The Ultimate Guide to Topps Pokemon Cards
UPDATE: CGC Announces Topps Pokemon Grading!
CGC Cards announced May 4, 2022 that they will now be grading Topps Pokemon cards! This is a great way to preserve and add value to your Topps cards.
Yup, they did! In fact, they made several sets from 1999-2004 in partnership with Nintendo and were the first non-TCG versions of Pokemon cards produced in English following in the footsteps of Carddass and Topsun cards. Several sets focused on Pokemon anime (scenes from the television show) and two featured scenes from the movies: Mewtwo Strikes Back and The Power of One. While these cards never reached the popularity of Wizards of the Coasts Pokemon cards of the same era, there are some pretty awesome cards in these sets! Let’s take a quick look at each set and what cards they included.
Series 1 had 90 cards in total with each card having two foil versions - a silver foil and a rainbow one. This set contained what we might consider ‘traditional’ Topps Pokemon cards and character cards referencing characters from the TV show with no “Chase” cards. There were multiple print runs of this set with some variation in the color of the Pokemon logo (blue, black, red, or green) depending on which print run it was.
In 1999, Topps released the First Movie set in conjunction with the Mewtwo Strikes Back movie release. The 72 card set featured scenes from the movie as well as the short, Pikachu’s Vacation, and evolution cards with the standard two foil versions in silver and rainbow. This set also contained 30 chase cards consisting of 12 die-cut embossed evolution cards and 18 sticker cards. There is also a promo silver foil that was only given out at Blockbuster Video stores when renting the film (you know, back in the day, when you have to go to a store to borrow a VHS or DVD copy of a movie for 24 hours).
The second set (Series 2) came out in 2000 and contained 72 cards again with two foil versions of each card - a silver and rainbow version. In this set we see the traditional Pokemon cards as well as newly introduced “Heroes & Villains” cards, and episode cards which reference scenes from the TV show. While the print quality is not superb on the episode cards, they depict memorable scenes from the various episodes featuring our favorite characters and Pokemon.
There were also 27 additional chase cards not included in the setlist consisting of 12 die-cut embossed cards, 10 animation stick-on cards, and 5 clear cards. These also came with 8 cards in a pack with one random foil card. Packs marked with a “Special Collector’s Edition” sticker contained rainbow foil cards. The addition of the chase cards makes this an exciting set to open and collect.
Series 3 came out in 2000 and included 72 cards with a silver and rainbow foil version of each card and 27 additional chase cards consisting of 12 die-cut embossed cards, 10 pop-up cards, and 5 clear cards. The main set contains Pokemon cards, “Heroes & Villains”, puzzle cards, and episode cards. The puzzle cards are 6 separate cards that fit together to create a full size image featuring Pikachu and friends on one side and Team Rocket on the other.
The Power of One set was released in 2000 in conjuncture with the movie release and included 72 cards featuring scenes from The Power of One movie and the Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure short. Each card has a silver and rainbow foil version and there were 16 chase cards including 10 stick-on cards, 6 Pokemon First Appearance Hologram cards, and Authentic Film Frame cards. The hologram cards were a new style of card and the film frame cards contained actual 35mm film frames from the movie (super rare!).
Chrome Series 1 consisted of 78 Pokemon character cards (#1-78) that came in three different variants: Spectra-Chrome, Sparkle-Chrome, and Teckno-Chrome. This set includes Charizard and Pikachu making these some amazing packs to open. The pull rates are pretty decent too with each 5 card pack having a 1:2 chance of pulling a Spectra-Chrome, 1:10 for Sparkle-Chrome, and 1:15 for Tekno-Chrome. The Sparkle and Tekno Charizards are two of the most valuable cards from all the Topps Pokemon cards.
Chrome Series 2 picks up where Chrome Series 1 stopped with Pokemon #79-151 all available as Spectra-Chrome, Sparkle-Chrome, and Teckno-Chrome. The pull rates are the same as for Chrome Series 1. Notable Pokemon from this set are Gyarados, Eeveelutions, the Legendary Birds, Dragonite, and Mew/Mewtwo. Again, a super fun and exciting set to open and collect.
Johto Series 1 was printed in 2001 and contained 90 cards including Pokemon cards and episode cards each with a foil version. There are also 96 chase cards consisting of 62 sticker cards, 15 die-cut embossed cards, 10 pop-up cards, and 9 hologram cards. Yes, there are more chase cards in this set then non-chase cards (if you don't count the foils). My favorite, Sudowoodo is in this set <3.
The Johto League Champions Series is essentially Johto Series part 2. The set contains 50 cards with a foil version of each. The chase cards outnumber the base set with 55 cards including 37 sticker cards and 18 die-cut embossed cards.
The 8 card packs included 1 sticker card, 1 die-cut embossed card, and 1 foil making this a great set to open!
Johto Series 3 contained 70 cards with a foil version of each and included Pokemon, episode 'snaps', "Heroes & Villains", and puzzle cards. For all you Wooper/Quagsire fans out there, this set has character cards as well as episode cards featuring your favorite dimwitted water type.
Pokemon Advanced consisted of 90 cards each with a foil version including 8 character cards and 81 Pokemon character cards. There are also 28 chase cards including 18 embossed evolution cards and 10 pop-up cards. The evolution cards are die-cut and the evolutionary line fit together in sets of 3.
Pokemon Advanced Challenge consisted of 90 cards (all Pokemon characters) with a foil version. The 28 chase cards including 18 embossed evolution cards and 10 pop-up cards. The embossed evolution cards include some notable evolutions: Bulbasaur>Ivysaur>Venusaur and Charmander>Charmeleon>Charizard.
Topps Chrome Charizards
For complete set lists check out Bulbapedia.