First Edition Pokemon Card Ultimate Guide (Updated 2023)

Anyone who has previously invested in first edition Pokémon cards is seeing the gamble pay off, with record prices recorded for many of the original pocket monsters. The same is true for later releases, but it isn’t easy to match 1999 set in terms of interest or value. 

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Here’s everything you need to know about the best first edition Pokémon cards, including why some are more special than others and which ones you should look out for.

Shadowless Cards 

With the most expensive first-edition cards. there’s one significant distinction compared to the collection you’re likely to have at home. Unlike the Base Set Unlimited cards (BSU), there are shadowless borders, while a small ‘1st Edition’ stamp should be located just under the card image. As well as the above, the card also needs to be in perfect condition if you’re hoping to see the highest prices.

Best First Edition Pokemon Cards

Any shiny, shadowless 1st Edition Pokémon card will be reasonably valuable, but a few manage to stand out from the crowd.

 

1999 Shadowless Charizard Pokemon Base 1st Edition #4

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Ultimate First Edition Pokemon Cards Guide

Charizard was the key to the original set and one of the most popular Pokémon from the era. That has continued to the present day, while prices continue to rise for shadowless versions. Rapper Logic bought a copy for $220,574 in October 2020, and the record was soon broken in December 2020 when a Charizard sold for $369,000. A report about the sale noted: 

“Confirming that the Charizard craze is not slowing down was an additional sale through PWCC on eBay, which also broke the USD 300,000 threshold. This card belonged to a collector who bought it in 2009 for USD 700, selling it a few days ago for USD 350,000.” 

 

1999 Pokemon Base 1st Edition Shadowless Blastoise #2 

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One of the few Pokémon that would give Charizard a run for his money in-universe, Blastoise is another of the original starters in their fully evolved form.

“Along with Venasaur, 1999 shadowless versions are always popular, even if they can’t match up to the card seen above in terms of pure values.”

As always, pristine copies are coveted, while it’s worth noting that Blastoise was the Pokémon Blue cover star. This is the next best thing if you can’t afford a PSA 10 Charizard.

 

2000 Pokemon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 

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Let’s switch things up, moving on to a set that was released the year after. Lugia was the cover star for the next round of Pokémon games, and while he might not match up to many older options, it’s still a card that collectors highly prize. 

A white background is the source of several issues that are also seen with the 1999 Chansey card below, leading to higher values than the norm. There are often problems with the lining too, so only 41 PSA 10 examples out of almost 1300 have been submitted.

 

1999 Pokemon Base 1st Edition Shadowless Chansey #3 

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Chansey? Compared to the others, it’s not the most influential Pokémon to make the list, but it’s still precious if you’re looking for perfect copies.

Due to manufacturing issues that caused significant scratching on the holographic foil part of the card, the 1st Edition Base Set Chansey has consistently ranked among the most challenging cards to grade ever released by Pokémon, with a PSA 10 population of just 46 copies. 

 

1999 Pokemon Base 1st Edition Shadowless Mewtwo #10 

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Mewtwo was the star of the first film and one of the more mysterious Pokémon from the original batch of 151. Today, the first edition card is still precious and was the tenth card in the set. 

There are currently 80 PSA 10-graded copies of the Mewtwo card, and they’ll quickly sell within the five-figure range. The most powerful of the original Pokémon, only the cards seen above tend to be as valuable.

 

First Edition Pokemon Cards Value List

#1 – Alakazam

#2 – Blastoise

#3 – Chansey

#4 – Charizard

#5 – Clefairy

#6 – Gyarados

#7 – Hitmonchan

#8 – Machamp

#9 – Magneton

#10 – Mewtwo

#11 – Nidoking

#12 – Ninetales

#13 – Poliwrath

#14 – Raichu

#15 – Venusaur

#16 – Zapdos

#17 – Beedrill

#18 – Dragonair

#19 – Dugtrio

#20 – Electabuzz

#21 – Electrode

#22 – Pidgeotto

#23 – Arcanine

#24 – Charmeleon

#25 – Dewgong

#26 – Dratin

i#27 – Farfetch’d

#28 – Growlithe

#29 – Haunter

#30 – Ivysaur

#31 – Jynx

#32 – Kadabra

#33 – Kakuna

#34 – Machoke

#35 – Magikarp

#36 – Magmar

#37 – Nidorino

#38 – Poliwhirl

#39 – Porygon

#40 – Raticate

#41 – Seel

#42 – Wartortle

#43 – Abra

#44 – Bulbasaur

#45 – Caterpie

#46 – Charmander

#47 – Diglett

#48 – Doduo

#49 – Drowzee

#50 – Gastly

#51 – Koffing

#52 – Machop

#53 – Magnemite

#54 – Metapod

#55 – Nidoran M

#56 – Onix

#57 – Pidgey

#58 – Pikachu

#59 – Poliwag

#60 – Ponyta

#61 – Rattata

#62 – Sandshrew

#63 – Squirtle

#64 – Starmie

#65 – Staryu

#66 – Tangela

#67 – Voltorb

#68 – Vulpix

#69 – Weedle

#70 – Clefairy Doll

#71 – Computer Search

#72 – Devolution Spray

#73 – Imposter Professor Oak

#74 – Item Finder

#75 – Lass

#76 – Pokemon Breeder

#77 – Pokemon Trader

#78 – Scoop Up

#79 – Super Energy Remova

l#80 – Defender

#81 – Energy Retrieval

#82 – Full Heal

#83 – Maintenance

#84 – PlusPower

#85 – Pokemon Center

#86 – Pokemon Flute

#87 – Pokedex

#88 – Professor Oak

#89 – Revive

#90 – Super Potion

#91 – Bill

#92 – Energy Removal

#93 – Gust of Wind

#94 – Potion

#95 – Switch

#96 – Double Colorless Energy

#97 – Fighting Energy

#98 – Fire Energy

#99 – Grass Energy

#100 – Lightning Energy

#101 – Psychic Energy

#102 – Water Energy

 

How to get first-edition Pokemon cards?

The best place to obtain first-edition Pokemon cards is on eBay auctions. If you get lucky and search hard enough, you may find one much cheaper than the actual value.

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Summary 

As you can see, the best first edition Pokémon cards contain some of the biggest names, and there’s a distinct preference for the 1999 set. Most shiny cards have been long forgotten, and PSA 10 graded (read: PSA Grading or SGC Grading) shadowless versions often have fewer than 100 copies.

“That leads to increased rarity and the extreme prices we’re seeing this year. It’s only expected to continue as time goes by.”

There’s been a massive influx of interest in the hobby in recent months, probably fueled by the record-breaking Charizard purchase for the most part. For the best investments, it’s hard to beat the original 151 or exceptional cards such as the Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia.

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