The History Of The Charizard Pokémon Card Explained

An image of the 1999 Pokemon Base Set Shadowless 1st Edition Holo Charizard Pokemon card by PSA Grading.

The History Of The Charizard Pokémon Card Explained

The debut of the Pokémon franchise in 1996 nearly immediately brought with it a wave of merchandise inspired by Nintendo’s adorable “Pocket Monsters”. Fans in Japan had a collectible card game available the same year as the launch of Pokémon Red/Blue/Green, but in the West players didn’t receive their own version of the card game until 1998, courtesy of Wizards of the Coast. As is typically the case with a trading card game based on a popular IP, the cards themselves became almost as massive a success as the games, spawning competitive and collector communities that thrive to this day. And in terms of which Pokémon cards are the most desirable, it’s hard to argue against Charizard.

Without a doubt, certain Charizard cards are the Holy Grail of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. Partly because Charizard is one of the earliest faces of the franchise (via Pokémon Red) and partly because dragons and/or dinosaurs are practically irresistable to most kids, Charizard cards endure as the most valuable and sought-after items across the entire collection. While they’re worth plenty in even poor condition, certain professionally-graded Charizard cards can sell for up to six figures, positioning them as some of the most-valuable video game merchandise in existence.

Charizard Pokémon Cards – How Many Are There?

Charizard Pokémon cards

As any fan of the Pokémon TCG will be quick to point out, simply saying “Charizard card” is a nebulous distinction. There are nearly two dozen different Charizard cards across the Pokémon TCG, with each of them varying drastically in terms of value. While the more valuable versions of Charizard are the original versions of the fan-favorite Pokémon, there are plenty of other newer cards featuring the character. When picturing the “Charizard card”, most fans will be thinking of the original 1998 base set version that can fetch astronomical prices on the collector’s market.

That’s not to say that the other versions of Charizard across the Pokémon TCG don’t have value though, as several of them do. In fact, even more common cards featuring Charizard tend to retain value fairly well thanks to both the popularity f the character and their actual utility as playable cards in the game. That said, a large part of the Charizard cards’ worth comes from their rarity, as the 23 different cards featuring the monster across the game pale in comparison to some characters like Pikachu, who have nearly 200 unique cards.

Charizard Pokémon Cards – What Makes Them Unique?

Charizard from Pokémon

As previously mentioned, part of what makes the Charizard cards unique is both their rarity and their utility. In terms of their rarity, many of the high-value Charizard cards are rare misprints or unique holofoil or hologram editions of standard cards. Since the holofoil or hologram cards are already rare, that they feature a fan-favorite character immediately makes them even more desirable. In terms of their utility, the abilities of each Charizard card position them as one of the more useful and powerful cards across the Pokémon TCG. Simply put, the cards tick all of the boxes for both collectors and competitors.

Beyond that, though, these cards carry an immense amount of nostalgia for players. There’s something to be said for reconnecting with the things that were special in one’s childhood, and for many players, their formative years were spent playing Pokémon games. Especially for anyone born after 1980 who grew up during Nintendo’s domination of the home console market in the West, Pokémon is one of the more important franchises in the company’s vast library. In terms of which Pokémon are the most iconic and representative of the franchise’s history and charm, Charizard is right near the top of the list.

Charizard Pokémon Cards – What Are They Worth?

Charizard Pokemon card

So, what are these cards actually worth? Well, depending on which Charizard card you’re discussing, it could be anywhere from $3 to $300,000. The Holy Grail of the Pokémon TCG and undoubtedly the most valuable card across the entire game is the 1999 holographic first edition Charizard from the base set. A mint-graded version of this card has previously netted $300,000 at auction, making it far and away the game’s most valuable card. Even less valuable versions of this card (that is to say, damaged and ungraded) can net nearly $100. Considering that these are just decorated pieces of cardboard, that’s quite a lot of value for something not in mint condition.

Even when looking at the slightly less valuable versions of Charizard, there are more than a handful that fetch upwards of $20,000-30,000 depending on condition. Sometimes, a misprint of a card can immediately make it more valuable thanks to its rarity, and the shadowless version of Charizard from the base set can still net $500 for an ungraded and damaged copy. Ultimately, if you’re a collector, Charizard cards are the cream of the crop, and if you’re a lapsed player who has a stack of cards sitting in an attic somewhere, you may be resting on an actual goldmine.

To top