What does the very first edition japenese pokemon cards look

hello guys
wanted to see if you guys had any pictures of the very first japanese pokemon cards ?

@thewizardofdc ,

If by TCG then no rarity.

If inclusive of non-TCG then Carddass Part 1 (release date).

If by production date then *maybe* Topsun non-holos. But its been debatable for awhile.

There is no debate. The first gum packs were distributed in March 1997, 5 months after Japan’s Base Set launched.

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Technically the first tcg cards were the corocoro ivy pikachu and jigglypuff, they were distributed 5 days before the base set.


I think I remember reading on a older thread with Gary mentioning he saw them around before the official release. But you could very well be right though, as that claim can’t really be proven until someone comes up with evidence.

That is crazy that is what I was taking a look at this makse me want to collect all pocket monsters and topsuns maybe idk. Is there a place on this forum for a marketplace to see whats for sale?

Source? Besides the pokeboon article in broken english that uses hard hitting journalistic language like “It is said” they were distributed March 1997? It is said by who? The same article says the company stated they kept no record of its release date. We are operating on pure speculation unless there is an actual legitimate source. If something is going to be considered not debatable then please show me the proof because I’ll hop onboard with that after it is provided.

I’m not sure I’ve seen the Pokéboon article, but my source is Japan’s Confectionary Database which I can’t for the life of me find the website for at the moment (it’s the same website I used to determine when the GBA Gum Cards were released). That gives the release date for various confectionary products including the original Topsun gum packs and it points to March 1997 as being the first release (presumably the ones without numbers), then off the top of my head October 1997 for the second release (presumably blue back numbered) and March 1998 for the third release (presumably green back).

Without linking to that, one thing I can also add is that Japanese JAN (EAN-13) barcodes feature product identifiers are pretty much always sequential, and for the Topsun gum packs the product ID in the barcode is very, very close to the barcode for Topsun One Piece gum cards - One Piece was first launched in July 1997 and would certainly not have had branded chewing gum released for it in 1995.

Could the cards have been printed 2 years before they were distributed in gum packs? Sure, but that’s very unlikely.

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Good to know this. I had never seen any other source of information for this or real investigating but you seem to have done so yourself. I hope you can find that database. I will also look but maybe it doesn’t exist anymore that would be unfortunate. I only referred to the pokeboon article because I had feared that had become people’s source of information as the #1 google result for the topic and everything else relevant seeming to only exist in sparse amounts on this forum. I’m ok with the idea that they were released in 97, because the info has always seemed to point to that being the case. I’m just fairly picky on setting something like that in stone, and picky with source material and it has seemed to me that there has been a lack of evidence for claims.


The first Pokémon cards ever released of any type were the 1996 Carddass Series 1 cards in September 1996.

The first TCG cards ever released were the glossy CoroCoro Pikachu and Jigglypuff. Japanese Base Set was released a few days later. Both of these were released in October 1996.

There is a misconception that Topsun cards are from 1995 because of the copyright date and how PSA labels them. There is no evidence that they were actually from 1995 though (and it wouldn’t make sense that they were given that Pokémon started as a game boy game that was released in 1996). There is a theory that has floated around that perhaps Topsun cards were manufactured 2 years prior to their release and held back for 2 years but again I’ve never seen any evidence of this.


There are no sales on the forum but there is a buy list section where you can post what you want to buy. Other than that there is japanese mercari/yahoo or pretty much just english mercari and ebay.

Oh and since you asked what they look like…

In my opinion this pretty much covers your bases as far as the “first Pokemon card” goes. And since Bulbasaur is Pokemon #1 he’s the first one in every set. Just one more reason he’s the best. :wink:

The 2 Bulbasaurs the bottom - Green and Red versions of the 1996 Carddass Series 1 - are officially the first Pokemon cards ever released.

The No Rarity Base Set cards (top-left) are in all likelihood the first TCG cards ever *made* - with the caveat being that the glossy CoroCoro Pikachu and Jigglypuff were the first TCG cards ever *released* (and the release date is the only thing we know for sure). Again, there are other versions of these cards - the first one to be released looks like what you see above and was printed on glossy card stock (there is also a non-glossy version of these that was released later).

The No Number Topsun Bulbasaur, in my opinion, is just a 1997 card. But for the people who do subscribe to the theory that these cards might have been held back from release for 2 years, that’s here for you to look at too.