AN ENTIRE ARTICLE ABOUT…CHARIZARD?!
We are talking about Charizard. Why not, Charizard can be worth a LOT of money and the cards are normally pretty hard to hit when chasing it in a set. Today we are going to be talking about the lowest population Charizards out there, with some important caveats. While Bandai, Topsun, and Topps will be talked about, we are going to be focused on the cards that are or were viable to play in an official Pokemon International Tournament. Also, the populations that will be referenced come from PSA’s population report. As it has the longest history and most submissions of any grading company for Pokemon, this population report gives us the clearest picture of scarcity when looking at the grand total of “10’s” that exist. This means that the populations given are hints to how hard a ten is to find, not the exact amount, as SGC, BGS, and CGC have their own population reports which could hypothetically bolster the number. CGC in particular is rapidly fleshing out its own pop report, and will be a strong point of reference in a few years once more submissions have been entered into the database.
But enough qualifications, let’s dive in. The most expensive charizard, the English 1st edition base set, currently sits at a population of 121 in a 10 at PSA. Keep this in mind as we highlight zards with less than half of that amount in existence.
We start with a Zard that will be well known to modern collectors, the 2014 Flashfire Secret Rare Mega Charizard EX #107. Current 10 population: 75. While flashfire can still be bought for under 75 dollars a pack, the amount of potential tens out there remains small. For one thing, the card is very hard to hit, but more importantly the quality control for this era was abysmal. The corners show damage before packs are ever opened, centering is often quite terrible, and edges can have scuffing directly from the factory. While this makes opening these packs at 65 dollars a pop quite miserable, it definitely bodes well for this Charizard’s future value in a ten, as it is unlikely that number will rise significantly.
Speaking of poor quality control, that brings us to our next Charizard: The Holo and reverse Holo from Platinum Arceus. Current 10 population: 41 and 13 respectively. There is also a cracked ice version of the same card from a pre made deck that sits at 21 pop. While the edges are certainly better than most of the XY era, Platinum packs often contain cards whitening on the corners and it’s a more expensive buy-in to try and hit the elusive Charizard. There is no reason to believe there will be many more zards from this set added into the 10 category as this era was not highly printed and those who have sealed boxes may not be willing to part with them to be opened.
The next zard on this list is also from the Diamond and Pearl era: the secret rare Charizard from Stormfront. Current population in English: 46. Well if it was hard to hit the zard in Platinum arceus, it’s certainly going to be rough trying to hit the zard that is one of three secret rares in the set, the other two being Charmander and Charmeleon. You get to deal with all the same quality control issues but with an even tougher pull rate. This card is very desirable and features artwork that is a reimagining of the base set Charizard and is also done by Arita. If you can get a copy of this card that grades a ten, congratulations, you will be part of a small group of people in the future submitting new tens.
Up next, it's the charizard from Diamond and Pearl Secret wonders. I am beginning to see a pattern. Turns out when a whole era doesn't get printed a lot and the quality control sucks, you get wildly low populations of the sets biggest cards. Secret wonders features two level x’s that nobody cares about, so this set really is focused on the Lugia, Mew, and Charizard. So it is pretty wild that the population of tens for this Zard stands at 42 for the holo and 9, yes nine, for the reverse holo. For the same reasons the other two Diamond Pearl era zards wont see large bumps in population, this one wont either, so happy hunting for this gem mint.
Ok now we are really warming up. Welcome to the stage the reverse holo Charizard from Ex Crystal Guardians, whose 10 population sits at 48 and comes out of packs that will make you skip rent and eating if you want to try to chase a pack fresh version of this card. A delta species zard that has incredible artwork and is electric type? Awesome. Even better is the fact that the Ex era’s “stamped” reverse foils oftentimes sell for more than their holo counterparts, partly due to scarcity, and partly because I think we all agree the stamps look sick.
If knowing 47 other people could have your zard bothers you, then get ready to pony up cause this next zard is gonna run you the price of a car. The english Expedition Base Set Holo Charizard sits at pop 37. Add three zeros to that and that's just a bit more than some people have paid for the booster box this card comes out of. Needless to say, we will not be seeing many more tens of this card, which is even lower pop than the highly sought after Crystal Charizard from Skyridge.
“I’m an imaginary person who hates WOTC for some reason.” Well, that's super weird but maybe this pop 37 charizard will fit more into your extremely bizarre taste in Pokemon cards. The Ex Power Keepers reverse holo Charizard is…a keeper. Very hard to hit, very hard to grade, and expensive to chase. Survey says this means if this pop ever goes over 50 I’ll eat my own socks live on stream.
And now we get down to the last two on the main list. If you were allowed to use your toes, you could count the population of these Charizards with your own digits. One you wouldn't even need your feet, unless you simply prefer counting with your toes and not your fingers in which case, you do but we probably won't be friends cause that kinda creeps me out. Anyway, next up is the Legendary Collection holo Charizard, NOT the reverse holo, which sits at only pop 14. Now obviously the firework reverse holo is very fun and pretty, but the holo zard in a ten is actually rarer, 5.64 times rarer to be exact. The legendary collection packs will run you over one thousand dollars, and then you still gotta hit the damn thing, AND it has to ten. But honestly good luck getting a ten of this card in the wild, you have 14 chances.
….but it'd be even harder to find our last, and most expensive, low pop charizard. The Japanese Base Set No Rarity Symbol Charizard from 1996. I feel like I just dropped a thousand dollars just to write that sentence. The No Rarity base set cards are thought to be the first printing of base set in Japan in 1996, i.e. they are akin to the first edition printing of base set in North America by Wizards of the Coast….and we all know how much 10’s of THAT Charizard go for. However, finding a ten of this card would be even harder. Why? Because there are 8 of them. Eight. There is ONE 9.5 and no tens at Beckett, and the highest grade at CGC is a 9. This is the rarest Charizard on this list by a long shot, and has a special place in Pokemon history as it comes from the very beginning of the entire TCG. To the eight of you out there in possession of one of these, or more likely to the three people who have all of them, post one and tag us cause I need to know these actually exist.
If you see a zard on this list for a good deal, SNAG IT! Chances are you're bidding against me. Good luck!