English Pikachu No. 1,2 and 3 Trainers Trophy Cards

“The English Pikachu Trophy cards need no introduction”, is probably the thought you are having upon reading the title. However, these cards are underrated for their rarity and actual availability. I wanted to take the time to write this article to elaborate on the true availability of the cards.

For anyone who is not familiar with the cards I am referring to, here they are:

The cards illustrations are based off of the original pikachu trophy cards from 1997-1999. These cards are awarded each year at the Pokemon World Championships to the winners of each age division (3 divisions). The 1st place winner receives the No. 1 trainer, 2nd the No. 2 and 3rd place receives the No. 3. Only 3 copies are given out each year.

This is typically where the misconception of available copies begins. The first tournament was held in 2004. Each year following, the same illustration has been used but the stamp on the card has changed. Here is an example of the 2004 stamp from the first tournament. Here is the stamp from the 2011 copy. This was also used on the 2012 version as well, which as far as I know is the first year the stamp was carried over. The new logo might be something more permanent since pokemon has grown in popularity over the past few years.

Back on point, 3 copies distributed each year, 9 years so far, thus there must be 27 copies?! True, there were 27 copies given out in total from 2004 until 2012, but that does not mean 27 copies are available. Calculating the exact amount of copies available is similar to filling taxes; deducting costs from payments received (27 copies).

The first deduction is the “David Persin deduction”. David Persin owns the largest english collection in the world. Each year he purchases a No. 1, 2 and 3 trainer at the tournament. He has purchased every copy from every year except the No. 2 trainer from 2007. This leaves the total copies available at: 19. The best time to purchase one of these cards is right after the Pokemon World championship ends. However, considering that David Persin is buying a copy of each on site, you are looking at 2 copies remaining per year rather than 3.

The next aspect to consider is the winners who do not want to sell their cards after they win the tournament. This could sarcastically be phrased as the, “japanese deduction”. By and large, any japanese winner at the tournament is not selling their card. In my years of experience, when a card is won by a japanese player, it is off the market. In fact, when I was at the 2011 World Championships, I did not want all japanese winners because the cards would not be available for sale.

The best example of this is Yamato. Yamato is probably the most well known Japanese player/ambassador to the game. He won 1st place during the original tournament back in 2004. David Persin needed this card to complete his 2004 set. Each year he would increase the price. In 2012, David finally got a hold of a No. 1 Trainer from 2004 for a substantial sum. The winner who he purchased it from was not known. Keep in mind that this was the result of years of more than reasonable offers on the card.

Since Pokemon has become more popular in the past couple of years, the players are more inclined to hold onto their cards. In 2011, only one of the three 2nd place winners was considering selling their card. This made the demand/price increase of the card while also making the transaction fragile. Since the game has grown, the prestige/pride/enjoyment/value of the card has increased. In 2005-2006 the game was not as popular as it is today. The incentive was not as strong, and it made it a bit easier to negotiate a price with a winner.

Now, the last deduction to consider is not as finite but still has merit; the “collector deduction”. The cards that are in other collectors hands are majority of the time off the market. For example, the cards that I own and a couple other copies I am aware of that belong to collectors have a very low probability of changing hands. Also, when they do, it is mostly done in private. This adds yet another layer of difficulty if you are in the market to purchase one of these cards.

If you are in the market for one of these cards, chances are you will remain in the market for a long time. These cards are very underrated because the same illustration has existed over the past 9 years and their availability is typically falsely assumed. Considering the actual probability of these cards hitting the open market, you might have a better chance of obtaining one by winning the Pokemon World Championships.


Thanks a lot Scott for this great article about some of the most beautiful and rarest cards in the Pokemon world. I really love the illustration, especially the No. 1 Trainer looks just stunning.

I think another reason why they are underrated is because there are a lot of collectors only hunting for Japanese cards. For me it doesn’t matter if a trophy card is Japanese, English, old or new… But of course everyone has his own flavour…

It would be amazing to see pictures of Mr. Persins English Pika collection… I mean… Imagine to see 9 No. 1 Trainer Pikachus on one picture… :blush:

oh wow so Yamato finally sold his 2004 trophy card.i do wonder how much he sold it for though.Recent years havent seen alot of trophy cards hit the market as much as years before when after worlds

Thanks Dan! I did not know who the winner was he purchased it from, I assumed it was Yamato because of the past offers. And it is weird I did not change the year to 2007 before. I literally opened our email, checked the year and saw it was 2007 and forgot to change it. I guess that is what happens when writing at 2am. :blush:

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Thanks for the article Scott, it’s a keeper!

This makes me really want to go after the cards but I’m ashamed to admit that I hate the artwork on them (well not hate, but they’re at the low end of the trophy art spectrum) :\ doesn’t really make me want to get one of each, let alone numerous of each. It would have been nice for them to switch it up here and there.

Tons of new trophy cards have fantastic artwork but I find these to be the exception, although they are the rarest I presume.

I have to agree with Jason.

This article depresses me. Why? Because it makes me feel like I’ll never own one of these trophy cards :3

Sure you can. You need to save, save, save and try to make contacts with people. Most of all patience. Like with any trophy card, they are not too hard to find if you know where to look…its the price negotiation that is the issue.

Saving is the most important aspect. These cards do appear often. Good thing there is a website that allows collectors to have access to other collectors who have connections to private deals. :blush:

If you are in the market for one of these cards, put money aside that you will not touch until one becomes available. That is a method I practice as well as other serious collectors. The other element is another bidder outbidding, or simply the seller wanting a higher price.

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@smpratte - do you have any hd pictures of the no.1/2/3 cards? The links are broken for me? :slightly_frowning_face:

I may have stumbled across a worlds one someone owns. Aiming to hear back regrading price. I fear this is going to break the bank, haha. Any advice on price would be appreciated too :blush:

I fixed the links! Prices are very difficult to gauge, especially right now. These are cards that appear so infrequently it all comes down to what the winner wants for their card. I would say the older the card, typically the more valuable/scarce.

The scans work, but the links to the stamps don’t.
Since Photobucket’s new ruling of a few weeks ago, deep link is almost impossible and they charging insane money for it. Time to read the new EULA :wink: I wanted to suggest everybody here on E4 to find alternatives for Photobucket.

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How come that these have not been featured in any of your videoes yet?

I try to do more discussion based topics, rather than show my collection. But I should probably do more collection videos.


Been watching your videos for awhile man really got me into collecting again. And gives me such a good insight to how vast the hobby is its crazy how many options we have and what to collect.