25 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 the U.S. 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 in the base set, 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 some are even considered to be among the most expensive Pokémon cards in general.
And in this guide, we take a look at the 25 most valuable.
Let's jump right in!
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:
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:
Now that we got that out of the way, let's go through the list.
You'll notice some of the cards on this list are known as "holographic" cards because 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 they're more rare, that greatly increases their values as well...
1) First Edition Holographic Charizard
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $225,000
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.
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:
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: $25,000
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.
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:
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: $22,500
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.
4) First Edition Holographic Mewtwo
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $17,000
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.
5) First Edition Holographic Venusaur
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $15,000
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.
Venusaur also serves as the mascot of the Pokémon Green video game making it one of the most recognizable of first edition Pokémon:
6) First Edition Holographic Gyarados
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $9,000
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.
7) First Edition Holographic Alakazam
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $8,500
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.
8) First Edition Holographic Hitmonchan
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $8,250
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 $8,000 or more.
9) First Edition Holographic Clefairy
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $8,000
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 $15,000 or more in PSA 10 condition.
10) First Edition Holographic Ninetales
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $7,500
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.
11) First Edition Holographic Raichu
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $7,000
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.
12) First Edition Holographic Nidoking
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,500
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 $5,500 or more.
13) First Edition Pikachu (Red Cheeks)
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $5,500
Pikachu is the face of the entire Pokémon franchise and 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.
As the red cheeks variation is more rare, it commands a significant price premium over its yellow-cheeked counterpart.
14) First Edition Holographic Magneton
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $4,500
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.
15) First Edition Holographic Poliwrath
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $4,500
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.
16) First Edition Holographic Zapdos
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $4,250
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.
17) First Edition Wartortle
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $2,000
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.
18) First Edition Pikachu (Yellow Cheeks)
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,500
Though it may not be as expensive as the rarer red-cheeked variation, the Pikachu card featuring the lovable face of the franchise with yellow cheeks is still quite expensive in high grade.
If you're lucky enough to own one of these cards in PSA 10 condition, it can sell for $1,500 or more.
19) First Edition Dragonair
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,400
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.
20) First Edition Holographic Machamp
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,100
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.
21) First Edition Lass
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $1,000
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.
22) First Edition Devolution Spray
Estimated PSA 10 Gem Mint Value: $900
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.
23) 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.
24) 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.
25) 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.
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.