10 Pokémon Cards You’ll Regret You Threw Away

You won’t believe how much these discarded Pokémon cards are worth today.
Updated May 14, 2024
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boy holds pokemon trading cards

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Pokémon cards were all the rage 30 years ago, but unlike most nineties fads, they didn’t fade away with the new millennium. 

Thanks to Pokémon’s decades-long popularity, several vintage Pokéman cards, including some you might remember from your own childhood, sell for thousands of dollars these days. 

Keep reading to learn about 10 of the most prized cards — and how much you could’ve helped boost your bank account if you’d hung onto them a little longer.

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Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star

Acento Creativo/Adobe pokemon trading card game

Espeon and Umbreon are two of the cutest first-generation Eevee evolutions (“Eeveelutions”), but they’re also among the rarest, especially the Gold Star Japanese-language versions. 

Gold Star cards are rare, to begin with: Players could expect to find just one Gold Star card in every two booster boxes. These two Eevee evolutions are even more rare than most.

While Japanese-language versions of the cards are less common (and, therefore, more expensive), high-quality English editions have been known to sell for $20,000 or more at auction.

Mysterious Mountains Crystal Charizard

kittyfly/Adobe collectible pokemon trading card

In the early 2000s, Nintendo released an e-reader attachment for the Game Boy Advance that allowed you to scan cards to unlock additional game features, prizes, and modes. 

The rarest and most expensive Pokémon e-card released in 2002 is the first-edition Mysterious Mountains Crystal Charizard, one of which went for $40,800 in 2022.

Holographic Torchic Gold Star

MichaelJBerlin/Adobe pokemon trading cards

Just 300 of the holo Torchic Gold Star cards — which premiered with 2004’s EX Team Rocket Returns packs — were ever released. 

As far as Gold Star cards go, there are even fewer holo Torchic cards than Umbreon and Espeon cards, and it shows in the auction price: One card sold for more than $43,000.

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Japanese Base Set Holographic Venusaur

Tupungato/Adobe charizard and pikachu pokemon cards

The holographic Venusaur was introduced with the 1996 Japanese base set of cards. If you can get your hands on one of these (and good luck, there are only a handful in existence), it could go for as much as $55,000 at auction.

64 Mario Stadium Best Photo Contest Chansey

selugallego/Adobe collectible pokemon cards

In the Nintendo 64 game Pokémon Snap!, players take pictures of Pokémon in the wild and submit them to Professor Oaks for creative review. 

In Japan, Nintendo sponsored a promotion where players could submit their favorite in-game pictures for a chance to have their photo featured on a Pokémon card.

If you have one of these cards, you know it: Each of the five winners was given 15 copies of their card. Don’t expect to find one at random if you go digging through your old collection. 

Still, if you happen to have one of these incredibly rare cards, you won’t have to worry about your budget for a while—one of the 15 Chansey cards sold for $63,000 at an auction in December 2022.

64 Mario Stadium Best Photo Contest Gyarados

David/Adobe old and rare pokemon cards

Another Pokémon Snap! player won 15 copies of a card with the Gyarados they snapped in-game. 

Chansey might be the cuter of the two pocket monsters, but Gyarados is (arguably) cooler, which could explain why one of the winning cards from 1999 sold for an astonishing $90,000 in 2023.

Holographic Master’s Key

Stockholm Syndrome/Adobe pokemon cards gold edition

This holographic promo card was distributed to winners of the 2010 Pokémon TCG (Trading Card Game) World Championships. Based on the number of winners that year, fans believe there are just 36 Master’s Key cards in existence. 

While one of the 36 cards was sold for over $21,000 in 2019, the cards’ value seems to have increased with time: One sold for $66,000 in 2023.

Neo Genesis Holographic Lugia #9

Stockholm Syndrome/Adobe pokémon gold trading cards

The first-generation Neo Genesis set of cards ran with a series of misprints, typos, and other errors, which makes their value a little challenging for auction houses to grade. 

However, this first-edition holo Lugia is both extremely rare and extremely valuable, with one card selling for $50,000 in 2020 and another going for $144,000 a year later.

EX Dragon Frontiers Holographic Charizard Gold Star

selugallego/Adobe collectible pokemon cards

Rare editions of unique Charizard cards frequently end up on lists of the most valuable Pokémon cards, but the holographic Charizard released with the EX Dragon Frontiers card is even more unusual than most. 

This Gold Star card, released in 2006, includes an atypical Dark-type Charizard with a unique Dark Swirl attack. Most recently, one of these holographic cards went for over $60,000 at auction.

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Pokemon Commission Presentation Galaxy Star Holographic Blastoise

wachiwit/Adobe man playing pokemon card

There are only two known copies of this card in existence, and they were never released to the general public. 

Instead, they were produced by Wizards of the Coast in 1998 when the company was trying to lock down the English-language rights to the Pokémon Trading Card Game. 

The one and only card to go to auction went for a staggering — though understandable, given its rarity — $360,000 in 2021.

Bottom line

wachiwit/Adobe A set of Pokemon cards

Most Pokémon cards, including first-run cards from the nineties, don’t go for as much money as the ones we listed above. 

Still, if you have a few cards left over from your own childhood, it’s worth digging them out of your old memory box and figuring out how much they could be worth.

Who knows? Maybe your childhood passion can help round out your adult budget for the month and get ahead financially.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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