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 - and some have resulted in outrageous prices nowadays.
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.
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.
How Much It's Worth: Up to $1,500
Why It's Worth So Much: Like every first edition shadowless base set holographic starter, Blastoise was extra rare in 1999, but it's even more coveted now. You'd be lucky if you find a PSA 9 card for less than $700.
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.
How Much It's Worth: Up to $90,000
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.
How Much It's Worth: Up to $8,700 for an entire sealed box
Why It's Worth So Much: Old booster boxes regularly sell for thousands on eBay because you don't know the kind of rare cards they might have. A triangle error booster pack is the single most valuable, and a box full of these runs for enough to buy a used car.
They were created when the factory was supposed to stop printing "first edition" booster packs but didn't. Instead, they covered the "first edition" symbol with a black triangle. The factory printed the mistake cards for only a few hours.
These cards are worth something only if they're inside the booster pack (about $250). When they're in a sealed booster box, however, they're worth even more.