Check your attic: rare set of Pokémon cards sell for over $170,000

A rare set of Pokémon cards fetched $170,000 at auction.
A rare set of Pokémon cards fetched $170,000 at auction. Photo: Goldin Auctions

Do you have a collection of old Pokémon cards gathering dust in your attic? Well, you might want to dig them out. If you managed to catch 'em all back in the 90s, you could well be sitting on a gold mine.

Over the weekend, one super fan paid a cool US $107,000 ($AU 157,606) for a complete set of first-editions from 1999 and nostalgia is only fuelling demand.

Sold by Goldin Auctions, the set comprised of 103 cards including the coveted Charizard. (These cards can fetch up to $20,000 alone). Bidding began at $25,000 with the winner beating twelve other fans to take home the rare set.

Three rare cards sold at auction.
Three rare cards sold at auction. Photo: Goldin Auctions

"For many Millennials, the original 1999 Pokémon video (and) card games remain a staple of their childhood, providing what seems like a lost art in a nostalgic feeling," Goldin says on the listing. "For a generation such as the Millennials it signals the end of the tangible toy age and the beginning of the virtual age, as no other item became as popular or as connective as Pokémon in years following."

But why was this particular set so valuable?

Each card was graded GEM MT 10  by the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), the leading authority on collector card quality, which means they're in mint condition. Deemed "virtually perfect", cards given this rating boast "four perfect corners" "sharp focus" and "full original gloss."​​

In addition, Goldin notes, "many cards have population counts below fifty". As such, "demand for this set in high-grade continues to grow."

In fact, it's not the first time sets have fetched such high prices. In 2007, a similar collection sold for just under $100,000.


Now, while you might not have an entire set of the rare cards, how do you know if you're holding a coveted first edition?

Card authenticators say first editions, have a special small black circular stamp, below their featured Pokémon to signify their vintage status. 

According to Ranker, other rare cards you should be looking out for include: Pikachu Illustrator, Trophy Pikachu Trainer No. Pre-release RaichuGold Star Espeon and Tropical Mega Battle Cards.

Take a look at their full list here