Special thanks goes to the late Daniel Chuong who provided key contributions to this entry.
Just when you thought you caught them all, a new challenge to complete your Pokédex arises. Shiny Pokémon were first introduced in the Generation II video games; Gold, Silver, and Crystal. The Pokémon would appear with a shining graphic of stars and sparkle sound effects. The Pokémon in question was also depicted in a different color palette. It was always exciting to see that alternate color on a Pokémon in the wild as they had a whopping 1-in-8,192 encounter rate or a .012% chance. For starter Pokémon and Legendary Pokémon encounters, players would need to reset the game as many times as necessary to get the shiny form to appear.
Trying to find one of these shiny Pokémon can prove just as difficult in the trading card game (TCG). Just as players were resetting their games countless times, collectors ripped open pack after pack to get their hands on these rare, valuable, shiny variants.
Shining Introduction to TCG
Shiny Pokémon, or “Shining Pokémon” as they would be known, would make their first appearance in the TCG in the U.S. through the 2001 Neo Revelation set with the introduction of the comical Shining Magikarp and its ferocious evolution, Shining Gyarados, both illustrated by legendary artist Ken Sugimori. Shining Magikarp may not look threatening, but a 1st Edition graded PSA 10 splashes its way to a $560 average auction price realized (APR). It’s more imposing evolution, 1st Edition Shining Gyarados, is no slouch either, reaching $839 at PSA 10. In Japan, the Pokémon Card Fan Club offered the Shining Magikarp card as a redeemable promotional card. It used the same artwork as the Neo Revelation card design; however, the holo foil is on the Pokémon instead of the background. Also known as the Japanese 600 Point Fan Club Shining Magikarp, a PSA 10 has leapt as high as $5,600. The 2002 Neo Destiny set would continue this trend of adding new Shining Pokémon through the illustrations of Ken Sugimori and Hironobu Yoshida. They would introduce us to Shining Celebi, Charizard, Kabutops, Mewtwo, Noctowl, Raichu, Steelix, and Tyranitar. Like the Japanese 600 Point Fan Club Shining Magikarp, a unique feature differentiating these cards from Neo Destiny was the holo foil treatment placed on the Pokémon, among a non-holographic background. The rarity symbol would also change for these special cards showing three stars on the bottom right corner. While shiny Legendary Pokémon like Celebi and Mewtwo can be found at $538 and $708, respectively, in 1st Edition PSA 10, the 1st Edition Shining Charizard is the real crown jewel of this set, as the price soars to $2,081 in PSA 10.
More TCG Pokémon get the Shiny Treatment
We would not see shiny Pokémon make their return until the 2004 EX TEAM Rocket Returns set in the form of Gold Star Pokémon. This would continue through to the 2007 EX Power Keepers and 2007 POP Series 5 sets. These were 27 Pokémon, all illustrated by Masakazu Fukuda, appearing in their shiny color variants and noted with a gold star symbol next to the Pokémon’s name. The rarity symbol would also receive the gold star treatment, replacing the traditional black star symbol. The artwork would be dynamic, with the Pokémon typically appearing outside of their normal borders and displaying a magnificent background with holographic shine. The selected Pokémon ranged from Legendaries, Hoenn starter Pokémon, Eeveelutions, and fan favorites including Charizard and Pikachu. Seeing Charizard on the list you would expect it to once again take the top spot, with a PSA 10 valuing at $3,956. But not so fast, the Legendary Rayquaza seen in majestic black versus its original green would outshine the popular fire type at an average APR of $7,083 in PSA 10.
Ready for the Challenge?
Today, sets have been released with a focus on shiny Pokémon like the 2019 Hidden Fates series. Hidden Fates is a massive set with 250 cards, 80 of which received that eye-catching shiny treatment, as well as the 1 millionth PSA graded Pokemon card in the Full Art Charizard GX. The card design was based on the Full Art Charizard GX card in the 2017 Burning Shadows set. It reemerged in its shiny variation highlighted with some flashes to recreate the shining graphic from the video games. It’s off to a hot start with an average APR of $534 at PSA 10. Since its inception, shiny Pokémon have been well received and are a welcomed addition especially in the TCG. When you’re ready to make a splash into shiny Pokémon hunting, make sure you’re equipped with the PSA Collector’s Club and its free gradings. You can also build your Shining or Gold Star collections with the PSA Set Registry. For those looking for the next challenge as we enter the eighth generation with Pokémon Sword and Shield, shiny Pokémon have opened up a new and valuable quest for collectors that want to “Catch ‘em all.”
Editor’s note: Prices as of 2/27/20