The Rarest, Off-Beat Pokémon Cards


We’ve already covered the most expensive Pokemon cards in history. Those ran the gamut of extreme rarities to old-school classics — world-famous icons like Blastoise, Charizard, and Pikachu.

But the Pokemon collecting community is so much more varied than the luxury prices on the surface. So below, check out a list of some absurdly rare Pokemon cards that don’t often get mentioned by the Logan Pauls of the world. Together, we’ll venture into a universe composed of fan-club promos, printing errors, and one-off curios. Consider it a history lesson; 10 cards that you should know when getting your feet wet in Pokemon.

No Rarity Charizard

No Rarity Charizard

We’ve written multiple times on Otis about how Charizard rules the roost in this hobby, (and if you want to read about the most expensive Charizard ever sold, go check out our other Pokemon list.) But did you know there are multiple different variants of Nintendo’s world-famous dragon that stand tall above the fold? Case in point: the “no-rarity” Charizard emerged from Japan in the ’90s and lacks the telltale star on its corner, marking it a high-tier relic from the card game. So, next time you go through your baby box, keep your eyes peeled. A weird printing error has never been so lucrative.

Master’s Scroll

Master's Scroll

The Master’s Scroll arrived into the Pokemon community through curious means. If you were a member of the Daisuki Club — a Japanese fan club for the company — and reached a lofty tier within the fraternity’s rankings, then congratulations, the Master’s Scroll is yours to keep. Given the extremely high barrier of entry, (I mean, really, how many long-tenured Daisuki Club members are there?) the Master’s Scroll seldomly comes up for auction. Make sure to pounce if you ever see one in the wild.

No Rarity Poliwrath

No Rarity Poliwrath

We’re including this entry because it’s instructive for all amateur archivists. Poliwrath isn’t a cherished Pokemon character, and it’s far from the first creature that comes to mind when you think about the universe. And yet, a no-rarity, PSA-graded 10 Poliwrath sold for over $25,000 at auction last year. Why? Simply put, it is enormously difficult to find mint-condition original-run Pokemon cards, especially one with that aforementioned printing error, 20 years later. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Charizard or a Pikachu or the least auspicious figure on the chart; the supply and demand speaks for itself.

Gold Star Charizard

Gold Star Charizard

Did you really think we were done with Charizard so soon? Never! This is Pokemon collecting we’re talking about. That said, the Gold Star Charizard is a bit different from the cards we’ve talked about in the past. For one, this piece was printed in 2006 — long after the core set which consolidates most of the money in the industry. Basically, in the mid-2000s, Nintendo started sorting in some ultra-limited treasures in its booster packs, and all of them were marked with a gold star. Charizard remains an exceptionally popular character, so his gold star alternative was bound to be a hit. Who says you needed to be collecting in the ’90s to make money on Pokemon?

Mew Victory Orb Trophy

Mew Victory Orb Trophy

Ah, Mew, the most enigmatic Pokemon in the world. Mew was crucial to the universe’s first storylines, and is still a beloved figure in the culture to this day. Mew was immortalized in 2003 and 2004 with its own trophy card, handed out to winners of a Pokemon tournament in Japan. A golden rule of this industry is that if Nintendo distributed a promotional reward to a small handful of card sharks, it probably retains a ton of value. That’s certainly the case with Mew Victory Orb, which as GameRant notes, only 14 have been graded by the PSA.

2010 Pokemon World Championship Master’s Key

2010 Pokemon World Championship Master’s Key

‍Only 36 Master’s Key cards exist. They were dolled out in 2010 to the grandmasters participating in a highly prestigious Pokemon tournament in Hawaii. That is incredible scarcity, and it’s a reminder of how much potential still exists in this hobby. If, for instance, Pokemon collectors start fetishizing the game’s awkward preteen years — from 2008 to 2012 — suddenly the Master’s Key will be one of the hottest commodities in the whole canon. That’s not impossible! Think about how comic collectors spend oodles of cash on artifacts from the ’70s and ’80s. Be patient.

Skyridge Charizard

Skyridge Charizard

Alright, one last Charizard, I promise. In 2003, Wizards of the Coast released a run of Pokemon cards at a diminished circulation compared to previous editions. Today, the “Skyridge” set is notoriously difficult for collectors to track down. The most sought-after card from the set? Come on, like you didn’t already know the answer. Skyridge Charizard doesn’t have the same iconic silhouette as the ’90s original, but experts could argue he’s just as rare. Who cares what Logan Paul thinks? Get the Charizard that speaks to you.

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