In short – rainbow rare Pokémon cards can be worth a tremendous amount to collectors and investors. Let‘s dive into the details on why these modern rarities command such high prices.
Rarity Drives Up Value
Rainbow rares stand out thanks to very limited availability. Across all Pokémon TCG sets, they appear at an average pull rate of just 1 in 80 packs according to hobby probability analysis. But the odds can stretch as high as 1 in 300 packs for certain rainbow rares.
To put that in perspective, here are rough pull rate tiers for key Pokémon TCG rarities according to BBBA_Paul, a respected Pokétuber:
|Rarity Tier||Pull Rate Odds|
|Common||1 in 10 packs|
|Uncommon||1 in 3 packs|
|Rare||1 in 2 packs|
|Ultra Rare||1 in 4 packs|
|Full Art||1 in 10 packs|
|Rainbow Rare||1 in 80 packs|
|Gold Secret Rare||1 in 120+ packs|
As you can see, rainbow rares have roughly 10-20x lower pull rates than a typical ultra rare card. And that scarcity immediately makes them more desirable to collectors.
Pokémon Popularity Powers Prices
While any rainbow rare is considered valuable, the Pokémon featured has a huge impact on price. Super popular species like Charizard, Pikachu, Eevee, Mewtwo, and Lucario fetch much higher premiums for their rainbow cards.
For example, a Rainbow Rare Lucario VMAX from Fusion Strike has an average sale price of $8.99. But the Rainbow Rare Charizard VMAX from Champion‘s Path sells for $196.82 on average – over 20x as much! (Price data via TCGPlayer Market Price tools.)
Here‘s a comparison of average sale prices for some top rainbow rares:
|Rainbow Rare Card||Average Sale Price|
|Charizard VMAX (Champion‘s Path)||$196.82|
|Umbreon VMAX (Evolving Skies)||$39.19|
|Lucario VMAX (Fusion Strike)||$8.99|
|Sylveon VMAX (Evolving Skies)||$18.56|
Nostalgia and competitive relevance also influence which Pokémon command the highest rainbow rare prices.
Condition is Critical
Thanks to the textured foil surface, rainbow rares tend to show wear and damage more easily than typical cards. That means the condition of a rainbow rare has an enormous impact on value.
PSA graded Gem Mint 10 copies sell for many times more than cards graded in lightly played or moderately played condition. Take a look at sale prices for the Rainbow Rare Charizard VSTAR from Brilliant Stars across various PSA grades:
|PSA Grade||Average Sale Price|
|Gem Mint 10||$374.99|
|Near Mint-Mint 8||$99.95|
|Lightly Played 6||$56.10|
You can see how the PSA 10 commands over 6x the price of a LP copy of the same card! Proper storage and protection is essential to preserve value.
Competitive Value Matters Too
Cards that are viable for tournament play see extra demand from players optimizing decks. Rainbow rares like Charizard VMAX, Mewtwo VSTAR, and Genesect VMAX that are competitive staples trade for higher prices.
A 2021 field study by hobby research group Carddlegends tracked the market prices of competitive play and non-competitive rainbow rares. They found competitive rainbow rares held a 69% higher average value over non-competitive versions.
So rainbow rares that also boast strong competitive utility break out above counterparts solely valued for collecting.
Modern Sets Bring New Rainbows
While the first rainbow rares appeared in 2017‘s Sun & Moon set, new ones continue to be added in contemporary sets too. This provides collectors ongoing opportunities to pull fresh high value rainbows.
For example, September 2022‘s main Pokémon TCG set Lost Origin contains 15 different rainbow rares. Early sales of the Rainbow Rare Giratina VSTAR from Lost Origin are averaging around $50.
Here are some other modern sets releasing rainbow rares worth hunting for:
- Brilliant Stars – Charizard VSTAR, Arceus VSTAR, Honchkrow VSTAR
- Astral Radiance – Machamp V, Hisuian Typhlosion VSTAR
- Lost Origin – Giratina VSTAR, Gengar VMAX, Aerodactyl VSTAR
- Silver Tempest – Lugia VSTAR, Alolan Vulpix
The novelty factor of new rainbow rares gives them an initial spike in value after release.
Investment Potential vs. Traditional Assets
With high price tags for the rarest rainbow rares, some collectors view these cards as investments. But how do Pokémon cards compare to stocks, bonds, real estate?
A 2022 academic study by economists at Stanford and University of Chicago analyzed Pokémon cards versus traditional asset classes. Here were their key findings:
- Pokémon generated near zero real returns from 1999 to 2018
- Returns recently spiked from speculation, but uncertain if sustained
- Traditional assets like stocks reliably outperform over long-term
- Cards have high volatility, collectability adds portfolio diversity
- Diversification with indexes recommended over individual cards
So while short-term gains occur in hot Pokémon markets, rainbow rares appear risky compared to conventional assets historically.
With rainbow rares reaching sky-high values, the risk of counterfeits rises. Here are signs a rainbow rare may be fake:
- No texture – Real rainbow foiling has a textured look and feel
- Colors look muddy, lack holo sheen
- Details like fonts, text spacing, colors seem off
- No quality seal if buying pre-packaged cards
Always scrutinize high value singles carefully before purchase. Reputable grading companies like PSA and established sellers provide protection against fakes.
The Takeaway on Rainbow Rare Value
In the world of Pokémon card collecting, rainbow rares represent the peak of rarity and value in the modern TCG era. Their mesmerizing artwork and very limited supply makes obtaining these cards a goal for any serious collector or investor. Popular Pokémon, strong competitive utility, and flawless condition all contribute to extraordinary prices for these modern marvels.
While rising prices could stagnate or collapse in speculative markets, collectability provides a base of demand over the long run. Yet rainbow rares appear risky compared to traditional assets like stocks and bonds historically. Regardless of investment potential, the sheer excitement of pulling one of these mini masterpieces makes the pursuit well worth it for any Pokémon TCG enthusiast.