1st Edition Base Set - 10,000 of each card printed?!

I saw a video come up in my feed from PWCC talking about the early release of Pokemon in English and they highlight in the video that for 1st Edition Base Set that there could be fewer than 10,000 of each card printed. They did not specify holos, but just each card. Now, I’ve done a little research on this over the years and I also saw this rumour either on the old E4 or possibly from a PSA article.

Here’s the video in question, 0:54 in they mention it:

Anyway, I know it’s always been a mystery regarding print runs and things, but it makes you wonder if it could be such a low figure specifically for 1st Edition Base Set release. Is it possible WOTC actually leaked this info at some point? Do we know anything else about this source? I would be curious to know anymore about this. Either way, it makes me glad to have all the 1st Ed Base cards I own, including a Charizard :raised_hands:


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Very interesting. I wonder where shadowless fall into there?

From what I’ve read, Shadowless became an “Unlimited” print in-between 1st Ed and the actual Unlimited printing. And so it seems that it was most likely printed more than 1st Ed, but not as much as the actual Unlimited print runs. The story that I’ve read consistently is that Shadowless were basically left over 1st Ed cards that didn’t receive the stamp on them. In my experience it’s a lot easier to find regular Shadowless cards compared to 1st Ed. Most people report from their childhood of having mainly Unlimited cards, some Shadowless, and few if any 1st Ed Base Set in their collections.

When I was a child, I had heard of 1st Ed Base Set, but I never had any in my collection and never actually saw one in person before. I now have about 90% of a 1st Ed Base binder set completed.

Regardless, sealed boxes of Shadowless seem very scarce at this point. 1st Ed boxes are rumored to be in the 100s remaining sealed. So there’s definitely not a lot of either one out there at this point it seems, but there’s definitely plenty of regular Unlimited to go around in comparison.


Less than 10,000 base 1st of each card lol. 4,000 charizards graded at PSA alone. It could be 100,000 of each base 1st holo feels like a more reasonable number but who knows. My earlier print run estimates did nothing to separate base 1st/shadowless/unl/“4th” because I had already made enough assumptions and any more felt irresponsible. Not as irresponsible as the video though haha.


There are definitely not 96000 ungraded 1st edition charizards out there. Ungraded copies are basically non existent at this point. People have been hunting down these 1st edition holos for the last 20 years. Pop report stagnating is also an indicator that there arent any raw mint copies left in the wild.


Agreed. There is no way there is < 10,000 of each card printed with how many 1st editions we see today 20 something years later. I haven’t watched the video, but i’m assuming it was a throwaway comment or at best an uninformed one.

4000 just at PSA, then there is CGC, Beckett… I don’t even know how to grade from EU so if I had one, I would just leave it in a top loader. I think that when proper grading opens up in Europe, we could see some more graded cards pop up.

These cards have never existed in the EU in the first place so nobody has them just laying around in their binders there. The 4000 charizard pop is also inflated because of all the case crackers. After more than 20 years of hunting down every single base 1st edition holo most of them have around 2000 - 2500 graded copies. I would be quite suprised if there are more than 10.000 copies out there. If not, i have literally no idea where they all should come from? Maybe Gary has been hiding a secret stash of thousands of 1st edition Charizards.


Yeah, shipping raw overseas was a thing. There are probably many 4th print cards in the US too, even though it was distributed in the UK.

Howmany of those are regrades?
Only the pop of cards with a 10 are 99% certain to never be graded again :stuck_out_tongue:


True, i think mostnof the 1st edition holos are graded at this point. Around 2500 copies after 20 years. Even If we continue at this pace (its stagnating instead) it will take us another 60 years to get to 10.000 graded copies…


Back in college, i did a statistics project to try and determine what the print run of 1st edition base was. Ultimately our professor pulled the plug on our project due to “too many assumptions being made to accurately determine any statistically accurate results”


Sorry but it’s highly unlikely that most of the Base Set holos produced are graded. There’s not that many ppl actively grading compared to the general population of pokemon enthusiasts. Most ppl that bought pokemon cards back then were just participating in the latest fad. The vast majority of kids that had 1st Ed Base have moved on & probably not even aware PSA exists.

I do think 100,000 is a very reasonable estimate. As most are probably forgotten, lost or have been discarded overtime. Action Comics #1 (most valuable comic) had a production of 200,000 & only less than 100 are known to exist today.


Very true, but back in 1940 nobody did even know these would be graded and highly valued 50 years later. Because the sport cards market existed before pokemon cards, people recognized the value of 1st edition base holos from the start and already graded them 1999 / early 2000’s onwards. Even moms and dads who have nothing to do with Pokemon now know that there are valuable pokemon cards because the boom in 2020. The data is all very clear. Last year there were around 150 copies per holo graded (mostly lower grades) and its less than the year before that. If this is the trend going forward we are not going to get to 10.000 graded copies before 2100. I highly doubt that there are many more than 10.000 copies but im ready to be wrong.

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People often forget that pre 2020, grading was a pretty small niche in the pokemon community.

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I don’t think @gottaketchumall was far off with his original projections.

If we assume that Base 1st Ed (January 1999) was similar in print size to another MTG set released at the same time (Urza’s Legacy; February 1999) we are talking about 180 million cards. That would be 16,363,636 packs (11 cards/pack). If we assume that one in three packs had a holo, that would be 5,454,545 heavy packs. There are 16 holos in Base 1st Ed, suggesting that 340,909 Charizards may exist.

Of course, these numbers assume that Base 1st Ed had a similar print run to Urza’s Legacy, which may not be true. Even if Base 1st Ed was one third the print size of Urza’s Legacy, there would still be over 100,000 Charizards in circulation.


Thats true for almost all pokemon cards except 1st edition base holos. These have been graded consistently well before 2020.

No they did not, pokemons popularity sunk in the early to mid 2000s. Base Set 1st Ed Charizard was worth less than a FRLG Charizard EX. Ppl questioned to future of the hobby around this time. Sports card collectors looked down on non sports tcg. Grading pokemon cards was once mocked & considered a joke. There was genuinely a time when base set was worth almost nothing & guys like Gary can attest to that cause they were the very few that capitalized on that.

Base 1st holos where the only cards that were graded at that time so there were definitely people seeing value in these. I also highly doubt charizard ex has ever been more valuable than 1st edition base. You are very right about the 2002-2010 period though. Pratte and Gary have way more knowledge than i have so maybe they have the answers.