The Rarest and Most Valuable Pokémon Card is Mew Star

Ask any knowledgeable Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) collector what the absolute rarest and coveted Mew card is, and they will undoubtedly answer Mew Star. This treasured gem was released back in 2006 as an Ultra Rare in the Dragon Frontiers set. Only 18 PSA 10 graded copies are known to exist in the world, making Mew Star the holy grail for diehard Mew collectors. So what makes Mew Star so special, and why do collectors pursue it at all costs?

The Myths and Mystique Surrounding Mew

To understand why certain Mew cards command such astronomical prices, we first need to examine the underlying mythology and allure surrounding the Mew character. Mew has always been one of the most mysterious and mythical Pokémon in the games, anime, films and cards.

The Bulbapedia entry on Mew reveals that it is known as the "New Species Pokémon." Scientists believe that Mew was the evolutionary ancestor of all other Pokémon, which imbues this psychic type creature with an air of legend. The Pokédex states that Mew‘s DNA contains the genetic codes of all existing Pokémon species. Mew is also capable of learning every teachable move.

In the original Pokémon Red/Blue video games released in 1998, players could not obtain Mew without exploiting glitches and bugs. This fueled the intrigue and speculation surrounding Mew during the height of early Pokémania. The Mew glitch method of encountering Mew added to its mystique. As a result, interest in the rare and powerful Mew character transferred over to high demand for Mew cards among collectors and fans.

According to the Pokémon Lore entry, scientists attempted to clone the elusive Mew, resulting in the creation of the unstable genetic clone Mewtwo, which became one of Mew‘s main rivals. This compelling backstory and mythology around Mew‘s origins and rarity has driven collector fascination with acquiring Mew cards, especially the rarest ones like Mew Star.

Factors That Determine Rarity and Value

Many elements contribute to a particular Mew card‘s level of rarity and its potential value:

Age – The oldest Mew cards naturally have smaller populations simply due to less time in circulation and higher likelihood of damage over the decades. Cards from the Base Set through Skyridge era (1999 – 2003) tend to be the most scarce.

Print Runs – Print runs on vintage sets were much smaller than today‘s mass production levels. As an example, Base Set print runs were only around 100,000 boxes whereas modern sets like Vivid Voltage had runs well over 250,000 per this Gambling Insider report. Lower historical supply increases scarcity.

Graded Population – Professional grading companies like PSA and Beckett provide population reports showing how many copies of a particular card they have certified at each grading level. The lower the population, the rarer the card. Mew Star has a minuscule PSA 10 population of only 18 copies.

Special Attributes – Cards with 1st edition stamps, misprints, special holofoil patterns, or artwork errors are instant rarities. Unique attributes also enhance value.

Artwork – Mew cards with original Ken Sugimori art tend to be preferred by collectors rather than reprints or CG graphics.

Distribution – Cards only printed and distributed in Japan add international scarcity. Many Mew cards were Japanese exclusives.

Condition – Since grading companies are extremely strict, true Gem Mint 10 copies are very challenging to obtain, especially for vintage cards. Flawless condition immediately spikes value.

By evaluating all these factors, we can determine which Mew cards stand above the rest when it comes to prized rarity.

The Top 10 Rarest and Most Valuable Mew Cards

Let‘s count down the 10 definitive Mew cards that rank as the rarest in existence, along with their PSA 10 populations and value estimates:

Rank Card Name Set PSA 10 Population Est. Value
1 Mew Star Delta Species 18 $1,300+
2 Gold Star Mew Expedition 16 $2,500-$3,500
3 No Rarity Symbol Error Mewtwo Base Set 11 $4,500+
4 Japanese Vending Series Mew Vending Machine 31 $1,000+
5 Mew Black Star Promo Wizards Black Star Promo 39 $800+
6 Mew ex Legend Maker 47 $700+
7 Rocket‘s Mewtwo ex EX Deoxys 79 $650+
8 Pre-Release Mew Jungle 88 $600+
9 Shining Mew Neo Destiny 86 $550+
10 Mewtwo-EX FULL ART Next Destinies 211 $500+

(Value estimates from PWCC Marketplace and Pokedx pricing guides)

You can clearly see Mew Star holding the crown with only 18 PSA 10 examples, making it over 3 times rarer than the second place Gold Star Mew Expedition. Let‘s explore what exactly gives Mew Star its elite status.

What Makes Mew Star So Valuable?

Mew Star

According to respected professional graders like Joeesays on YouTube, Mew Star‘s insanely limited PSA 10 population and distinctive attributes make it "one of the rarest Pokémon cards ever printed."

So what specific characteristics contribute to Mew Star‘s unfathomable scarcity and its position as the #1 most valuable Mew card?

Low Population – Again, the mere existence of just 18 PSA 10 Mew Star specimens automatically makes it irresistible to collectors who desire scarce cards in flawless condition. The Gold Star Mew from Expedition Set has the next lowest pop at only 16 PSA 10s.

One-and-Done – Mew Star was a unique 1-time release. It was not reprinted in later sets like many Mew cards. This lone printing over 15 years ago limits supply dramatically.

Delta Species – Mew Star‘s unique Psychic type Delta Species designation also drives up appeal. The blue psychic symbol contrasts strikingly with Mew‘s pink colors.

Shiny Version – Mew Star pictures the extra special shiny variant of Mew. Shinies are coveted by collectors for the color variations.

Japan Exclusive – Mew Star was only printed for Japanese sets. It did not appear in the English sets, adding international scarcity.

Prime Artwork – Mew Star features fan favorite original 2D artwork from renowned Pokémon artist Masakazu Fukuda.

The culmination of all these traits – minuscule population, one-print run, exclusive region, Delta Species, shiny version, and sought-after artwork – crowns Mew Star as the undisputed king of Mew cards. Prices have been trending sharply upward as high rollers compete to own this legendary prize.

Mew Star Sales Chart
Mew Star PSA 10 Sales Chart from PWCC Market Price Research Center

You Could Be Sitting On a Gold Mine and Not Even Know It!

With pristine PSA 10 graded Mew Stars selling for well over $1000, you may be wondering if you have a potential jackpot sitting unnoticed in your collection.

Unfortunately, the odds are firmly against stumbling upon this elusive treasure. If you do happen to discover a Mew Star, scrutinize it carefully front and back under magnification to detect any flaws or signs of tampering. There are many convincing Mew Star counterfeits circulating, so authenticate before getting excited.

If you possess an ungraded Mew Star in true pristine mint condition, immediately sleeve and top load the card without touching the surface, then submit to PSA for official certification. Cross your fingers it could gem mint for a 5 or 6 figure valuation!

While Mew Star stands as the rarest and most coveted member of the Mew card family, there are a handful of other elite Mews worth mentioning for collectors specifically targeting high value cards of this beloved Pokémon.

Other Notable Valuable Mew Cards

Gold Star Mew (Expedition Set) – As discussed previously, this vibrant Ultra Rare Gold Star is almost as rare as Mew Star with just 16 PSA 10 copies in existence. It can fetch $2500 to $3500+ at auction in flawless grade.

Shining Mew (Neo Destiny) – While the Shining Pokémon are all rare and special, Shining Mew stands above the rest with only 86 PSA 10 examples. Its dazzling etched holofoil styling make it a prized pickup around the $1000 range.

Pre-Release Mew (Jungle Set) – This promotional card handed out at the Jungle Set pre-release events has precisely 88 PSA 10s. Pre-release promos are limited in distribution, giving this one respectable value around $600+.

1st Edition Shadowless Mewtwo (Base Set) – As Mew‘s genetically engineered clone, the equally scarce shadowless 1st edition Mewtwo can fetch astronomical sums. A PSA 10 recently cleared $49,280 at auction!

Japanese Vending Series Mew – Any card from the Japanese Vending Machine setsGain rarity from their unconventional distribution method. The vending Mew has 31 PSA 10s and sells for $1000+ easily.

Final Thoughts on Collecting Mew Cards

For Pokémon collectors, acquiring a PSA 10 graded example of a rare and valuable Mew card represents a momentous achievement. With its endearing appearance, mysterious mythology, and psychic prowess in the games, anime, and movies, the legendary Mew holds a special place in the hearts of Pokémon fans worldwide.

Iconic cards like the insanely scarce Mew Star truly are the holy grails of Pokémon card collecting. As Mew cards become harder to find over time, competition for the few ultra rare remaining mint copies will continue to escalate. Wealthy collectors remain more than willing to shell out mega bucks to obtain these treasured trophies.

While most mere mortals will never hold one of these mega valuable Mews in their hands, we can still dream of the thrill of the ultimate discovery! Owing just one of these fabled gems would crown any collector a true Pokemon master.

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