Are Pokémon Cards a Good Investment?

March 20, 2024
Keenan Flack

Are Pokémon Cards a Good Investment?

In December of 2021, a first edition PSA 10 Charizard Pokémon card sold for an astonishing $288,000 at auction, even more shocking is that just 3 months later a similarly graded copy sold for $420,000. Pokémon cards have gone from childhood pastime to serious investment consideration for collectors and investors alike. In this article, we'll delve into the investment potential of Pokémon cards, focusing on ten of the most popular Pokémon from the original 151. Are these nostalgic treasures the kind of thing one could use to retire? Let's explore.

As a reminder, none of this should be construed as investment advice.

Why First Edition PSA 10 Cards?


In our exploration of the investment viability of Pokémon cards, the focus has been placed on PSA 10 first edition cards. This decision is grounded in the understanding that, much like the market for fine art, the true gauge of a collectible's market performance lies in its most pristine and rare specimens. PSA 10 denotes a card in 'Gem Mint' condition, representing the pinnacle of quality and condition in the collecting world. First edition cards, being the initial print run, possess an inherent scarcity and historical significance that elevates their status and demand among collectors. By concentrating on these cards, we aim to assess the Pokémon card market at its most elite level, providing insights into its investment quality based on the performance of its most sought-after pieces.

Which Auction Houses sell the Most Expensive Pokémon Cards?

The analysis presented in this article leverages Altan Insights' dataset on collectible prices, sourced from leading auction houses known for the sale of high-end Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) items. Primarily, these sales have been from PWCC, a dominant player in the Pokémon card market, renowned for handling the sale of ultra-premium Pokémon cards. Additionally, Heritage Auctions, with its monthly TCG sales featuring a significant representation of Pokémon TCG, serves as another critical data source. Goldin Auctions has a robust TCG department as well, listing thousands of Pokémon cards each year reaching prices as high as half a million dollars.

Our broad data collection approach allows for a robust and accurate reflection of market dynamics, capturing the fluctuations and trends in the prices of top-tier Pokémon cards over a specified period. By meticulously compiling and analyzing sales data from these marketplaces, we provide a detailed examination of the investment landscape for PSA 10 first edition Pokémon cards.

Where do I Invest in Pokémon cards?

As mentioned above, Auction houses like Goldin, Heritage, and PWCC are among the most reputable secondary markets for Pokémon cards. They sell cards priced anywhere between $5 and $500,000. If you are looking to start your Pokémon card collecting journey, then those houses would be a good place to start.

If you wish to simply invest in these assets for future returns, transacting with PWCC or Goldin might suit you well. These two houses have vault programs, allowing their customers to place their acquired cards into the stewardship of the house. Allowing you to sell later without having to send the card in, saving you time and shipping costs.

Smaller upstarts like and Rare Candy also offer ways to invest in Pokémon cards. Courtyard operates a marketplace that lists cards backed by Ethereum tokens, following your purchase of a card it will sit in a Brinks vault until you see fit to sell it. You can even set a buy now price for other users to buyout your card and have its ownership instantaneously reflect the new owner. Rare Candy’s marketplace offers cards, packs, boxes, and sets; though opening packs and boxes is more analogous to gambling than investing, this is certainly a way to begin your journey.

Finally, eBay, in terms of listing volume none of the above names even come close. Though if you intend to start your Pokémon investing journey there be sure to keep a watchful eye on exactly what you are buying. Auction houses act as a third party between buyer and seller, ensuring the buyer is getting exactly what they paid for. eBay, on the other hand, operates at such a scale that individual customers will be directed to the seller of the item when something goes awry. This lower customer interaction does come with lower fees though, making eBay a great place to find deals. Assuming you know what you are looking for, and are transacting with a trusted seller.

How do I invest in Pokémon cards?

Although this post has centered on cards graded PSA 10, one can start their Pokémon investing journey at any price point. The highest quality cards will always command a premium, but eagle-eyed collectors must be on the lookout for solid prices at any grade.

You can start investing in your favorite Pokémon today! Be mindful of the population of a card/grade, the price relative to previous sales, and the current/future popularity of the character.  

Love Dragonite, but can’t scratch together $4,000 to acquire a PSA 10 copy? Maybe pick up a $153 PSA 5 copy. Don’t have the funds for a $15,000 Mewtwo-Holo? You can purchase a PSA 6 copy for under$1,000. These cards will not be setting price records, but if prices for PSA 10copies climb, so can the price for lesser-graded copies too.

1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Charizard-Holo PSA 10

Altan Insights

Analyzing the sales data for the "1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Holo Charizard #4 PSA 10" card from November 2020 to February 2024 reveals a fluctuating but overall downward trend in its investment performance. Initially, the card experienced a significant surge in value, peaking at $420,000 in March 2022, reflecting the wild fervor in the market for collectibles at the time. Following this peak there was a notable decline in its sale prices, with the latest sale in February 2024 recording a value of $168,000.


The rarity of the card, with only 123 copies graded as PSA 10 out of 4,431 total PSA graded copies, combined with Charizard's status as arguably the most beloved Pokémon, underscores its inherent value and potential for long-term appreciation. Despite the recent decline in sale prices, the unique combination of fan love and scarcity has historically underpinned its value as among the most sought-after collectibles. The fluctuations in price also reflect the volatile nature of the collectibles market, where values can significantly change based on market sentiment, the economic environment, and collector trends. As such, while the card's recent performance shows a downturn, potentially offering deep-pocketed collectors the chance to sell if the value reverses course.

1999 Pokemon Fossil 1st Edition Gengar-Holo #5 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The sales history of the "1999 Pokémon Fossil 1st Edition Holo Gengar #5 PSA 10" card from February 2020 to February 2024 presents an intriguing narrative of its investment performance, marked by significant volatility and a notable recovery pattern. Initially, the card's value saw a rapid increase, climbing from $1,189 in February 2020 to a peak of $3,120 in March 2022. However, prices began to fall from there, including a sharp drop to $1,200 in December 2023 before rebounding to $3,150 in February 2024.


The Gengar card's rarity is underscored by its PSA 10 grade, with only 175 out of 4,042 total graded copies achieving this distinction, indicating a gem rate of 4.3%. While Gengar's prices have not reached the same heights as some of its peers, the card's performance is indicative of a strong market presence. The fluctuations in its sale price, notably the recent recovery, suggest more resilient demand.

1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Bulbasaur  #63 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The investment performance of the "1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Bulbasaur #44 PSA 10" card from November 2020to February 2024 highlights a notable market volatility specific to this collectible. Initially, the card prices showed variability, peaking dramatically at $15,000 in February 2021, which was certainly influenced by the Covid trading card bubble. Following this peak, the card's value experienced a decline, stabilizing in a lower range between $1,470 and $1,950 in the subsequent years.


The Bulbasaur card has a PSA 10 gem rate of 13% out of a total PSA population of 2,606, a bit higher than average, implying that PSA 10copies are less scarce than usual. When comparing Bulbasaur's market performance to its Gen 1 starter counterparts, Charmander and Squirtle, whose most recent PSA 10 sales were significantly lower; with recent eBay sales of first edition Charmander selling for $767.38 and Squirtle for $677.75. Bulbasaur fares quite well, reflecting the grass-type Pokémon’s appeal and its population being half of either of the other two. This comparison suggests that while all three Gen 1 starter Pokémon enjoy popularity, market valuations can significantly differ based on perceived rarity, collector demand, and perhaps nostalgic value attached to each character.

1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Pikachu Red Cheeks #58 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The "1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Red Cheeks Pikachu #58 PSA 10" card, like many others, experienced extreme highs during 2020/2021. Initially selling for $4,000 in October 2020, the card saw a dramatic peak at $15,200 by February 2021. Following this peak, the card experienced more tame fluctuations in price, generally trending downwards with bright spots, such as a rebound to $5,500 in March 2023. By February 2024, the sale price stabilized at $4,200, indicating a market correction from its all-time high yet maintaining a value above its initial October 2020 figure.


This card's valuation is intricately tied to its rarity and the iconic status of Pikachu as a central Pokémon character. With a total PSA population of 2,554 and only 253 graded at PSA 10, even with comparable populations to Bulbasaur—'Red Cheeks’ found a floor price of just $3,000compared to Bulbasaur’s bottom of $1,530. The two’s peak prices of $15,000 were hit in the same month of 2021, possibly implying that when the getting is good rare first edition cards can skyrocket, but the most desirable are able to retain that value more admirably going forward.

In comparison, its counterpart, the 1st Edition Yellow Cheeks Pikachu, despite only having a slightly higher total population (3,104)and more cards graded at PSA 10 (534), has not reached the same peak prices, peaking at less than half of the ‘Red Cheeks’ variant's highest sale price. This disparity underlines the premium collectors are willing to pay for the rarity and specific variations within the Pokémon card market.

1999 Pokemon Fossil 1st Edition Dragonite-Holo #4 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The "1999 Pokemon Fossil 1st Edition Holo Dragonite #4 PSA 10" card has experienced a diverse range of sales prices since February 2020, showcasing its volatility in the collectibles market. The card's value saw a peak of $9,850 in October 2020. Although, the falloff from this peak was less aggressive compared to similar cards who peaked around the same time. Going from $9,850 to a post-bubble bottom of $3,360 in July of 2022;resulting in a -65.8% from peak to trough. The latest sales in 2023 indicate stabilization marginally above that floor, with prices oscillating between $3,480 to $4,200 mark.


Dragonite's Fossil set provenance and its limited PSA 10 population of only 229 out of a PSA population of 5,100, tracks similarly to other first edition-Holo Fossil set cards. Despite the similarities in population and rarity with set-mate Gengar, Dragonite's higher peak prices may reflect the character’s appeal, or a bias towards cards with higher price records; a PSA 10 Gengar never experienced a 2020/21 boom price, its most recent transaction in February of 2024 is likely the auction record at $3,150. Maybe implying some room to run if there is another Poké-bubble upon us?

1999 Pokemon 1st Edition Mewtwo-Holo #10 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The "1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Holo Mewtwo #10 PSA 10" card presents an intriguing investment profile, with its transaction history from November 2020 to April 2023 showing a retention in value across those three years. Initially, the card's value hovered around the$20,000 mark, peaking at $22,655 in November 2020. Notable dips went as low as$13,100 in April 2021 and a surprising fall to $3,000 in November 2022, before rebounding impressively to $24,600 in February 2023. Minor fluctuations with only one major falloff, ironically enough during the 2021 Poké-bubble, implies that this Mewtwo card is at least worthy of being named a solid store of value (past performance does not guarantee future results).


The rarity of the Mewtwo card, with only 82 copies graded PSA 10 out of a total PSA population of 1,973, positions it as a scarce asset, potentially driving its appeal to collectors. Mewtwo's prominence in Pokémon lore, particularly its central role in "Pokémon: The First Movie, "cemented the character’s status as a nostalgic and iconic figure, possibly contributing to its price stability.

1999 Pokémon 1st Edition Arcanine #23 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The "1999 Pokémon Base Set 1st Edition Shadowless Arcanine #23 PSA 10" card's sales data from November 2020 to January 2024 illustrates a relatively stable market with modest fluctuations in value. The card's value started at $696 in November 2020 and saw a peak at $1,125 in February 2021, tracking nicely with peak prices achieved by other cards at the time. However, this surge was followed by a general decline and stabilization in price, with values oscillating between $432 and $800 in the subsequent periods. The price floor being only half that of the peak indicates that Arcanine did not receive the same bubble appreciation as other cards, or that collectors have been willing to hold onto them during this down period.


Arcanine's unique position in Pokémon lore, originally intended as a legendary Pokémon alongside Articuno and Zapdos, the card is even marked 'Legendary Pokémon' underneath the art. With a PSA population of 1,023 and only 208 graded as PSA 10, the card has the lowest population on the list; its price being on the low end of those discussed in this article would imply that this scarcity has not convinced collectors to bid up the value. The overall market behavior for the Arcanine card underscores the nuanced dynamics of Pokémon card collecting, where character lore, rarity, and condition significantly influence investment potential. Arcanine certainly has a smaller presence in the intellectual property than other characters on this list, but even with that lower exposure to fans it still has found a way to maintain its value over the last four years.  

1999 Pokémon Fossil 1st Edition Lapras-Holo #10 PSA 10

Altan Insights

The "1999 Pokémon Fossil 1st Edition Holo Lapras #10PSA 10" card's sales data from June 2020 to August 2023 shows a volatile asset, like most Pokémon cards, but even more so than usual. Like many others, this card experienced its peak price in 2021 of fetching $6,000 in March. However, this peak was the second all-time high for the card post-2020, finding$5,000 in late 2020 only for the record to be topped just 5 months later. The prices that followed in the next two years saw a general downtrend with some recent signs of life in June 2023 when it reached $2,750 after bottoming out at $1,920 the previous October. These price fluctuations broadly match the tempo of the broader Pokémon card market with recent sales trending in the right direction for potential investment.


The Fossil set, from which this Lapras card originates, also includes cards in this list like Gengar and Dragonite. With a PSA population of 3,543 and only 119 graded at PSA 10, this Lapras card exhibits similar overall scarcity in population to other cards, but an impressive gem rate at about 3.4%;compared to Fossil set compatriots, Dragonite and Gengar, who have 4.4% and4.3% respectively—PSA 10 copies of Lapras-Holo are markedly rarer. The entirety of PSA populations for Fossil set cards is around 235,000 while there are just over 768,000 base set cards in PSA pop reports. Although Fossil cards are 3x less rare this does not seem to transfer to a 3x increase in value. Valuing Pokémon cards as an investable asset is not an exact science, as shown by this list, each character/card is beloved by collectors for more reasons than there are Pokémon in a Pokédex.

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Disclaimer: You understand that by reading Altan Insights, you are not receiving financial advice. No content published here constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. You further understand that the author(s) are not advising you personally concerning the nature, potential, value or suitability of any particular security, transaction, or investment strategy. You alone are solely responsible for determining whether an investment, security or strategy, or any other product or service, is appropriate or suitable for you based on your investment objectives and personal financial situation. Please speak with a financial advisor to understand if the risks inherent in trading are appropriate for you. Trade at your own risk.

All information provided by Altan Insights is impersonal and not tailored to the needs of any person, entity or group of persons. Past performance of an index or asset is not an indication or guarantee of future results.

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