Base Set Collecting:
In the world of collectibles, few items have captured the hearts enthusiasts quite like Pokémon cards. Since their introduction in 1996 by the Japanese company Nintendo, these colorful pieces of cardboard have evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry. The base set of the original 102-card lineup holds a special place in the hearts of collectors. It is the genesis set of the global phenomenon that continues to captivate audiences today.
Among these cards, some stand out for their rarity and value. The most valuable base set Pokémon cards are not just pieces of a game; they are artifacts of pop culture. These cards feature iconic characters like Charizard, Blastoise, and Pikachu. They can fetch astounding prices at auctions, sometimes reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The value of these cards is influenced by several factors, including rarity, condition, and demand among collectors. Some cards are valuable because they were produced in limited quantities, while others are sought after because of printing errors or unique features. But regardless of the reason, the allure of these cards is undeniable.
In this article, we will dive into the world of Pokémon card collecting and investing. We will focus on the most valuable cards from the base set. We’ll explore their history, what makes them so valuable, and how you can start or enhance your own collection. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a newcomer to the world of Pokémon, this guide will provide valuable insights into this fascinating hobby.
Most Valuable Base Set Pokémon Cards: Ranked
#1. 1st Edition Charizard – Base Set – PSA 10
The PSA 10 1st Edition Charizard card from the 1999 Pokémon Base Set is one of the most coveted cards in the Pokémon Trading Card Game. This card is often compared to iconic sports cards like the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee #18 Wayne Gretzky, or 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan due to its rarity and value.
The Charizard card is particularly desirable due to its high hit points and powerful attack. It is more powerful than any other card in the Base release. The artwork for this card, created by Mitsuhiro Arita, has been reused in different sets. However, the Base Set release remains the most iconic and sought-after.
In terms of value, a PSA 10 1st Edition Base Set Charizard card has made headlines multiple times for its high auction prices. In 2020, a card of this grade was sold for a historic $220,574 in an auction conducted by Iconic Auctions. The card was purchased by former rapper and Twitch streamer, Logic, who had a deep emotional connection to Pokémon cards from his childhood.
More recently, in 2022, the card was sold by Goldin Auctions with a value of $252,000. However, it’s important to note that the prices of these cards can fluctuate significantly based on the condition of the card, the grading, and the demand in the market at the time of sale.
#2. 1st Edition Lugia – Base Set – PSA 10
Continuing our journey through the world of valuable Pokémon cards, we now turn our attention to the majestic Lugia. This Psychic/Flying-type Pokémon made its debut in the second generation of the Pokémon franchise and has since become a fan favorite. The 1st Edition Lugia card from the Neo Genesis set is a highly sought-after collector’s item.
A PSA 10 graded 1st Edition Lugia card from the Neo Genesis set can fetch a staggering price. According to PSA, the value of this card can reach up to $55,000 as of July 2023. This high price is a testament to the card’s rarity and the high demand among collectors. The card’s artwork, which features Lugia soaring majestically through the skies, is a significant part of its appeal.
Interestingly, the value of Lugia is also greatly impacted due to its difficulty to grade. With such a large Holo foil area on this card, tiny scratches and imperfections can show quite easily. Because of this, there are only 43 known PSA 10’s in existence.
Lower graded cards, while still valuable, don’t fetch the same prices as those in gem mint condition. For instance, a PSA 7 graded 1st Edition Lugia card can sell for around $900.
The 1st Edition Lugia card’s value has seen a steady increase over the years, making it a potentially profitable investment for collectors. Its iconic status within the Pokémon franchise, combined with its rarity, ensures that it will likely remain a highly desirable card for years to come.
#3. 1st Edition Blastoise – Base Set – PSA 10
As we jump to number three on our list, we’ll discuss one of the most iconic Pokémon cards in existence.
This card is a true gem in the Pokémon trading card game, and its value has been consistently on the rise. As of July 2023, the card is valued at approximately $38,000, a significant increase from its value just a few years ago.
Blastoise is the final evolution of Squirtle, which was one of the three starting Pokémon in the original games. These original games were remade as FireRed and LeafGreen, which we ranked as some of the best Pokémon games of all time. Due to its popularity in the first Pokémon games, fans have been fighting over PSA 10 Blastoise cards ever since!
In short, if you’re lucky enough to own a PSA 10 1st Edition Blastoise, you’re holding onto a piece of Pokémon history. With only 110 PSA 10’s in existence the value will continue to rise.
#4. 1st Edition Chansey – Base Set – PSA 10
Chansey, the Egg Pokémon, is a beloved character from the Pokémon universe, known for its nurturing nature and its iconic ability to heal other Pokémon. Its 1st Edition card, however, is known for something else entirely: its rarity and value.
1st Edition Chansey is one of the 16 holographic cards. This makes it one of the most valuable base set Pokémon cards. The holographic effect adds an extra layer of allure to the card, but it also made the card more difficult to print perfectly. Many Chansey cards were printed with defects, such as off-centering or print lines, which makes finding a perfectly printed Chansey card incredibly rare.
Moreover, the Chansey card is known for its notoriously difficult grading. The holographic surface of the card is prone to scratching and other forms of damage. This makes it extremely challenging to find a Chansey card in Gem Mint condition. These challenges have led to a scarcity of high-grade 1st Edition Chansey cards. Prices for a PSA 10 as of July 2023 are well above $20,000.
#5. 1st Edition Venusaur – Base Set – PSA 10
Venusaur, the final evolution of Bulbasaur, is one of the original starter Pokémon from the first generation games (Red, Blue, and Green). This card, featuring the powerful Grass/Poison-type Pokémon, is a cornerstone of any serious Pokémon card collection.
For many collectors, owning a 1st Edition Venusaur card is a trip down memory lane. It represents a piece of Pokémon history and brings back memories of the early days of Pokémon gaming and trading.
Moreover, given the age of these cards, finding a 1st Edition Venusaur in mint or near-mint condition is a challenge. Cards in excellent condition are even more prized by collectors. As of July 2023 there are only 144 PSA 10 Venusaur cards in the world.
According to PSA a Gem Mint Venusaur will run you back $20,000!
#6. 1st Edition Gyarados – Base Set – PSA 10
Gyarados, the fierce and majestic Sea Serpent Pokémon, has always been a fan favorite. Its powerful attacks and intimidating presence in the Pokémon games have translated well into its trading card counterpart. But what makes the 1st Edition Gyarados card so special?
Firstly, the artwork on the 1st Edition Gyarados card is truly stunning. Illustrated by Mitsuhiro Arita, the card depicts Gyarados in all its fearsome glory, surrounded by turbulent waves. This dynamic and vibrant design is a big part of why collectors are drawn to this card.
The 1st Edition Gyarados card is considered a solid investment by many collectors. Its value has steadily increased over the years, and it’s expected to continue to appreciate in the future. This, combined with its rarity and the nostalgia factor, makes it a highly desirable card for any Pokémon card collection.
In conclusion, the 1st Edition Gyarados card is a true gem in the world of Pokémon card collecting. Its rarity, stunning artwork, and investment potential make it a must-have for serious collectors. So, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your collection, hold onto it – it’s a piece of Pokémon history!