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Pokémon Cards

If you are a 90s kid you don’t even need an introduction to this. It’s simply just one of those things you grew up with. Every generation has its quirks. It’s very own fads, popular TV and music icons, and gadgets and gizmos.

Every child that was born after the year 2000 grew up pretty tech savvy. They are always either playing with smartphones and fidget spinners or doing different internet challenges. We, 90s kids? We were the generation of the Sony Walkman, Backstreet boys and yes, be blades and Pokémon cards!

Remebering where Pokémon cards​ came from

The Pokémon card game is basically a trading card game based on one of the most popular anime cartoons in TV history. In the game, two players assume the role of Pokémon trainers (just like in the show) and start battling off! The winner takes home the best cards by the end of the day, and back in our days; the kid with the rarest and powerful collection of Pokémon cards was the envy of all.

Now if you’re someone familiar with what Pokémon and Pokémon cards are like, you’ll know that there is a wide variety of different Pokémon cards to choose from. And let’s face it. Whether it was Charmander, Squirtle or even Pikachu, we all had our favorite growing up and loved collecting the rarest versions of our favorites.

The Blastoise Cards

Blastoise Pokemon
When it comes to the world of Pokémon trading cards, one of the top favorites of all time are the Blastoise Pokemon cards. Everyone in the Pokémon fandom knows that Blastoise is the third and last, most powerful evolution of Squirtle. (Squirtle being one of the three starter Pokémon for every trainer).
Blastoise is the evolved form of Wartortle and Wartortle is evolved from Squirtle. All three of them are water type Pokémon’s that excel against fire type Pokémon.

Category and element of Blastoise

Blastoise itself is a water type who is marked under the category of shellfish type, despite its appearance. It has blue skin and the appearance of a giant turtle complete with a large shell on its back. For the most part, the blue body is hidden by its hard brown shell. Typically Blastoise Pokémon are over one and a half meters in height and can throw powerful jet streams of water from their guns when attacking or defending themselves against their enemies.

This special ability is called ‘Torrent’ and is one of the many that the Blastoise possesses in its arsenal of skills, although Blastoise are powerful against fire type Pokémon, they are also at a disadvantage against electric and grass type Pokémon. Electricity conducts water and nature revels in it. Therefore the Blastoise’s water-based attacks become futile against both types of Pokémon. So keep these things in mind if you are setting out to play with your friends!

Blastoise Pokemon cards

1991 Carddass Vending Blastoise Trainer PSA Mint 9
1996 Carddass Vending Blastoise Trainer on eBay

The trainer cards are a little different than the usual Pokémon cards. They don’t necessarily have a Pokémon on them and cannot be used to fight against other Pokémon cards but nonetheless they add to the charms of playing the trading game. 

Having a trainer card meant you had mastery over the particular Pokémon that the particular trainer was meant for! This one is again one of the very first lines of cards therefore, in today’s world quite a rarity. It is valued at, $ 70 in Mint 9 condition. 

Population Report

27 Blastoise trainers have been submitted for grading and 2 were in Gem-Mint 10 condition. Making them pretty rare in near perfect condition. There haven’t been any recorded sales so far but there is 1 listed for $129 buy-it-now on eBay. 

1996 Carddass Vending Blastoise on eBay

This is another one of those original Japanese cards, along with the first edition of Pokémon cards to ever be printed. Unlike regular expansions, where a player would receive a number of cards from a booster pack, these cards were only obtainable on randomized sheets from a Vending Machine. 

The cards are printed on glossy card stock, unlike the regular matte card stock. Glossy card stock became quite popular through the time of 1998 until about 2001 for promos

Population Report

83 Blastoise Prisms have been submitted to PSA for grading so far. 27 have been granted the Gem-Mint 10 case and stamp of approval. Considering the history of these cards, one would assume the value of a near perfect card would be higher than $82, right? i would keep my eye open for these early Blastoise Prisms. They could prove to be a healthy investment as long as the population stays relatively low. 

1997 Pocket Monsters Blastoise Prism Carddass #009 PSA Graded Gem Mint 10
1997 Pocket Monsters Blastoise Prism Carddass #009 on eBay

This is personally my favorite Blastoise card. It captures him in his water canon blast battling it out with one of his adversaries until the last remaining HP has been exhausted. The joining box shapes in the background shine with a holo effect that gives the card a 3-D look and feel. Vintage Pocket Monsters is prominently displayed at the bottom in a vibrant purple color and bold font. Both Japanese and English text is on the card. There is tons of information on the back. This card has it all. 

For those of you that didn’t pick up on it, the name Pokémon is a play on the words ‘pocket monsters’.

This card screams rare and valuable Pokemon card, right? Let’s look at the PSA Population reports to see if that’s the case.

PSA Population Report:

66 of these Carddass vending machine Blastoise cards have been submitted to PSA for grading. How many were in Gem-Mint 10 conditon? According to PSA, 17 copies were. For roughly $100, you can have 1 of the 17 known Gem-Mint 10 condition copies. I wonder how long the price tag will stay this low. 

1995 P.M. Japanese Topsun Blastoise Pokemon Card Green Back Front PSA Gem Mint 10
1995 P.M. Japanese Topsun Blastoise Pokemon Card Green Back on eBay
1995 P.M. Japanese Topsun Blastoise Pokemon Card Green Back Back side
Back Side

Green Back

Valued at $435 at the latest auction, this is indeed a rare and expensive card that was introduced in the mid-90s. Back in the day you could have bought this card out of your meager childhood allowance as part of a pack of other cards. But, if you still have your childhood collection, rejoice! It has quadrupled in value several times over! Card collectors especially adore this card for its sleek outlook and rare green design on the back.

PSA Population Report:

33 Green backs have been submitted to PSA for grading so far, with a staggering 24 receiving Gem-Mint 10 grades.  3 of the cards were in Mint 9 condition. The lowest grade received was a PSA 4 VG-EX. Finding un-graded copies on eBay will be difficult, especially copies that appear to be in perfect condition. 

1996 Japanese Basic Blastoise HOLO PSA Graded Gem Mint 10
1996 Japanese Basic Blastoise HOLO on eBay

There’s nothing special about this set other than it’s one of the first Pokemon sets to ever be printed setting the foundation for pretty much all other Pokemon cards. And it’s in Japanese. The rarity symbol, that teeny black star on the bottom right corner, makes this a common Pokemon card.

In 10-20 years Gem-Mint 10 copies of this card can double if not triple in value, as long as the population reports stay low. The Pokemon craze is growing throughout entire world. Before we know it, everyone will be wanting these cards in” Gem-Mint” condition. Which, with the supply and demand rule, will jack up the price tag. 

How rare are the 1996 Japanese basic holos in Gem Mint condition? 

So far, there have been 495 Blastoise holo’s submitted to PSA for grading. 167 graded out to be in Gem-Mint 10 condition. This means that if you submit a copy of this card yourself, you have a 34% chance of landing a 10 grade. If that percentage stays that low, you can expect the value to steadily increase over the next 10 – 20 years. 

2004 Pokemon EX Blastoise Holo Fire Red Leaf Green PSA Graded Gem Mint 10
2004 Pokemon EX Blastoise Holo Fire Red Leaf Green on eBay

Awesome looking card. A true must-have for any Blastoise collector. The 2004 Blastoise EX holo was fairly difficult to pull from the 36 pack booster box (roughly 3 ultra rares per box). Imagine how many you would have to open just to acquire one. The holo foil on this card is bad ass. It actually floods over the borders of the cards, opposed to being contained in the box like earlier cards. 

Gem-Mint 10 copies are pretty rare but the price does not reflect it. For around $120 you can add one to your collection. 

Population report:

218 have been submitted. 82 were in Gem-Mint 10 condition. You’re looking at a 38% chance of landing a Gem-Mint 10 if submitting one yourself. Raw copies can be found for $20 on eBay. 

1995 P.M. Topsun Bluck back Blastoise PSA Gem Mint 10
1995 P.M. Japanese Topsun Blastoise Pokemon Card Blue Back on eBay
1995 P.M. Topsun Blastoise Blue Back Pokemon PSA Gem Mint 10
Back Side

Blue Back

This special card is valued at $202, on average,  and is a tad more expensive than its green counterpart. It is one of the first ever Pokémon cards to be printed in the world and therefore ranges at a very high value. The card is similar to the first one except that it has a special blue background making for a beautiful and classy appearance.

PSA Population Report:

The blue back cards are falling short on the PSA pop reports when compared to the green back cards. 19 blue back cards have been submitted for grading and only 7 PSA Gem-Mint 10’s are in existence. Which, makes them slightly rarer and more valuable. It all depends on your color preference though. 

2012 B&W Plasma Storm Blastoise Pokemon card graded PSA 10 Gem Mint
2012 B&W Plasma Storm Blastoise Pokemon card graded PSA 10 Gem Mint

In May of 2017 PWCC had an auction end for record selling price of this card in PSA Gem-Mint 10 condition. How much did it go for? A staggering $1,000. But, since that auction the value has since gone down considerably. 

The most recent auction for this card ended at $222.50. Which, seems fair considering the population report is showing. 

Population Report

Of the 379 cards submitted to PSA for grading, only 40 have been declared to be in Gem Mint condition. The majority of grades given for this card, like most newer pack fresh Pokemon cards, is Mint 9. The value of a Mint 9 copy has slowly been increasing. In December of 2016, a copy sold for only $45. But, a Mint 9 sold recently at “best offer” on eBay for $135. 

1999 Blastoise Holo Pokemon Card PSA Gem Mint 10
1999 Blastoise Holo Pokemon Card PSA Gem Mint 10 on eBay

The 1999 Pokemon base unlimited Blastoise holo isn’t as rare as the 1st edition or Shadowless but it is still collectible. The print runs for unlimited was a lot higher than the much rarer 1st edition and shadowless cards at roughly 7 or 8. Let’s just say there were a lot printed. It’s unknown how many sets actually exist all we know is due to the popularity of the cards, it was a lot. They printed enough to meet the demand. So when the stores sold out, they printed more. Unlike the 1st edition and Shadowless. 

How many were damaged due to play and carelessness? Probably a lot. Which is why a Gem-Mint 10 copy still holds value. 

Population Report

265 of the 2,824 Blastoise-Holo cards were deemed to be in Gem-Mint 10 condition. So far, 8,650 Charizard holo’s were submitted for grading. So, it’s safe to assume that atleast that many sets were printed. 

1996 Pokemon Masters Japanese Basic Blastoise Holo No Rarity Symbol PSA Graded Mint 9
1996 Japanese Basic Blastoise Holo No Rarity Symbol​ on eBay

Different from the multiple English print runs of first editions, shadowless unlimited and even the rare 1999 – 2000 print run. The 1996 Japanese base set was always considered to have only one print run until recently. The newly discovered 1996 “No Rarity Symbol” cards are the first print run of the Japanese base set. Quite literally, they are the first Pokémon cards ever printed. 

Referred to as no rarity by collectors these first print cards are signified by a lack of rarity symbols in the lower right hand corner of the card. 

These rarity symbols are present in the general print run of Japanese base set and in every other Pokémon card printing set to come, with the exception of promos.

Population Report

No rarity cards are often in terrible condition, a major downside for most collectors. Given their age, (20 years) and their limited print run. Finding Gem Mint condition no rarity cards is virtually impossible. There are currently 4 Blastoise PSA Gem-Mint 10’s in existence. There has not been a recorded sale of one yet so the value is still undetermined. PSA Mint 9’s sell for $550, on average. 

First printed Pokémon Cards?

The first promotional materials advertising the release of base set in Japan showed these no rarity cards, which is how we know that they’re the first printing of Japanese base set. Overall, no rarity cards are extremely difficult to find. It’s speculated that these cards were only printed for 1 to 2 weeks before the print run was switched to have rarity symbols.

What Packs We're No Rarity Cards In?

Nobody knows where these cards came from. Don’t be swayed by people claiming that no rarity cards come out of first print decks or available in certain versions of Japanese base set packs. No legitimate confirmation of these rumors is available. In fact, Japanese packs featuring short tops have been confirmed to not have no rarity cards inside them the truth is that we simply don’t know where these cards come from, which greatly adds to their mystery.
1995 Pokemon Master Japanese Topsun Holofoil Blastoise card PSA Gem Mint 10
1995 Japanese Topsun Blastoise Holofoil on eBay

Pokémon Cards are in itself a collector’s dream come true considering the wide range of cards that exist. But the Pokémon Holofoil cards are a thing of beauty. The bright holographic foil packaging almost makes it seem like the Pokémon printed in the card is alive and moving!

Back in the day, the Holofoil cards came hidden between the pack of cards that children would buy and nothing delighted you more than to find one in your pack. It was the ultimate bonus. Today, this rare Blastoise Holofoil card, in PSA Gem-Mint 10 condition, is valued at $874, on average. 

Population Report

The holofoils in this set are extremely rare. The highest populated card so far is Charizard at 68 copies submitted. Blastoise has has 46 of his cards graded with only 11 being in Gem-Mint condition. You can rest assured that these cards will only be going up in value as time goes on. 

1999 Blastoise Pokemon Holo Shadowless on eBay
The Shadowless print mirror the 1st Edition cards except for the 1st Edition logo. All cards in the 1st Edition and Shadowless runs were printed with thinner HP and attack text. These cards were without drop shadows for the illustration window, hence the name shadowless. Shadowless cards are more valuable than later runs.

Population Report

866 Shadowless cards have been submitted to PSA so far and only 34 are in Gem-Mint 10 cases. 4% of the population is in perfect condition. Currently, the average selling price for a Gem-Mint 10 is about $2,843. 

1999 Blastoise Pokemon Holo 1st Edition PSA Graded Gem Mint 10
1999 Blastoise Pokemon Holo 1st Edition​ on eBay

1st Edition Pokemon cards are the very first English Pokemon cards printed. They can be distinguished by the black 1st Edition stamp located to the left of the Pokémon type. Variations on some cards from the unlimited set can also be found like the shadowless borders, ink color, variations and even wording variations. The 1st Edition set is considered to be the Holy Grail of Pokémon cards. Which reflects onto the selling prices.

1st Edition cards are so collectible that cards in very poor condition are selling for large price tags. A PSA 2 sold for $124 on 2/5/18. 

Population Report

1,169 have been submitted for grading and only 94 were in perfect condition. 

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So there you have it! A constructive list of twenty of the rarest and expensive Pokémon trading cards to add to your collection. That is, if you have a spare few thousand dollars to spend on them. And if you’re someone who already owns some of these cards, you’ll be pleasantly shocked to note that you are what your parents thought was a silly childhood obsession has successfully turned into a very valuable collection!

What are your thoughts?

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