Total Nerd

18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt 

Mariel Loveland
Updated December 10, 2019 45.7k votes 13k voters 1.1M views 18 items

List Rules Vote up the Pokémon cards you wish you had in your grade school backpack.

In the '90s, most of us were busy hoarding Beanie Babies in hopes they would pay for our college education once they increased in value. That totally backfired, but another '90s toy hidden in the depths of our childhood bedrooms can actually be worth a boatload. Some rare Pokémon cards can easily pay for your college loans.

The Pokémon Trading Card Game is arguably one of the most fun and original card games of the last few decades. Throughout the years, Pokémon has done its best to make these little pieces of paper extremely limited - and some efforts have resulted in outrageous prices nowadays.

The rarest cards were given to a select few master trainers who won tournaments, but you may actually have some of the most expensive Pokémon cards in your regular collection. Factory errors also occurred, from the base set first edition misprint to free promotional movie cards that didn't come out as planned. These are among the rarest Pokémon cards in the bunch.

On the trading circuit, Pokémon cards receive a Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) number. Number 10 is complete mint condition and will potentially increase the value of your Pokémon cards by thousands. However, if your card's PSA falls below a 7, it dramatically decreases in value. In August 2019, for example, a 103-piece set of Mint 10 condition cards including a first edition Charizard sold for $107,010 at auction. Each of the cards is considered rare, which proves their increasing value is unrelenting. 

Do you have a secret goldmine hidden in your grade school backpack? There's only one way to find out. These are the Pokémon cards that cost the most money.

Charizard is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt
Photo: flickr/CC0

How Much It's Worth: Up to $11,999

Why It's Worth So Much: Error cards are some the most valuable of all Pokémon cards, and some of the holographic base sets have a rare error. These cards, known as "Shadowless," are noticeably missing a shadow to the right of the image.

This error was remedied rather quickly, so not many of these cards exist. Couple that with the fact a holographic Charizard was every kid's dream, and you've got a pretty darn valuable piece of paper in your hands.

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2
Pikachu Illustrator
Pikachu Illustrator is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt
Photo: eBay

How Much It's Worth: Up to $195,000

Why It's Worth So Much: This card was given only to winners of the CoroCoro Comic Illustration Contest in January 1998. Only 20 to 39 of these cards exist in the world and only 10 are in mint condition. As of October 2019, this celebration of Pokémon art the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. 

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Pikachu is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt
Photo: smpratte/Instagram

How Much It's Worth: It's so rare you can't find it on eBay. The price is largely unknown, but it's sure to be exorbitant. 

Why It's Worth So Much: No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 trainer cards are always rare. They're only handed out to winners at official Trading Card Game world championships. This adorable, holographic Pikachu card was only given to four winners of the very first Japanese Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament; therefore it's the rarest.

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Raichu is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt
Photo: accio_pond/LiveJournal

How Much It's Worth: Up to $10,000

Why It's Worth So Much: Though it's never been confirmed by Wizards of the Coast (the company that manufactures Pokémon cards), it's thought that just 10 Prerelease Raichu cards exist. The term "prerelease" was allegedly stamped on the base set card and given out only to employees, friends, and family.

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