In every set of Pokemon cards there is always obvious 'hits' that become the chase cards for the set. These cards demand a high price both as raw and graded cards and can ultimately drive up the price of sealed packs from that set. But sometimes, there are cards that didn't quite catch on or never got the same kind of attention but are worth a second look. We're going to take a look at a few cards that fall into that category that also present an opportunity to gain value through grading whether for a personal collection or as an investment. As we've discussed in previous grading articles, grading cards helps to preserve the condition of a card and to authenticate it. It also provides a definitive way of determining its value based upon that grade.
As we choose our cards, we're going to evaluate them based on a couple of factors:
- Availability: the cards need to be readily available as raws through sites like TCGplayer or available in sealed product.
- Affordability: the cards should be affordable as raws. For our purposes, we're going to say that the cards need to be under $100 as Near Mint raws (see How to Research Card Values for more info on that).
- Pop Report: there should be a relatively low number of high grades in the pop report for PSA or CGC. In general, cards with a lower pop are considered rarer and may be more valuable to collectors.
- Collectibility: obviously we want to choose cards that are desirable from a collectibility standpoint so we're going to use Charizard. Charizard has been one of the most popular Pokemon since the release of Base set and the inclusion of a Charizard always adds value to a set.
These factors help to ensure that the cards are obtainable for the average collector and have a clear benefit if graded. Here are my first five picks for Charizards that are undervalued and have untapped potential as graded cards:
Charizard EX Full Art (XY121) from Generations
This card was released in the Charizard EX Red & Blue Collection Promo Box from Generations (2016) as a Black Star Promo in the box. The full size artwork is epic and is not only an amazing rendering of Charizard but also includes Flareon and Magmar. Now you can still purchase the promo box on eBay from $250-300 but that price is driven up because of the sealed Generations packs that are included in the box. You can find the raw cards, however, on TCGplayer in Near Mint condition for under $50. Taking a look at pop reports on graded versions of this card, you'll find that PSA has graded about 3,500 copies of this card but only 368 in a Gem Mint 10. And CGC has graded 809 but no 10s at all! In terms of value as a graded card, the last sold PSA 10 on eBay went for $477 and there is no sales data for CGC because no one has graded a 10 yet! There is definite value to be had here if you can find a clean raw version of the card and hit a 10 either with CGC or PSA.
Charizard (19/113) Cosmos Holo from Legendary Treasures
This card is Cosmos Holo version on a non-holo rare from Legendary Treasures Mega Charizard Collection box which is part of the Black and White era released in 2013. This is a pretty badass version of Charizard and the Cosmos Holo pattern adds a little something extra to the card. A Near Mint copy of this card can be found on TCGplayer for around $45-50. Looking at PSA's pop report, there are only 8 Gem Mint 10s ever graded and CGC has graded 152 copies of this card with no 10s. These cards don't show up on eBay very frequently and the last sold PSA 10 went for $910 in August, 2022. For an inexpensive raw card, there is a lot of value to be gained if a high grade can be hit.
Charizard G LV.X (DP45) from Diamond and Pearl
The Charizard G LV.X (DP45) from Diamond and Pearl was released as a Black Star promo in the Fall 2009 Collector's Tin which is not easy to find sealed anymore. This is a pretty amazing card with the holo border and Charizard bursting out of the frame of the card. While there are not many listings for this card on TCGplayer, you can still find it for just under $100 in Near Mint condition. PSA has graded around 1,200 copies of this card but only 18 have been Gem Mint 10s and CGC has graded over 360 with no 10s at all. There is no recent sales data on eBay for PSA 10s of this card and the last PSA 9 sold for $525 in December 2022. While this card will be more difficult to find in mint condition, the upside of hitting a 10 is huge!
Charizard (4/102) from Celebrations
This next card is a more recent release from the Celebrations expansion from Sword & Shield and was released in 2021 for the 25th anniversary of Pokemon TCG. This iconic set included reprints from the most famous Pokemon cards over its 25 year history with the Charizard from Base set holding center stage. A Near Mint copy of this card will set you back about $65-75 on TCGplayer or you can try your luck ripping Celebration packs which will run you about $6-10 per pack. This card deviates from the others in this article in that there have been a TON of these cards graded: 7,500+ Gem Mint 10s from PSA and 200+ Pristine and Perfect 10s from CGC. But you will still find sold listings on eBay fro around $230-250 for a PSA 10 and $250-300 for CGC which makes this a card worth grading either to sell or keep in your personal collection. It is definitely one of those cards that is a keystone of a serious collection.
Reshiram & Charizard GX Tag Team - SM201 from Sun & Moon
The Reshiram & Charizard GX Tag Team card (SM201) was a Black Star promo released as part of the Sun & Moon expansion in 2019 in the Reshiram & Charizard GX Figure Collection box. There are several versions of these two Pokemon teamed up in both the regular sets and in the Promos. You can find this card in Near Mint condition on TCGplayer for around $25-35. PSA has graded around 1,500 copies of this card and 289 have been Gem Mint 10s and CGC has graded 289 copies of the card with no 10s, only 3 9.5s. There are more 10s floating around of this card but the sold listings on eBay run around $250-300 for a PSA 10.
At the end of the day, you want to target cards that you like and believe in the long term collectibility of. As you can see from this selection of cards, some of them are rare because they were only released as promos in a specific collector box and while they might have seemed common at the time of their release because you didn't have to 'chase' them, they maintain a level of rarity because there were only so many copies printed. Others like the Celebrations Charizard, will remain an iconic part of Pokemon TCG history and that is always (in my opinion) worth collecting any day!