Its offfical! There are only 20 illustrators printed!

It seems like there has been a little light shed on the amount of “Pokemon Illustrator” cards given out.

This article (scroll down the page) appears to show a November 1997 coro coro comic article that highlights the illustration contest, along with how many illustrator cards were given out. It seems that 4 winners had their illustrations made into cards: Poliwrath, Snorlax, Mr. Mime, and Mewtwo, while the top 20 overall received the coveted Pokemon illustrator card.

Although more than 6, anyway you slice it 20 is an incredibly low amount…who knows how many survived after 15+ years on top of that! To compare just under 60 Honus Wagner cards are in existence…and that still brings a pretty penny.

Discuss! :blush:


20 is mildly disappointing to me, but it definitely could be worse haha. It’s really great to finally have some closure on this mystery.


Thanks Mike! Glad to finally have an answer as to how many were printed.

Anything about the Pikas?

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Very interesting! Someone should look through all coro coro magazines for researching purposes! I always knew numbers like 4 or 6 is ridiculous…
Honestly, it is disappointing because this card was named the rarest card in the world over years and it definitely isnt. People said there are only 3 or 4 in existence but they didnt have an idea… Who knows what this card would be worth if people knew there is a total of 20 copies…
I think the numbers on the pikas TMBs and SSBs are easier to confirm as the cards were not given out to a group of people but only to the 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finishers. Plus we know of all the tournaments being held which would make the TMB/SSB 9 copies each and the pika 16 each.

slightly off topic, but I guess we didnt know that the 2000/1 NO. 1/2/3 Trainers had female versions just as the 2002 ones… But who knows if there as been a female 2000/1 copy printed…

Honestly it probably won’t change much at all. 1st edition charizard cards are printed in the thousands. The psa 10 copy right now is earning around 5k. That is what English No. 1 pikas are selling for, with only 3 printed a year. Not to mention, the English No. 3 trainer sells for significantly less than 5k.

Moreover, the most valuable card ever, the t206 Honus Wagner has an estimated 100 copies printed. There are plenty of “rarer” cards that exist, but they don’t earn a fraction of what the T206 Wagner does.

The bottom line is that value and rarity are not the same. The value is determined primarily by the demand, which rarity plays a role but is not the only factor. The story behind the Illustrator is what makes it so illustrious. There are few cards that deliver their history/story like the Illustrator does.

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But what exactly is the special story about the illustrator? I never got it so far :slightly_frowning_face:

I’m not disappointed in the slightest. Sometimes I think it is easy to loose sight I how small I an amount 20 cards truley is. Never buy cards because of rarity, buy them because you like them! For me the illustrator was the holy grail of cards and always will be :blush:

This is great news! At least we know a ton were not printed. Supposedly 1000 university magikarp a were printed and those are incredibly popular and difficult to obtain.

Geri I thought there were more pikas…16 is only assuming each tournament had one age group…the kamex and charizard had two I believe.

The TMB’s SSB’s were 9 each, but the Pika’s aren’t so simple as that, that’s for sure. I have researched all the trainer mag books and hadn’t got to the corocoros yet. I will publish what I’ve learned about Japanese tournament cards at the end of the school semester.

Also I too saw that 2000 WC SSB pic with the female variant. Who knows if they really exist, but that is very cool.

The point was that the card reflects the story behind it well. It is such a specific card for a specific event. The connection between the purpose of the card and its design is unparalleled.

It is the only card with “Illustrator” as its title. The illustration is unique and is related to its purpose. The only card with that little pen symbol at the bottom. It has the double star rarity. Its uniqueness is over 9000! :grin:

I agree that the story behind an item is what makes it desirable to collectors not just rarity. The “market” (collectors) would price an item based on demand/supply. Previous sales of the Pika Illustrator achieved prices based on a supply pool of 6. Confirmation that there are 20 copies available meant the supply pool is more than originally thought and this could affect the value of the card. It may not be significant but it could affect future sale prices for the card.

I doubt the price of the Illustrator will fall unless and until more of them come to market. Right now, there are only two of them publicly available for sale, correct?

Ahhh but the supply hasn’t gone up, just the amount printed is a bit more than thought. And yes Glenn there are two on the market and after those I presume the card will no longer be available for a while

But remember many illustrators popped up in the past 2 years… and Im sure there will be some more :blush:

And Nestor is right, if collectors knew there are 20 and not 4 or 6 the illustrators would have sold for less.

This is all assuming that all 20 survived :wink:

Anyway I’m not sure if it will make that big of a difference in price. If your buying based upon pure speculation and numbers then you are buying for the wrong reasons. I would hope that true collectors but cards because they like them and not because x amount are said to exist.

I would still say that an illustrator would fetch an easy 10k plus.


The demand right now for an Illustrator is higher than it has ever been. Many more people are aware of its existence than 2 years ago, especially 10 years ago. 20 copies is minuscule. Everyone on this forum alone wants that card. Imagine how many other collectors, pikachu collectors and even people who do not necessarily collect pokemon that are in that pool of people who want a copy.

The demand is what determines an items price. Look at the Black lotus card in Magic. There are way more copies of that card than an Illustrator, but it easily earns 5 figures with the right grade. The demand for the Illustrator is again, beating a dead horse, over 9000! :blush:

What happens in pokemon, and in most hobbies is that when someone hears of a cards sale price or potential value, others appear. Back in 2009 there was a flood of trophy cards. After Clive sold his Illustrator privately for I believe 14-16k (sold in Euros) along with the pika trophies on ebay, everyone tried to mimic his auctions.

Once those trophy cards were sold, they ended up in collectors hands, and have not re-surfaced anywhere near the frequency of that time period. The price tag on the ssb, tmb and pikas trainers are higher than they were then. Everyone wants those cards, and everyone now includes more collectors.

Something to also consider is that the internet is such a standard now compared to 5-10 years ago. So many people are researching pokemon in their own time, like most of us do or did, and they are more aware of trophy cards. The bottom line is, the demand has grown tremendously, and that is the most relevant determining factor.

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You all forget one thing: the illustrator is only so extremely sought after because it was believed to be the rarest card. Humsn beings and especially collectors always want the rarest items. Its the only reason why the illustrator sold for more than the pikas, tmb, ssb. And keep in mind that over the past 2 years several copies appeared… Im sure we will see more as time goes by.

I am really not trying to take the elusiveness off the illustrator but I just want to make clear that this high value is because people thought it was the rarest card.

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I could not disagree more. The illustrator has sold for so much because 1.) it is rare! There are only 20 maybe less now. And 2.) it’s unique. It’s the only card to have illustrator on it…and it’s a holo pikachu holding a paint brush :blush:

By your reasoning the 60 honus wagners must be worthless :wink:

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That is not true. People like the Illustrator because of its combined factors: illustration, rarity, story, uniqueness, pikachu.

In 16 years, 20 copies have not surfaced. We have maybe seen half that (I think 8-9). Either way, 20 copies printed is minuscule. And remember that is printed.

University magikarps were handed out and some were pitched or trashed. The good old pinhole through the card, which in a way shows the kid who just liked their card. You have to remember that printed does not mean exist, on top of that, mint.

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For a quick rarity reference, there was 1000 University Magikarps printed, and a total of 27 SSB’s and 27 TMB’s (amalgamating the three positions, because allhave the same artwork). All of the aforementioned cards are very rare.

Also the Illustrator is a pop culture item, something no other Pokemon card other than the 1st ed base Charizard is. Its value is a mile above any other Pokemon card, due to the aura surrounding it, not due to the number of copies printed. In the eyes of the world it is the most revered and most expensive Pokemon card. That will not change unless there is some factual document saying it has now been mass produced, otherwise the value would be the same at 5, 20, or 50 copies for example.

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