25 Most Valuable First Edition Pokemon Cards

Most Valuable First Edition Pokemon Cards

Originally released in Japan as a video game, Pokémon later transformed into a trading card game that began hitting store shelves in 1999.

Today, these trading cards are some of the hottest non-sports cards in the hobby.

And with a catchphrase like “Gotta Catch ‘Em All.”, it's easy to understand why.

On top of common and rare cards, there are variations such as Shadowless and First Edition Pokémon cards needed to complete an entire run.

Those First Edition cards are especially some of the rarest and in this guide, we take a look at the most valuable of them all.

Let's jump right in!

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Ross Uitts

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How to Identify First Edition Pokémon Cards

The quickest way to tell if you are looking at a first edition Pokémon card is to look for the first edition symbol.

And remember there are three types of cards you can have in your deck:

  1. Pokémon
  2. Energy
  3. Trainer

This is important because the first edition symbol will appear in different locations depending on the type of card.

On Pokémon cards, it will appear to the lower-left of the Pokémon image while on Energy and Trainer cards it appears in the upper-right and lower-left corners of the cards, respectively:

Pokémon

First Edition Symbol on Front of Pokemon Card

Energy

Pokemon First Edition Symbol Shown In Upper Right Corner of Energy Type Card copy

Trainer

Pokemon First Edition Symbol Shown In Lower Left Corner of Trainer Type Card

Now that we got that out of the way, let's go through the list.

The first 16 cards on this list are known as "holographic" cards as their images are shinier.

They're also more rare as their prints runs were far more limited than the other cards in the 102-card checklist.

And because their more rare, that greatly increases their values as well...

1) First Edition Holographic Charizard

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $24,000

The #4 Charizard is by far the most desirable of all the first edition Pokémon cards.

Charizard made its first appearance in the Pokémon Red and Blue video games released for the Nintendo Game Boy and Game Boy Color back in the mid-90s and trainers have been relying on the character's overpowering fire and flying abilities to win battles ever since.

Just how powerful are its fire abilities?

Well, simply refer to the bottom of the card's front and you can see that Charizard is capable of melting boulders and starting forest fires with ease.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Charizard Card #4

Charizard's appeal as a dragon and one of the more rare cards certainly adds to its popularity but I think where this card gets an extra boost in value comes from the fact that Charizard appeared on the cover art of the Pokémon Red video game:

Pokémon Red Game Boy Game Box Art Featuring Charizard

That additional exposure greatly increased the character's notoriety and has driven up the value of this card similar to the effect we see with the Garbage Pail Kids card, Adam Bomb, and its status as the original cover art for that series.

Regardless of why this card is so popular, its value will continue to soar just like the lovable flying dragon creature itself.

2) First Edition Holographic Blastoise

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,500

A water-type Pokémon, Blastoise first appears in the Pokémon Red and Blue video games as the final evolutionary stage of Squirtle, one of the original three starter Pokémon.

Relying on twin water cannons that retract from the shell on its back, Blastoise is capable of delivering powerful blasts of water with superior accuracy.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Blastoise Card

And just as we saw Charizard's boost in popularity stemming from its appearance on the cover art of the Pokémon Red video game, Blastoise was the center of attention on the Pokémon Blue video game:

Pokémon Blue Game Boy Game Box Art Featuring Blastoise

Rightfully considered one of the coolest-looking of all Pokémon, Blastoise remains a collector favorite and this card can bring thousands of dollars in high grade.

3) First Edition Holographic Chansey

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,500

Chansey is a pink, normal-type Pokémon that, despite its short legs, is a fast runner and extremely difficult to catch making it one of the more elusive creatures on this list.

Using the egg held in its pouch, Chansey will often complete its signature move known as "Soft-Boiled" to help heal both people and other Pokémon.

Its gentle nature and kind heart are said to bring happiness to those who catch it while bringing lots of money to those who own this card.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Chansey Card #3

4) First Edition Holographic Hitmonchan

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,250

Sporting boxing gloves, shoulder pads and extreme quickness, Hitmonchan exhibits every bit of the appearance of the fighting-type Pokémon that he is.

The five protrusions on top of its head round out an overall ferocious look.

Bidding for this card in high grade can be just as ferocious as Hitmonchan itself as prices will often rise above $3,000 or more.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Hitmonchan Card #7

5) First Edition Holographic Ninetales

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $3,000

It's easy to see where Ninetales gets its name although the spelling of "tails" is noticeably different.

And while each of its golden-white tails is catching to the eye, it is said that simply grabbing one of them can result in a 1,000-year curse giving this fox-like Pokémon its reputation of extreme vengeance.

Inspired by the kitsune of Japanese folklore, Ninetales holds mysterious powers within its nine tails and can even control the mind with its piercing, red eyes.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Ninetales Card #12

6) First Edition Holographic Alakazam

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,800

With its psychic powers that stem from its extremely powerful brain, Alakazam can bring massive headaches to those unfortunate enough to be nearby.

By bending the spoons it hold in its hands, Alakazam delivers its signature move known as "Kinesis" to significantly reduce the accuracy of opposing attacks.

The evolution from Abra to Kadabra to its final form of Alakazam is one of the more fun name transitions of the series while this card itself is one of the more fun to own.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Alakazam Card #1

7) First Edition Holographic Clefairy

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,500

Clefairy is a lovable Pokémon that is incapable of fighting and first evolves from Cleffa and later to Clefable after exposure to a Moon Stone.

The adorable creature uses its small wings to store moonlight that can allow it to float away when in danger.

Known for its extreme shyness, Clefairy is rarely seen and will only emerge from its mountain shelter under a full moon.

Almost as rarely seen in high grade as Clefairy itself, this card can bring $2,500 or more in PSA 10 condition.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Clefairy Card #5

8) First Edition Holographic Raichu

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,500

Raichu, the rodent-like evolved form of Pikachu, is an electric-type Pokémon that uses its tail to gather electricity from both the ground and atmosphere.

As it charges, the creature stores the electricity in those circular, yellow sacs on its cheeks and once fully charged, Raichu's ears will point directly upwards.

Raichu also uses its pointed tail as a ground to prevent itself from being electrically shocked.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Raichu Card #14

9) First Edition Holographic Venusaur

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,200

Venusaur, the final evolved form of one of the original starter Pokémon, Bulbasaur, is a dual-type grass and poison Pokémon with a noticeably large flower that protrudes from its back.

Because the creature uses that flower to absorb energy from the sun's rays, it is constantly on the move in search of more sunlight.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Venusaur Card #15

Venusaur also serves as the mascot of the Pokémon Green video game making it one of the most recognizable of first edition Pokémon:

Pokémon Green Game Boy Game Box Art Featuring Venusaur

10) First Edition Holographic Mewtwo

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,000

A member of the exclusive and powerful Legendary Pokémon group, Mewtwo is considered to be one of the best Pokémon of all-time.

Instantly recognizable, the psychic-type Mewtwo was created when a scientist altered its original DNA via gene-splicing techniques that transformed the creature into one of the most vicious and savage of all Pokémon.

Harnessing its psychic energy, Mewtwo unleashes physical damage on its enemies via its signature more, Psystrike.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Mewtwo Card #10

11) First Edition Holographic Gyarados

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,800

This serpentine creature is an extremely temperamental and destructive Pokémon that relies on both its water and flying abilities to unleash its wrath.

Its tough scales are practically impenetrable while its sharp fangs are capable of crushing rocks.

Because it lives in both fresh and saltwater, it's best to stay clear of water in general if you want to avoid Gyarados.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Gyarados Card #6

12) First Edition Holographic Magneton

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,750

Composed of three individual Magnemite held together by a strong magnetic force, Magneton is a dual-type electrical and steel Pokémon.

Often found near industrial areas and power plants, this mechanical creature charges itself by eating electrical currents.

Magneton is certainly one of the more unusual-looking of all Pokémon.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Magneton Card #9

13) First Edition Holographic Nidoking

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,500

Nidoking is a dual-type poison and ground Pokémon that is the final evolved form of Nidoran.

With its sharp teeth, pointy ears, plated underside, claws and venomous horn that protrudes from its forehead, Nidoking is obviously a very intimidating reptilian creature.

However, its powerful tail is the primary weapon of choice to smash its enemies or create the spacing Nidoking needs to execute one of its devastating charges.

High grade specimens of this card can sell for around $1,500 or more.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Nidoking Card #11

14) First Edition Holographic Poliwrath

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,500

This round, blue powerhouse is a dual-type water and fighting Pokémon known for its strength and endurance.

A versatile swimmer capable of going long distances without tiring, Poliwrath is also known to be able to run on the surface of the water for brief periods of time.

Easily identified by the black swirl on its white underbelly, Poliwrath is a formidable opponent that can easily outlast its enemies due to its superior stamina.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Poliwrath Card #13

15) First Edition Holographic Zapdos

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,400

Together with Articuno and Moltres, this electric and flying creature is one of the three Legendary birds of Kanto.

Only seen during thunderstorms, Zapdos will create lighting bolts and loud cracking sounds as it flaps its wings when airborne alerting everyone in the area to its presence.

The yellow and black spiked feathers that surround its body make Zapdos look just like the blasts of electricity it creates.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Zapdos Card #16

16) First Edition Holographic Machamp

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,000

The final form of Machop that evolves from Machoke, Machop is an intimidating fighting-type Pokémon who looks like the last thing you'd want to fight.

Known for its brute force and strength, Machamp is nothing but solid muscle and its four arms allow it to strike opponents from multiple angles at once.

And not only is Machamp overpowering, it also possesses incredible speed making it capable of throwing as many as 500 punches in one second.

Wearing a championship belt around its waste, the aptly named Machamp is frequently on the victorious side of the fight.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Machamp Card #8

17) First Edition Devolution Spray

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,000

Devolution Spray is an item card, a subclass of the trainer card type which takes on more of a support role as opposed to the Pokémon and energy card types.

This card will return an evolved Pokémon to its previous form.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Devolution Spray Card #72

18) First Edition Dragonair

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $750

This dragon-type serpentine creature is the evolved form of Dratini and later evolves into Dragonite.

Noted by its light blue scales and white underbelly, Dragonite possesses one blue crystal on its neck and two on its tail that allow it to discharge huge amounts of energy.

The two wings that protrude from its head also allow it to fly around the sea and lake areas that it inhabits.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Dragonair Card #18

19) First Edition Dratini

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $750

Dratini is the basic form from which the aforementioned Dragonair evolves.

Notice the lack of the blue crystals that Dragonair possesses, the fins instead of wings on the side of its head, and the small notch on its forehead instead of the horn.

Once thought to be only a myth, this creature is still rarely seen as it frequently stays near the bottom of seas and lakes.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Dratini Card #26

20) First Edition Item Finder

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $750

The intent of the Item Finder is exactly as it sounds: it aids players in locating items.

While its name and how it helps players find items greatly changed in later Pokémon games, the first edition card merely instructs the player to discard two cards from his or her hand and replace them with a trainer card.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Item Finder Card #74

21) First Edition Lass

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $600

Lass is a type of Pokémon trainer, the people who train the Pokémon to strengthen and evolve into their later forms.

The female counterparts of the male trainers known as Youngsters, Lasses eventually grow up to become Beauties as the game progresses.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Lass Card #75

22) First Edition Dugtrio

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $550

A ground-type Pokémon evolves from Diglett and takes the form of three Digletts combined into one body.

Using their combined forces, the three individual heads cooperate as one to give Dugtrio expanded burrowing capabilities.

It is known to burrow to depths of up to 60 miles below the surface while sometimes triggering earthquakes in the process.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Dugtrio Card #19

23) First Edition Growlithe

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $500

Growlithe is a fire-type Pokémon that exudes qualities you'd expect from such a canine-like creature.

Incredibly loyal and protective of its territory and trainer, Growlithe possesses an acute olfactory sense that allows it to sniff out any intruding dangers in the area.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Growlithe Card #28

24) First Edition Wartortle

Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $500

A water-type Pokémon, Wartortle is the intermediary form between Squirtle and Blastoise who we saw much earlier on this list.

To swim at high speeds, Wartortle uses its fluffy ears and tail to cruise through the water in a controlled manner.

The creature spends much of its time in hiding as it awaits unsuspecting prey that wanders near it.

1999 Pokemon First Edition Wartortle Card #42

25) First Edition Pikachu (Red Cheeks)

Estimated Red Cheeks PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $400

Estimated Yellow Cheeks PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $150

Last but not least on our list is Pikachu, the face of the entire Pokémon franchise who evolves from Pichu and later into Raichu.

First edition cards of this electric-type rodent can be found with Pikachu having either red or yellow cheeks.

The card was first printed with red cheeks as artist Mitsuhiro Arita had intended.

However, Wizards of the Coast changed Pikachu's cheeks to yellow in later print runs as others felt they better-complimented the yellow lightning bolts that Pikachu emits.

Red Cheeks

1999 Pokemon First Edition Pikachu Red Cheeks Card #58

Yellow Cheeks

1999 Pokemon First Edition Pikachu Yellow Cheeks Card #58

First Edition Cards In Review

Whether you are a fan of them or not, there's no debating that first edition Pokémon cards are some of the hottest cards in non-sports card collecting.

The video games, television shows, and the cards themselves transformed Pokémon into a worldwide phenomenon with an enormous fan base.

And many of those kids who grew up with these cards are now adults with more spending power able to pay big bucks for them in top condition.

It doesn't look like that trend will slow anytime soon as these cards have found their place as one of the most popular non-sports sets in the hobby.

Ross Uitts
 

Ross is the founder of Old Sports Cards and has been collecting sports cards for over 30 years. He also loves to write about the hobby and has written for Beckett, Topps, SABR and of course, this website. Need help buying or selling cards or have a general question about the hobby? Contact him at [email protected]

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