As for why, the electric mouse was a staple of the original Pokémon anime, as the first Pokémon that Ash obtained on his journey as a Pokémon Trainer. He also travels outside of his Poké Ball, and was marketed heavily on almost all promotional material.
Here’s the lowdown with five of the best Pikachu Pokémon cards, as well as looking at their future investment potential.
The Best Pikachu Pokémon Cards
The majority of valuable Pikachu cards were released towards the turn of the millennium.
Here are five of the best on the market, especially if they’re wrapped in a PSA 10 sleeve.
5. 2001 PM Japanese Promo Birthday Pikachu #25 (eBay)
The first option is a 2001 Japanese Pokémon card that is especially rare when looking at high grades.
One of a number of promotional Pikachu cards released throughout the years, only 69 PSA 10 copies of his Birthday celebration can be found on the registry at the current time of writing.
Along with the choice of Pokémon, the rarity is one of the main reasons why gem mint copies are currently selling for over $4,000.
The text on the front of the card is Japanese, while it also has a different reverse to U.S./European versions.
4. 1999 Pokemon Game 1st Edition #58 Pikachu Yellow Cheeks (eBay)
The 1999 base Pokémon set sees an early design of Pikachu. It’s plumper than the version we all know in the present day.
As the name implies, this version has yellow cheeks on the illustration, as WotC changed the artwork without the permission of the artist, Mitsuhiro Arita.
(The decision was made to better reflect the electric power coursing through the Pokémon, but something does look a bit off.)
Regardless, the ‘yellow cheeks’ Pikachu isn’t an error card, and can be seen as a variation of sorts.
3. 2000 Pokemon Topps Chrome Series 1 Pikachu #25 (eBay)
I remember the 2000 Topps Pokémon set well, and how it was originally disregarded In favour of the more popular TCG cards that fill the list.
As well as the base Pikachu card from the set, three variants are included as random inserts: Spectra-Chrome (1:2), Sparkle-Chrome (1:10), and Tekno-Chrome (1:15).
The example seen above is the rarest Tekno variation, and is still fairly affordable compared to the base collection.
2. 2016 Pokemon Japanese XY Promo 20th Anniversary Festa Holo Pikachu #279 (eBay)
The 2016 XY Promo collection contains the most recent card to make the list.
Pikachu is joined by all three original starters, so look out for Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander on this beautifully designed holo release.
In Japan, this card was given to participants of the 20th Anniversary Festa, held at Toki Messe, Niigata on October 10, 2016.
Further copies were handed out at the Nagoya Trade & Industry Center, Nagoya on October 23, 2016.
As it wasn’t available in packs, the XY Pikachu promo card is another rare option. It also features the 20th Anniversary Festa event logo.
1. 1999 Pokemon Game 1st Edition #58 Pikachu Red Cheeks (eBay)
Haven’t we discussed this card already?
It may be a Pikachu card from the 1999 base set, but you can only find the ‘Red Cheeks’ Variant in the 1st Edition Base Set and Shadowless Base Set. They typically sell for at least twice the price of the Yellow Cheeks version discussed above.
As with the Yellow Cheeks, you’ll be able to find a 1st Edition stamp under the illustration on the left hand side.
We consider it to be the original, and the best overall. There are currently 229 PSA 10 copies according to the registry.
Pikachu Cards: Buyers Guide
The market for Pokémon cards has cooled off ever so slightly. That hasn’t stopped Pikachu from being one of the most popular options overall. Here’s a short buyer’s guide if you’re tempted by the series’ mascot.
Pikachu is still released in sets today, so there are hundreds of affordable options to choose from.
If you’re looking at graded cards, the ‘Yellow Cheeks’ is far cheaper than the Red version, even when looking at pristine editions. It’s also a 1999 card from the most popular Pokémon set ever released.
The 2000 Topps Chrome set is also a quirky alternative that has the potential to turn a profit in the future.
The best Pikachu investment card has to be the Red Cheek original from the base 1999 set. It might not be a holo card, but it’s still a Pokémon that is more recognisable than any other.
Otherwise, we’d look to rare promotional cards from later years, such as the 2016 Japanese XY Festa release. They’re typically rare, and can match the original in terms of pure value.
Pikachu Cards: Buying/Selling Advice
Pikachu is iconic, with so many cards that will sell for a high fee if graded.
PSA/BGS 10 copies are the way to go if you’re looking for the most valuable options, while Pikachu is still a key part of the anime today.
(It’s worth remembering that Ash Ketchum’s first Pokémon league victory made worldwide news. It goes to show how popular it still is with multiple generations of fans.)
It might not be a shadowless Charizard, but we think that Pikachu has the potential to be one of the more impressive Pokémon cards when all is said and done.