Gold Pokémon Cards: Everything You Need To Know

Pokemon Gold Cards

Gold Pokémon Cards: Everything You Need To Know

The near instantaneous success of the Pokémon games and the pop culture phenomenon they ignited meant it was only a matter of time before fans started seeing a bevy of merchandise arrive with Nintendo’s adorable pocket monsters. One of the earliest, and most successful, of these merchandising ventures is the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Although the Pokémon TCG arrived in Japan the same year as the original three Game Boy games, it didn’t come over to the US until 1998. Thanks to production and distribution help from Wizards of the Coast (also behind the popular Magic: The Gathering TCG), the Pokémon TCG came to North America in 1998 and quickly became as much of a success as the games.

Just like the video games on which the entire series is built, the Pokémon Trading Card Game endures to this day as one of the most successful and popular entries of its kind. As is typically the case with trading card or collectible card games, the Pokémon TCG has several hundred cards that each vary in value and rarity. One of the most sought-after varieties is the elusive gold cards. These special gold foil-embossed collector’s cards are rare drops in booster packs or promotional boxes, and some of them are highly valuable as a result.

Gold Pokémon Cards: What Are They?

Pokemon TCG Gold Cards

©Gold cards from the Pokemon TCG

All cards in the Pokémon TCG are 2.5″x3.5″ cardboard featuring the images and abilities of various Pokémon throughout the games and animated series. Each of these Pokémon has a type (which indicates its elemental strengths and weaknesses) as well as its signature abilities, each with varying rule sets based on how they perform within the context of the TCG. The gold cards are the same as the standard Pokémon TCG cards except for their appearance. Otherwise, they still feature a particular Pokémon and their abilities.

The gold cards are special gold holofoil cards that give off a shimmering appearance when held underneath light. They also typically feature special illustrations of the Pokémon. According to the rules of the game, these gold cards fall into the “Special Rare” category, meaning they exist outside the normal list for each card set. Each set of cards in the Pokémon TCG has a numbered setlist, and the gold cards are additional cards that surpass the final numbered card in each set. The first appearance of gold cards in booster packs comes as part of the Black & White- Legendary Treasures set released in 2013.

Gold Pokémon Cards: How Rare Are They?

Pokemon TCG Gold Cards with Pikachu

©Different types of gold cards from the Pokemon TCG all featuring Pikachu

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing to look at thanks to the unique properties of the gold holofoil in their design, gold cards have varying degrees of rarity as well. While some people might assume that being gold gives them more value than a standard card (thanks to the value of actual gold), most gold cards fall squarely into the $2-$5 range of value. That said, some gold cards are incredibly rare and valuable. As a general rule of thumb, gold cards featuring legendary Pokémon or popular faces of the franchise like Pikachu or Charizard are typically the most valuable.

There are currently more than 225 gold cards across all game sets, each of them varying in terms of value. Outside the gold cards that are part of each release of the Pokémon TCG, there are extremely rare collector’s cards that are exclusive or promotional items. One such example are the gold-plated Pokémon cards from the late 1990s that were sold at fast food chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s. These special one-of-a-kind gold-plated cards can carry some significant value for each card. Interestingly, the rarest and most valuable gold card is the Ultra Ball Trainer card, which has a typical value of over $230.

Gold Pokémon Cards: Where Can I Obtain Them?

Pokemon TCG gold boosters

©Gold foil booster packs for the Pokemon TCG

First and foremost, gold cards are available as part of booster packs for the Pokémon TCG. The pull rate for these cards is lower than standard cards, but part of the thrill of obtaining them comes from their rarity. Additionally, there are also promotional packs that feature guaranteed gold card drops. These cards tend to be less valuable thanks to their print numbers, but occasionally they increase in value if the promotional decks they feature in go out of print or become fan favorites.

Outside purchasing booster packs, decks, or boxes of cards, the most surefire way to obtain a particular card is to use the secondary market. Websites like eBay or tcgplayer.com typically feature some of the most verified pricing on gold and other rare cards. In addition to these websites, it’s also possible to visit local hobby and comic shops to see if they sell individual Pokémon cards. Before heading online or in-person to purchase an individual gold card, make sure to verify the current value of the card to avoid purchasing at an inflated rate.

Breakdown of Gold Pokémon Cards by Set

Sun & Moon Series Sets

Set# of Gold Cards
Sun & Moon4
Guardians Rising9
Burning Shadows9
Shining Legends0
Crimson Invasion5
Ultra Prism8
Forbidden Light6
Celestial Storm6
Dragon Majesty4
Lost Thunder9
Team Up5
Unbroken Bonds6
Unified Minds9
Hidden Fates0
Cosmic Eclipse9

Sword & Shield Series Sets

Set# of Gold Cards
Sword & Shield6
Rebel Clash6
Darkness Ablaze5
Champion’s Path1
Vivid Voltage6
Shining Fates2
Battle Styles6
Chilling Reign12
Evolving Skies12
Fusion Strike6
Brilliant Stars8
Astral Radiance11
Pokémon GO3
Lost Origin8
Silver Tempest8
Crown Zenith4
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