Ancient Mew — we take it for granted but there’s nothing else like it

(stole the image from a random eBay listing)

I think we don’t talk about how enduringly cool Ancient Mew is. I would like to discuss it now.

  • Ancient Mew is a totally unique card with absolutely no rival or equivalent. It is unplayable by design and instead prioritizes an unprecedented art style to depict something mysterious and unknown. Very few Pokémon cards have this sort of innate personality. For as unique as it remains 20 years later, it’s wild that a card of this nature was released in the far less varied era of the TCG it comes from.
  • It was distributed in enormous quantities and individually sealed worldwide, meaning the card is broadly accessible and remains intact. You could get an Ancient Mew today almost as easily today as you could upon its release. Nobody is denied an Ancient Mew.
  • It has multiple prints and variants, including an error version, supporting its own subcollection of cards. From vintage prints to modern prints, there’s quite a number of different Ancient Mews to collect.
  • As an individually sealed promo, all its packaging worldwide is collectible. Each region is distinct with their own inserts, again supporting its own subcollection of cards. There are multiple ways to collect this card.
  • The card is prominently featured in a movie, which was the first time a Pokémon card was given some kind of canonical storyline and used an inter-media sort of way. This makes the Ancient Mew card in the real world a symbolic part of Mew’s universal lore. That rules. The card itself represents a relic that actually exists in the Pokémon world.
  • It’s just really freaking cool. This card was mindblowing as a kid. I think it is still kind of mindblowing today. Just look at this crazy thing. This is not what Pokémon cards look like. There are no others that look like this. It is not a concept they ever revisited or imitated in any way. Ancient Mew is just a singular oddity.

I wonder what made them put so much effort into this idea this one time and why they’ve never done anything comparable ever again. Today they are really pushing the boundary of what Pokémon card art can look like, but there is still nothing that breaks the mold as much as this one. Wild stuff.


I take the card for granted since its aviable anytime. Absolutly right, espacially like you mentioned for that Time such a Unique Card.

1 Like

Imagine if this was a 1/1000 card. It would be a crown jewel of the hobby.


Me and a buddy do a bi-weekly podcast. The episode literally going live 7hr from now is about our top 5 favorite cards of all time and Ancient Mew was his #2 for a-lot of these reasons. Just look at it’s demand… Been dirt cheap FOREVER, yet the demand continuously drains them little by little. One of the most consistent cards out there. The memories, the availability, not to mention one of the most iconic cards of all time… so much going for it. You may only make $10 on it over the next 5 years but hey everyone has to have one of these!


Another thing is there’s actually depth to the releases too. The different holo styles in Japan and the infamous Nintedo error and now there are even the 2019 variant too


Off the top of my head there’s…

  • Vintage Japanese V1
  • Vintage Japanese V1 (Error)
  • Vintage Japanese V2
  • International Release
  • 2019 Japanese Rerelease
  • 2020 Korean Rerelease

Not bad for one card.


The “it’s the most expensive/rarest card”-rumor lasted a long time at my school because nobody actually owned it. Then when I moved back to Oslo a few years later I discovered the truth.

No internet + no car + small town + Norway = no promos ever, which meant they were all extremely exotic and I remember salivating at pictures of them in magazines. First movie promos and Trainer Mag Steelix especially but also Ancient Mew. I don’t love or hate it but I can’t deny the sheer mythos behind the thing. It represents something very special.


I had the same experience! First time I saw Ancient Mew was at the Saturday Toysrus meet up in 1999. It was still Japanese exclusive. Some kid was flexing the card in a massive screwdown case, saying it was the rarest pokemon card in the world! They paid like $70 something, which was the most I heard someone pay for a pokemon card, so it must be the rarest!

It really can’t be overstated how popular and unique Ancient mew is as a card. It was such a contrast to everything else at the time. Every kid wanted the card. Its right up there with base set charizard and birthday pikachu in its demand. At any point in time I could sell an ancient mew card!


Had one as a kid that was super beat up and was peeling. I legitimately thought it was a fake card for years. Looking back, it was just super scuffed :joy: One of the most unique card releases for sure, and one that people will always recall as time goes on. Add in the multiple variants of the card, its super cool. Pretty cheap to acquire one as well.

At my school and some other neighboring schools there were rumors that it was a sticker instead of actual card. It wasn’t until I somehow got my hand on one myself (not even sure how anymore) that I realized it wasn’t a sticker. I traded it away for a Japanese Neo Genesis Steelix soon after. But I must have gotten it somewhere else again, because there was an Ancient Mew in my childhood collection. :thinking:

Either way, I think they’re pretty cool! Especially the different versions of it. Apart from the WotC #21 Moltres, it’s probably the only card I decided to collect specifically graded thus far: