Phantoms Gold Star Pikachu
PSA 10 Recently Sold for $8,600
What Makes The 2006 EX Holon Phantoms Gold Star Pikachu so Valuable?
Whenever there’s a set released with a special Pikachu ‘chase card’, you know it’s going to be something of value. This is especially true when it comes to the EX Holon Phantoms set from the EX Ruby & Sapphire era. Within the set, there are three ‘gold star’ cards; Gyarados, Mewtwo and of course, Pikachu. Note the little gold star next to the word ‘Pikachu’.
Now, with regard to pull rates, there was only one ‘gold star’ card in every two boxes, meaning the chances of a Pikachu were 1 in 6 boxes! This helps to paint a picture of just how rare this card is. With only 98 PSA 10’s in existence, and very few sealed EX Holon Phantoms booster boxes left in the world (there’s only one on eBay listed for $60k at the time of writing), you wouldn’t expect the graded population to increase much in the future. Ultimately, this is a low pop, holographic, extremely rare chase Pikachu – no wonder it’s worth so much!
2006 EX Holon Phantoms Gold Star Pikachu PSA Population Report
7. 1999 Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Red Cheeks Pikachu
PSA 10 Recently Sold for $6,900
The card below is from my personal collection. I certainly didn’t pay the price listed above, but I just thought it would be cooler to show you my copy of the card!
View this post on Instagram
What’s Makes The 1999 1st Edition Red Cheeks Pikachu So Valuable?
I love this story… when the Base Set Pikachu card was sent for it’s first print run, Mitsuhiro Arita (who designed it) submitted the artwork with yellow cheeks. This is because when Pikachu launches an attack his cheeks turn yellow. Note the card design – there are lighting bolts coming out, therefore he’s attacking!
Employees of Wizards of the Coast, took it among themselves to change the cheeks to red (without consulting Arita!!) because they thought he’d made a mistake. How nuts is that?!
This was eventually corrected, so the vast majority of Base Set Pikachu cards you’ll come across have yellow cheeks. But of course, that makes the red cheeks versions highly sought-after and valuable.
1999 Base Set 1st Edition Red Cheeks Pikachu PSA Population Report
8. 1995 Japanese Topsun Blue Back No Number Pikachu
PSA 9 Recently Sold for $6,767
What Makes The 1995 Japanese Topsun Blue Back Pikachu So Valuable?
Although some people think Topsun cards are the first ever Pokemon cards because they say 1995 on them, this is to do with the trademark, and they were actually release in 1997. Japanese Base Set was first in 1996 of course. Anyway, these cards are still very old and valuable, and interestingly, there are plenty of iterations of them…
There are known to be quite a few printing errors, and it’s common knowledge that there are versions with blue colouring on the back (like the one above) and also green on the back. What’s less known is that some of the versions (like above) don’t have a number on it. The more common variant of this Topsun Pikachu would say ‘025’ to the left of his name. Although, it’s a subtle difference, much like the ‘no rarity symbol’ Pikachu above, the ‘no number’ Topsun Pikachu is considerably rarer and more valuable.
Although PSA don’t separate them in their population report below, only 22 PSA 9’s exist and just 16 PSA 10’s.
1995 Topsun Blue Back Pikachu PSA Population Report
9. 2001 Black Star Promo Holographic Birthday Pikachu
PSA 10 Recently Sold for $6,750
What Makes The 2001 Holographic Birthday Pikachu So Valuable?
A card that needs little introduction, especially as a reprint made its way into the new Celebrations set, the original Birthday Pikachu is a card much loved by collectors. It actually has its origins in part of a ‘Create your own Pokemon Card’ campaign in 2000, where members of a local Pokemon League could submit their designs to Wizards of the Coast.
Interestingly, it was immediately banned upon its release as players could just claim it was their birthday to gain 50 extra damage on the card’s attack! Wizards definitely avoided a few arguments there! Anyway, fast-forward twenty odd years, it’s no surprise that because of the cards design, popularity and history, PSA 10 versions are valued so highly.
10. 2002 Legendary Collection Reverse Holo Pikachu
PSA 10 Recently Sold for £4,000*
*Best offer accepted on eBay – no longer easy to find out what this actually was
What Makes The Legendary Collection Reverse Holo Pikachu So Valuable?
When I first got into the hobby, I heard Legendary Collection was very much a love or hate for collectors. But I must say, over the years, the vast majority of people I’ve spoken to absolutely love them and I happen to agree! Sure the holofoil is very *bling*, but the way the fireworks design goes off when you move the card is absolutely stunning.
What’s interesting about these cards though, is that because the holofoil area is so vast, it’s very susceptible to printing imperfections. Therefore, it’s incredibly hard to achieve a PSA 10. Just look at the table below, only 30 exist in the world! Awesome design + significant rarity = high value.
2002 Legendary Collection Reverse Holo Pikachu PSA Population Report
Thank you so much for reading to the end, I hope you found this article interesting and educational!
One final word, please remember market prices fluctuate all the time, and just because someone paid the amounts above in the past year, it doesn’t mean the card is worth that now!
Naturally after the high of Pokemon’s 25th anniversary, it would be sensible to expect a come down in prices, and that’s exactly what we’re experiencing.
But there’s no doubt in my mind that the value of these cards over the long term will continue to rise. Play the long-game to win 🙂
Last updated December 3, 2021