Are non 1st edition Pokémon cards worth anything?

The short answer is – yes, non-1st edition Pokémon cards can still be very valuable! While 1st edition originals from the Base Set will always be the holy grails, many non-first edition cards from those early sets and exclusive promos can be worth hundreds or even thousands to collectors.

As a seasoned investor and data analyst, let me walk you through the key factors that give non-1st edition cards value along with economic trends in the marketplace. With some diligence, you may uncover hidden gems in your old Pokémon card collection!

What gives non-1st edition cards value?

There are four main drivers that give non-first edition Pokémon cards collectible value and aftermarket worth:


Early sets like Base, Jungle, Fossil and Team Rocket had much smaller print runs than today‘s sets. So vintage cards are simply harder to find, especially in mint condition.

For example, PSA 10 Gem Mint copies of the 1999 Fossil Set Lapras are extremely scarce – only 16 have been graded by PSA thus far. Scarcity creates demand.


The original Pokémon cards trigger strong nostalgia for 90s kids and collectors who want to recapture their childhood. This emotional appeal causes prices for vintage cards to continually rise.

A mint Team Rocket Dark Charizard sells for $300+ regularly on eBay – purely driven by nostalgia for the iconic villain‘s card.

Iconic Status

Certain Pokémon like Charizard, Pikachu, and Eevee evolutions are simply more popular and iconic. Their cards commanded higher prices when initially released and continue appreciating over time.

A 1st Edition Shadowless Charizard is the holy grail, but even Unlimited Charizards sell for $400+ in PSA 10 condition due to iconic status.

Card Rarity

Within sets, secret rares, shinings, gold stars, and crimped error cards were harder to pull, adding to their collectibility.

For example, a Skyridge Crystal Kabutops in PSA 10 Gem Mint trades for $1000+ regularly due to its Shining-level card rarity.

So vintage, nostalgia, icon status, and initial card rarity insulate many non-1st edition cards against declining value over time.

Economic trends

By examining market data, we can identify growing interest and rising values for vintage Pokémon cards:

  • Loose Base Set booster packs have gone from ~$20 in 2016 up to ~$80 in 2022. A 300% increase over 6 years.
  • PSA 10 Fossil Set Dragonite has gone from ~$650 in 2019 to ~$2500 in 2022. Nearly a 400% climb.
  • CGC 9.5 Skyridge Crystal Ho-Oh was ~$300 in 2020, now trades for $2000+. A nearly 700% explosion.

As more collectors get priced out of 1st edition cards, interest spreads to early prints from unlimited Base, Jungle, Fossil and Team Rocket sets. This drives massive growth.

Most Valuable Non-1st Edition Cards

Now let‘s examine some of the most valuable and sought after non-1st edition Pokémon cards:

Crystal Type Cards – $300-$1000+

The ultra rare crystal pokemon cards from the Skyridge and Aquapolis e-card era sets command premium prices in today‘s market. Their unique holographic crystal types, intricate artwork, and very limited supply make them grails for modern collectors. A PSA 10 Crystal Charizard easily fetches $1000+.

Gold Star Cards – $50-$600

Introduced in the EX Series from 2004-2007, Gold Star cards had a special gold star stamp to denote ultra rarity. Iconic pokemon like Pikachu, Charizard, Mew, and Rayquaza Gold Stars in mint PSA 10 condition can sell for $200-$600+ regularly. Their unique design and low population numbers entice collectors.

Shining Cards – $100-$400

The shining pokemon released in the Neo sets have caught collector attention for their rarity and iconic artwork. Cards like Shining Charizard and Mewtwo can sell for $300-$400 in PSA 10 condition. Even lesser Shinings like Steelix and Noctowl fetch $100+.

EX Series – $50-$300

While some EX cards have settled around the $50 mark, certain exclusive promotional cards like the CoroCoro Shining Mew and Rocket‘s Raikou ex have highly limited supplies. Near Mint copies can easily sell for $200-$300.

Legends Cards – $200-$400

The ultra rare Legend pieces featuring legendary pokemon from the HGSS sets remain iconic. Combined Suicune & Raikou top half and bottom half cards in Near Mint can fetch $300+. Their unique concept and artwork is treasured.

So despite not being the coveted 1st editions, non-first edition cards with desirable rarity, artwork, and nostalgia can still drive prices sky-high for serious collectors!

Evaluating Your Collection

If you have old Pokémon cards laying around, here are some tips for digging through and evaluating potential value:

  • Carefully organize cards by set so you know which are the oldest. 1st Gen is most valuable.
  • Research current prices for your rare holos online to gauge demand.
  • Inspect condition – damage tanks value so look for mint cards.
  • Compare symbols – look for crystals, ex, shinings – anything beyond normal rare symbol.
  • Cross-check card numbers for errors like missing 1st Edition stamps.
  • Get appraisals from professional grading companies to authenticate condition.
  • Monitor public auction sales – check eBay and auction sites for prices actually being paid.

With some diligence, you may have high value cards sitting in old collections!

Authentication is Critical

Authenticating rare cards is absolutely vital before investing significant money. Unfortunately, fake Pokémon cards are rampant online as scammers try to dupe buyers out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Always inspect cards meticulously yourself, but also rely on professional grading companies like PSA, CGC, and BGS to confirm authenticity and grade condition before purchasing. The certification number and scoring these companies provide are well worth the fees for peace of mind.

A Potential $500 card quickly becomes worthless if it turns out to be fake! So do your due diligence.

Grading Companies Transform the Market

The emergence of PSA, BGS, and CGC professional grading revolutionized Pokémon card collecting:

  • Authentication – Confirms legitimate cards and detects fakes.
  • Condition Rating – Universal 1-10 scale establishes precise condition.
  • Encapsulation – Protects cards and guarantees state.
  • Market Tracking – Population reports show scarcity.

This formal process boosted buyer confidence and led to rapidly rising prices for vintage Pokémon cards. Graded cards now sell for exponentially higher premiums than their raw counterparts. But use reputable companies and understand their high fees before submitting.

Should You Sell or Hold Long Term?

This is an ongoing debate among collectors – should you sell cards immediately to profit from current prices? Or hold for the long term?

Flipping hot cards allows you to capitalize on hype and take profits immediately. But you may miss future growth.

Holding cards gives you potential for higher long term gains via compounding. But prices could always drop.

In reality, the best strategy likely involves a balanced mix of selling in-demand cards with high short term hype, while keeping certain limited gems for long term holds.

For extremely scarce cards like Crystals, Gold Stars, and PSA 10 Shinings – the patient long play may reward you handsomely down the road. But do take advantage of temporary price spikes.


While 1st edition originals remain supreme for serious investors and collectors, non-1st edition Pokémon cards can still hold tremendous value due to their age, nostalgia, iconic status, and initial rarity.

By leveraging market data, economic trends, and authentication services – you can capitalize on collector demand for vintage cards. With prudent research and organized cataloging, you may have a small fortune hidden in old Pokémon card collections!

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