How Much Are First Edition Pokémon Cards Worth?

How Much Are First Edition Pokémon Cards Worth?

You may have noticed that some of your old Pokémon cards have a small black “1st EDITION” stamp. But you probably don’t have very many. This is because 1st edition cards are much rarer than non-1st edition or “unlimited” versions. As a result of the rarity, price and potential value increase. However, there’s more to it than just a little stamp. 

 

A 1st edition Pokémon card will be worth more than the same card without the 1st edition stamp. However, the value of each individual card will vary greatly, especially if it is a holofoil in mint condition.

What does first edition mean? 

When Wizards of the Coast (WotC) printed a new set of cards, the first print run was deemed the “1st edition print”. When the new cards hit store shelves for the first time, the cards from booster packs had a small black 1st edition stamp at the lower-left corner of the illustration box. 

When the first print was finished, more cards would be printed but without the stamp. These are referred to as the “unlimited print”. 

Near the end of the WotC era of Pokémon cards, the 1st edition cards were sometimes not the first to hit store shelves. (We’ll circle back to this). 

A Psyduck unlimited (left) and a Psyduck 1st edition (right)

Why are they sought after? 

1st edition cards are more valuable due to their rarity. There are far fewer 1st edition copies than unlimited, so collectors desire the more rare or “original print” copies. 

Errors on the cards sometimes made it through to the printing process and were not brought to light until the public would find them. This resulted in a lot of misprinted or error cards to be corrected after the 1st edition run. Error cards can be of high value to collectors, only adding to the many factors that make 1st editions so sought after.

Do they still make first edition cards?

1st edition cards were dropped after the Neo Destiny set, in 2002. WotC had been under increasing pressure to meet deadlines and deliver fresh expansions to customers. This was reflected during the Neo-era when 1st edition prints sometimes hit store shelves at the same time as the unlimited print and on at least one occasion after the unlimited print. 

Japanese cards received their own 1st edition prints beginning in 2001, and they remained until 2016, with the Expansion Pack 20th Anniversary set being the last to have the stamp. 

How to find the value of your 1st edition cards 

So you may have some 1st edition cards in your collection- great! Since they are often more valuable, you may be in for a treat.

The quickest way to find the value of a card is to look it up on tcgplayer.com. This will give you a rough idea of the value. Make sure that you’re searching for the correct card and have the 1st edition box selected in the filter menu. 

A more accurate way of valuing your cards is to go to eBay. But first, you need to determine the condition of each card. Condition is the biggest factor when determining the value of a vintage card, and can result in a huge gain or loss. 

To determine the condition of your card, click here to go to tcgplayer’s card condition guide. 

Once you have an idea, go to eBay and search for your card with the condition after the name. For example, “Venusaur 15/102 LP” (LP stands for lightly played). We’re not done yet! Next, go to the filter options for the search and check the box called sold listings. This will give you only results of Venusaurs that have been sold. Remember, anyone can ask any price for any card, so checking the sold listing shows you what people are actually paying.

The first edition stamp

How much is a full set of 1st edition Pokémon cards worth? 

If you’re thinking about selling your complete 1st edition set or perhaps looking to purchase one, how much value is there?

Well, as usual, it depends on the set and what condition the cards are in. Once again, checking the sold listing on eBay will give you the best results. 

Regardless of the set, having each card with a 1st edition stamp can double or even triple the value of the unlimited print of the set!

Final Thoughts

That little 1st edition stamp outside the bottom left of the illustration box is so simple yet so important. For example, it can add tens of thousands of dollars in value on a base set Charizard. But most of the time, it only adds a few bucks, and that’s ok! There are collectors such as myself, who chase after every 1st edition. Tcgplayer and eBay are the best sites to value your 1st edition cards and potentially make a profit.