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

Mariel Loveland
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List Rules Vote up the Pokémon cards you wish you had in your grad 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 their best to make these little pieces of paper extremely limited.

The rarest cards were only 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.

In the trading circuit, Pokémon cards are given 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.

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.


Pikachu is listed (or ranked) 1 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 4 winners of the very first Japanese Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament; therefore it's the rarest.

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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 $90,000

Why It's Worth So Much: This card was only given to winners of the CoroCoro Comic Illustration Contest in January of 1998. Only 20 to 39 of these cards exist in the world and only 10 are in mint condition.

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Charizard is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt
Photo: Typical Gamer/Twitter

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 that 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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Shining Charizard


Shining Charizard is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Incredibly Rare Pokémon Cards That Could Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt
Photo: Breaking Ninja/Pinterest

How Much It's Worth: Up to $3,500

Why It's Worth So Much: Shining Charizard marks the first time a "shiny" Pokémon was found in the card game. The Pokémon itself itself is holographic, instead of the background, and it's worth even more if it has a first edition marking outside of the bottom left of the image.

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