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Rare Pokémon card No. 1 Trainer, one of three in existence, appears at auction alongside another Shadowless Charizard

Promo card given to championship winners at 2012 Pokémon World Championships.
Image: PWCC

One of the rarest Pokémon cards ever made has appeared as part of an auction featuring yet another first-edition Shadowless Charizard and one of the rarest Japanese Pokémon cards of all time.

The 2012 Pokémon World Championships Promo World Championships No. 1 Trainer - to give the card its exhaustive full name - is just one of three in existence, and the first to have its condition formally graded by card condition specialist PSA.

The promo card is part of the long-running No. 1 Trainer series given to winners of official Pokémon tournaments since 1997, a number of which rank as among the most valuable Pokémon cards of all time due to their rarity. In May, a Japanese No. 1 Trainer from the 1999 Secret Super Battle in Tokyo sold for $90,000.

This latest No. 1 Trainer card was given to just three winners at the Pokémon World Championships held in Hawaii during August 2012. PWCC director of business development Jesse Craig told Dicebreaker that the No. 1 Trainer cards are notable for suffering damage as the result of chipping, but the 2012 card currently under the hammer had been graded as Mint 9 condition by PSA, making it an exception.

At the time of writing, the 2012 Pokémon World Championships No. 1 Trainer card is currently sat at a bid price of $55,000, with the auction due to finish tomorrow, December 18th.

The card is joined by a first-edition Shadowless Charizard graded at Gem Mint 10 condition, described by Craig as “the GOAT in Pokémon collecting”.

The 1999 Pokémon Base Set Shadowless 1st Edition Holo Charizard made headlines last year when rapper Logic bought a copy for a then-record $220,574. The artist is joined by fellow celebrity fans DJ Steve Aoki and YouTuber Logan Paul in owning a copy of the iconic Pokémon card worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Shadowless Charizard is made especially rare and valuable by the absence of a printed ‘shadow’ effect alongside the side of the card’s artwork frame. While several thousand Shadowless Charizard cards exist, only 121 have been graded by PSA at its highest gem Mint 10 level, commanding the most eye-watering prices at auction.

The copy currently at auction is sat on a bid of $220,000, with bidding due to close on Saturday. A similar card sold in December 2020 for $350,100.

Also under the hammer is a 2005 Japanese Gold Star Umbreon card, offered to members of the Pokémon Player’s Club by earning 70,000 points within four seasons by participating in official organised play events.

With individual events only providing 50 or 100 points, the steep requirements for the promo card meant that very few players were eligible; PSA states that just 17 copies of the card exist in a flawless Gem Mint 10 condition.

“Umbreons and all Eevee evolutions have a cult following due to Eevee being an extremely popular Pokémon,” said Craig. “Combine the fact that it’s the most difficult to acquire of all the Player’s Club cards produced, the overall popularity of Umbreon, and the fact that a holographic version of this card was only just recently released in English, and you can easily rank this among the most coveted Japanese Pokémon cards in existence.”

The 2005 Pokémon Japanese Play Promo 70,000 Pts. Holo Gold Star Umbreon is sat at a highest bid of $38,000 at the time of writing, with the auction due to close alongside the Charizard and No. 1 Trainer lots tomorrow.

“While the card market cooled some over the summer, we are currently seeing Pokémon cards setting new records at each auction,” Craig said of the current Pokémon card market. “One example: a 1996 Pokémon Japanese Base Set Venusaur with an artist autograph just set a record for any Venusaur card ever at $55,000. It’s also not surprising to see records set for individual cards with each closing night.”


About the Author

Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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