What was the hardest to get card that you own?

What’s the hardest card that you’ve managed to purchase / trade for? I’m curious to know because I’ve personally spent tops a solid month of searching to track down a single card in the grade I wanted.

This can be the card that took the most negotiating, took the longest time to find, or one that you had to source yourself and grade just to get one that’s graded!


Very curious to see the replies here. As set collector my stuff is not hard to get and I like it like that :sweat_smile:

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This Kingdra ex was the hardest card to get out of the entire Japanese set-based ex set I completed in 2019, and I would definitely consider it to be the most effort and work that I put in to finding a card to date.

When I was going through the work of putting together my PSA 10 set-based Japanese ex set, a lot of the cards were challenging, but mainly just because they were expensive (relatively speaking back then) or I had gotten unlucky with finding mint copies/grading them myself, but 10s were readily available if I just paid for them. However, Japanese EX Dragon Frontiers was a whole different beast. The entire set only had a few cards graded from it. I was actually the first person to grade a Dragon Frontiers ex card with PSA, a Latios ex that scored a 10. Over the next couple of years, I worked on getting all of the Dragon Frontiers ex cards in 10s in the only method possible: buying raw copies and submitting to PSA.

With most Japanese set cards, getting 10s wouldn’t be too challenging. However, Japanese Dragon Frontiers has abysmal pack-fresh centering. The worst centering can be found on 1st edition holographic cards. Unlimited is a bit better, but still horrible. Even so, I managed to slowly but surely tick off the ex cards. I got Salamence, Rayquaza, Altaria, Flygon, Dragonite, Latias…and with all but the Altaria, I was the first person to grade those cards in a PSA 10. But one card I was never able to find, the Kingdra ex. I found a couple good quality copies, but they got 9s. I would constantly be looking for good ones, even resorting to buying random listings with no pictures from Japanese card shops in the hope of finding one that would grade a 10. After buying what I can only describe as every reasonable-looking Kingdra ex on the market for several months, I picked the best three and sent them off to PSA. And I was finally lucky: 2 PSA 10s!

Kingdra ex was the final card needed for the Dragon Frontiers ex set, and after that, I only had a small number of relatively easy ex cards to obtain, and full set completion was achieved shortly after that.


A bit different than most collectors, many of my decks I have actively spent months looking for in the specific box version or sealed, literally to the point of messaging shops around the US to check stock for older decks and see if theyll ship to me. The ex era is the hardest to find specific deck variants in general, although it took months to find a corrected Psych out deck. Some products just arent able to be sourced until they show up, there really isnt a “Maybe I can buy a collection and find it in good condition” or an “If I save, I can afford it” option for me.

So far, the hardest to get that I own was the ex Trainer Kit 2 in collection packaging. Ive seen 6 in 4years. The first was on reddit where the user was a throwaway account and never responded, the second I missed by mere hours, the third I bought as a sealed collection but it turned out to be fully opened so I returned due to the cost being for the whole thing sealed and I couldnt justify it with everything opened (they never relisted), the 4th was another sealed collection and sold for double what I had recently paid/returned, the 5th I bought unsealed but for a much cheaper price that I was very happy with, and the 6th was unsealed and sold for a sealed trainer kit price which is absurd as they do not include the late era ex pack that the normal packaging does. Id love to find it sealed but as its just a bonus to my collection goals and its price is usually pretty high, Im not too worried about it.

The hardest one to reach an agreement for purchase was my International Base Set Retail Kit that Ive posted about. It has no barcode, no official name, and very few details about release. It comes with some retail marketing items, a few base packs, and a base starter deck, all in unique packaging. The seller first didnt care what they had but wanted to sell and I offered a reasonable offer, then they found it was rare and wanted to sell excessively priced, after 4-6months of back and forth we came to an agreement that was 75-100% higher than my original offer but due to uniqueness I went ahead and am glad I did since no more have surfaced unsealed and the sealed version is still listed for $9k. It then traveled from the UK to the US but with it being a private sale it had minimal financial protection, so that was nerve wracking. It is now a jewel in my collection and I am thrilled to have it.

I am still on the hunt for sealed or unsealed Kalos starter collections (they include 2 packs and a pin) which have not shown up for around 2-3 years, and a sealed international team aqua deck which only has 1 unsealed version on ebay for the past 18 months… at the sealed price. So as I said, years of constant looking and Ive gotten 99% of all English decks, 95% sealed but there are a few that regardless of money, just arent able to be sourced… until they show up which I believe they will.


Over a decade


There are a few reasons why this card was hard to obtain:

  1. 7ED foil rares are extremely… rare. 7th Edition was the first MTG core set to feature foils, but it had 110 rares, 110 uncommons, 110 commons, and 20 lands. Booster boxes averaged 1 foil rare, 2-3 foil uncommons, 2-4 foil commons, and 2-3 foil lands.

  2. Birds of Paradise is one of the most used cards in the game. It’s a 1-drop flying 0/1 that can tap for any color mana. That means that many 7ED foil Birds of Paradise are in decks (i.e., not for sale) or show heavy play wear.

  3. If you are lucky to run across a foil Birds of Paradise in decent condition, obtaining a signature from Edward P. Beard, Jr. can be costly and difficult. Ed had a rough separation with MTG and has since rebranded himself as an independent artist, wanting to (deservedly) be viewed beyond his contributions to MTG. As a result of his busy work, you cannot send cards to his address to purchase a signature like you can for many MTG artists. This means that most MTG cards signed by Ed were obtained through Gencon, Comicons, Renaissance Fairs, trade shows, car shows, tournaments, etc. and only after buying a collectible product $25 or more from his collection.

Consider that most 7ED foil Birds of Paradise sell for thousands of dollars and that some MTG collectors/players view signatures poorly (i.e., damaging the card), and it makes sense why few would go through the effort of flying to a location, booking a hotel, tracking Ed down, and meeting him to obtain a signature.

For the time being, this is a pop 1 card that I graded. But I hope that more Silver Age foil cards are graded in the future and that autos outside of Alpha/Beta/Unlimited/Four Horsemen sets become appreciated in MTG.


because something tells me i’m not getting the snap gyarados


I dont have anything thats truly hard to get. Can find all of it on ebay or any of the major card sites. Still, for the sake of the post, probably a LP Celebi Goldstar. Not the rarest card, but its still a goldstar and its in fairly decent condition. No dents or any major whitening. Other than that, I have a line error Venonat I bought for a dollar at a card show. I dunno how rare the line error Venonat actually is, but I feel finding one for a dollar is hard to do : )




I want to know because I don’t know. What’s the story?

Unlimited Blue Shock was an extremely small print run. I’ve only seen 3 of these pop up ever, let alone getting one in 10 condition.


I’ll just use this thread as a chance to complain about grading 2003 EX reverse holos. To this day I have yet to grade one in a to, and I’ve been trying pretty hard.

It just means I buy them when I see them for sale. Not sure how people are pulling it off

I guess your only shot is cracking a sealed pack, getting the 1/100 card you need, hope for no print lines or scratches from particulate between it and the card before it, and that it isn’t damaged by PSA (rip me).

No wonder they’re all lower than pop 10


hmmm, this is a tough one,

Im going to say either my Pack of 25 EX hidden legends prerelease swalot, or my pack of 50 city championsip squirtles

As far as I know TPCi has always sent out promos to events at the estimated number of attendees based on previous events, which means a tournament had to have 50 less attendees than they expected, as well as not opened the pack in the last 15 years


Took me 18 months of active searching and personally grading as well to get my ruby and sapphire holo Sceptile in PSA 10. It was a pop 6 at the time. Could never grade higher than a 9


Sweaty Dog GIF - Sweaty Sweat Dog - Discover & Share GIFs

I have a few cards that come to mind but the one that stands out particularly for me is every Unlimited Gyarados card from Rage of the Broken Heavens.

6 cards and it took over 3 years to get all six - I could only find them in the final year I searched after adopting a hectic twice a day check routine scouring Japanese sites for over an hour each time. It felt obsessive and definitely created some bad habits that took me a while to break out of. This Gyarados EX in particular marked the first time I was 99% done with my collection as it was the 6th and final card I needed.

There have been some other cards that were incredibly hard to get - but these were the ones where I had to put the most work in and was able to obtain.


sometimes i think about complete species collecting, and then i look at your insane collection to remind myself that i’m not built for that

ready to go to australia though when you want that snap gyarados

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I’m gonna split it per sub-collection:

For my FA Supporter/CHR collection, none were hard to get. I’ve basically had a completed collection a month after I started collecting them, with the exception of the Japanese PSA-10 Team Rocket Brief Case promos and PSA-10 The Masked Royal promo, which I bought later on. So I guess The Masked Royal was the hardest to get (just in terms of finances basically) for this subcollection.

For my Seviper TCG collection, it’s defintely the Japanese unlimited edition WCP Seviper. I started collecting Seviper cards, my favorite Pokémon, in 2017, and I was able to complete it in all available TCG languages at the end of 2020 after finally finding this card. The 1st edition version of the WCP set is already pretty rare (because it was only available for online purchase for Japanese players for a two week period, while being a pretty bad set TCG-wise). But it’s nothing compared to the unlimited edition, which could only be bought at the 2008 Spring Battle Road events. This event was supposed to be held at five different locations for a week long period, but due to bomb threads, three of those five locations were cancelled completely, and the two remaining ones only went through their initial two days instead of week before cancelling as well. That, combined with the fact that in this set the non-holo Rares; Holofoil Rares; Ultra Rares; and even the three Eeveelution Gold Star Secret Rares all had the same pull rates, and Seviper isn’t exactly a popular Pokémon to collect or put up for sale, made it a very hard card to find.

For my Moltres WotC #21 promo collection, my favorite artwork, which I started collecting raw, graded, and sealed in all languages in 2017 as well, it’s probably a tie between the sealed Japanese unlimited edition Pokémon Web booster pack containing Moltres and sealed Australian promo. Both took until 2020 to find. Although the sealed Swedish promo, which I’ve only heard about existing near the end of 2020, also took about two years to find to fully complete the sealed portion of my Moltres collection.

For my PSA-10 Ancient Mew sixtet, it’s obviously the corrected version 1, which took little over a year to find after I decided to collect the four PSA-10 Ancient Mew version (the Japanese 2019 and Korean 2020 versions were released later on).

For my Pikachu collection, I honestly don’t know where to even start. There are still 10 Pikachu I’m missing, so those will defintely make this thread once I find them. Especially the German Flug-Pikachu and Surf-Pikachu promos, as well as Spanish Pikachu Volador and Pikachu Surfista promos, which I’ve all four only seen twice each in the past 8-9 years I’m collecting. And of course the Pikachu SNAP promo, not that I’d ever own it…
Some cards from my collection that come to mind, though:

  • German Birthday Pikachu, which is still my most expensive bought Pokémon card purchase to this day, and which I’ve also only seen five copies of in the past 8-9 years. These were also rumored to be winner prices for some German tournaments back in the day, so who knows how few copies even exist.
  • Japanese unlimited edition E1 Pikachu. The unlimited edition E1 cards only had some very exclusive and elusive releases, like just 50 copies of the unlimited Pokémon-e Starter Deck, and some Pokémon Card GB2 Game Boy Color lottery events where an unlimited edition E1 card was a consolation prize. So although I had been searching for the Japanese unlimited E1 Pikachu pretty actively since I started collecting back in 2015/2016, it wasn’t until mid 2021 that I finally added it to my collection.
  • One that didn’t take long to find in terms of years, but was still very hard to find and took quite a lot of searching, was the French SM190 Detective Pikachu promo with movie stamp (and Italian to lesser extend as well). In English and German, this card can be find in abundance for a cheap price, but in French and Italian it’s very rare due to a production error. Because whereas the English and German Blu-Rays/DVDs came with the promo in their respective languages, for the French (including Belgium) and Italian copies of the Blu-Rays/DVDs, the promo inside if was one of the four languages at random. I first managed to find an Italian stamped copy from a French seller. After that I’ve managed to buy one Blu-Ray and four DVDs eventually from French webshops, but unfortunately they only contained a mixture of English, German, and Italian copies. Funny enough, I ended up buying a raw French stamped copy from an Italian seller, 2.5 years after its release of 2019. :sweat_smile:
  • Some other Pikachu cards which took 4+ years to find for various reasons:

And I could probably go on… I now own over 1800 Pikachu TCG cards, which I’ve started collecting around Autumn 2015, so there have been a lot of Pikachu cards that were hard to get over time. And as mentioned before, there are still 10 more officially released Pikachu left to find, including some more unofficial ones (e.g. the Japanese Glossy Keiji Kinebuchi Pikachu with shifted artwork I’m currently searching for semi-actively).



i once owned a japanese moonbreon

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These two. :slightly_smiling_face:

Honorable Mention:


I’d say these are my top 3. Charizard mainly came down to price, but also finding a signed one added an extra chase to the whole thing for me. Forgotten Ancient from MTG was always and is still played a lot, and so finding a clean foil copy is no easy task. Base 2 holos are terrible graders and finding Raichu in a 10 was tough.