As you all probably know, Pokémon started in Japan. Therefore, the oldest and rarest Pokémon cards are from Japan. But which ones should you buy?
This is a very fascinating and difficult question. The answer really depends on why you are buying the cards. Are you buying the cards for your personal collection, to sell for profit at some point in the future, or to use in the Pokémon game?
For those of you looking to collect rare Japanese Pokémon cards for your own personal collection, it is obviously best to choose which cards you like the best. Japanese Pokemon promo cards are much prettier than American ones. They’re much more well-designed, have better detail, and don’t have the cheap-looking yellow border like the US Wizards of the Coast Pokémon cards, but that’s my personal opinion and the choice is entirely up to you. The cards you like, I think you should collect them.
For those collectors looking to buy Pokémon cards in hopes of making a profit later, the answer is simple. Buy the oldest Japanese Pokémon promotional trophy cards. These cards are the ones that will really hold their value. As with baseball cards, the older the card, generally the more valuable it will become. Although this is not always true, it is a good rule of thumb to follow. The oldest and rarest Japanese Pokémon promo cards are getting harder to find and the value is skyrocketing. Take the rarest Pokémon card of all time, the Pikachu Illustrator, for example. 8-10 years ago there was one of these for sale for around $ 6000. Now you are lucky if you can buy one of these beautiful gems for less than $ 25,000 (there is currently one on eBay for $ 32,500). Other rare Japanese Pokémon cards, such as the Pikachu trophy card, SSB (Super Secret Battle) Mewtwo, the Tropical Mega Battle Exeggutor card have increased in value. You used to be able to find these cards for around $ 3,000, but now they cost about $ 7,000 each. The price will continue to increase over time as they are increasingly difficult to find, especially in perfect condition. Trophy cards were produced in such limited quantities and were made before anyone else really new to Pokémon cards, so they are extremely difficult to find. The newer Pokémon cards are pretty, but they don’t seem to have the same charm as the old ones. In addition, there are many more produced than the classics.
Finally, those of you who wish to use the Pokémon cards for the Pokémon game itself, I have very little advice. Due to new rule changes in the Pokémon game, it is becoming increasingly difficult to use Japanese Pokémon cards in tournaments. My advice to you is to wait. The way it looks now is that Japanese cards will be banned from tournaments entirely at some point in the next few years. Of course, they are still great to collect as they are much nicer than the US ones, but if you are looking to use them in tournaments it is not a great investment.