Crown Zenith has proven to be one of the best sets the Pokémon TCG has ever seen. Its celebration of the last three years of Sword & Shield, alongside the best artwork the franchise has ever seen, is making it enormously popular, and highly collectible. Among the mammoth 230 cards in the set, a surprising number have proven to be bringing in the big bucks for those lucky enough to pull one.
Crown Zenith is the final set to come from the Sword & Shield era, with the first set of Scarlet & Violet due to hit worldwide stores on March 31. It’s a bumper collection, reprinting some favourite cards and offering new artwork on so many more. Alongside these is the Galarian Gallery (GG), a 70-card set-within-set that celebrates the Galar region, with all-new and often extraordinarily gorgeous art. It’s no surprise that it’s from within the GG that most of the big numbers are coming, and not least the extremely rare four gold cards that finish it off.
It’s worth noting here that approaching the Pokémon TCG as a money-making enterprise is a foolish endeavour. Just the nature of the market, where cards gain value based on rarity, means that it’s close to impossible to make more money selling cards than you’ll spend to pull them. Anyone thinking they might get rich quick by buying a pile of Crown Zenith Elite Trainer Boxes will quickly find themselves with the most enormous pile of bulk, and if they’re astonishingly lucky, maybe a card worth $US90 ($AU131) against the hundreds of dollars those boxes just cost them.
However, Crown Zenith is proving the most fantastic set for the Proper Way to get the cards you want: trading. And knowing the value of your cards is essential when making a good trade, ensuring you’re not being ripped off by that 13 year-old at the local card store.
Also it’s just damn cool to know that there are people out there who will pay $US130 ($AU188) for this tiny piece of cardboard you got in a pack for $US5 ($AU7.26). So, push forth through this gallery to discover the most valuable cards in Crown Zenith, now it’s been out for a couple of weeks.
Note: all these prices are based on the market at the time of writing. They will go up and down at their pleasure, and you can find the latest prices here. All these prices will likely drop over the next few weeks as more Crown Zenith sets release, after which things will level out and we’ll get a more accurate long-term picture of the sets’ worth. We’ve included every card that’s currently worth over $US30 ($AU43) ungraded.
Elesa’s Sparkle #147
The only card in the top 10 highest value cards from Crown Zenith to be part of the main set is Elesa’s Sparkle.
Currently beating Entei V, Raikou V and Darkrai VSTAR’s GG entries, and even the previously hugely popular Hisuian Zoroark VSTAR from the Galarian set, it seems likely the lacklustre playability of the card will see it dropping in value again.
It’s a lovely piece of art, of course, and really shows off just how special Crown Zenith is: this isn’t even Trainer Gallery art, just a regular full-art in the main set, and yet it’s bursting with the sorts of details that’d have it as a stand-out in any previous collection. Check out the Charizard, Pikachu and Jigglypuff hidden in the background detail.
Ungraded: $US32.68 ($AU46.48)
PSA 10: $US194.20 ($AU282.16)
Glaceon VSTAR #GG40
All appearing Eeveelutions in the set have been given some really stunning art in the Galarian Gallery, and Glaceon is obviously no exception. That’s even more impressive given this is from a first-time Pokémon illustrator, Gemi. They’ve got a couple of cards in the brand new S&V cards just released in Japan, too, so hopefully will become a fixture for the franchise.
The combination of this incredibly subtle art with its Arctic lighting, plus the fact that it’s a VSTAR, and that it’s in the GG, pretty much guarantees a decent price. Not enough to beat Leafeon, although as we’ll soon see, that card is something very special, but I think this is a card that’ll continue to gain value, even after the initial drop-off for Crown Zenith.
Ungraded: $US34.32 ($AU49.86)
PSA 10: $US204.65 ($AU297.34)
Suicune V #GG38
Clearly the appreciation of the art is to individual taste, but I’m quite surprised by the popularity of Suicune’s GG outing, given the weirdly incongruous nature of the monster and the background styles. The backdrop is clearly stunning, that galaxy of stars over the rugged, frozen mountains. But in front of it the Suicune looks lost to me, with its far plainer presentation and identical colours.
Still, what do I know, because right now the market is regularly paying out $US40 ($56)-$US50 ($69) for the card. Of course, that Fleet-Footed ability is pretty awesome, and the low-energy cost of its potentially powerful attack makes it very playable.
Ungraded: $US37 ($53.76)
PSA 10: $US234.06 ($AU340.07)
Leafeon VSTAR #GG35
Oh this is my absolute chase card. Sure, a gold card would fetch me a pretty penny (if it were possible to convince my son to sell the damn things), but the artwork here is something I’ve stared at for minutes at a time.
I don’t think I’ve seen a card before with so much (coherently) going on (take that, Lost Origin Giratina). That Leafeon has clearly gone full Poison Ivy, sat in its greenhouse lair, plotting the death of Batman.
This is by Jiro Sasumo, a new artist in 2022 who won one of Pokémon’s regular Illustration Grand Prix contests, and who has already contributed some of the most iconic designs of last year. Brilliant Stars’ Vaporeon was his, along with Astral Radiance’s Allister Trainer Gallery, and that stunning Galarian Moltres V in the same set. Even better is the three-part Ralts, Kirlia and Gardevoir ex set in Japan’s Scarlet & Violet base set, which I desperately hope is coming our way in March.
And no, YOU just bought another Crown Zenith ETB just with the ridiculous hope of finally pulling this card.
Ungraded: $US37.97 ($AU55.17)
PSA 10: $US221.71 ($AU322.13)
Well, duh. If there were ever a card destined to become collectible, it was this Pikachu. Look at it! It’s got everyone in it! Honestly, I’m shocked this is hovering around $US40 ($56), although right now that’s likely because it’s not so hard to pull. Once Crown Zenith is off sale, I would guess this is a card that’ll see its value climb and climb.
It’s a peculiar card for another reason: This is Crown Zenith’s only Secret Rare. For reasons best known to The Pokémon Company International, PTCG collections come with cards it likes to pretend don’t exist, numbering them over the claimed total number of cards in the set. Check the bottom of the image above and you’ll see this is 160/159. In recent sets, we’ve grown used to seeing a good handful of so-called Secret Rares like this, but this time out — likely because of the eye-watering 70 cards in the Galarian Gallery (over the familiar 30 in a Trainer Gallery) — things were just getting silly.
It’s an astoundingly useless card for the game, in my opinion. By the time you’ve got three energies attached for that 90 damage, you’ll likely have already had it defeated or evolved. But damn, it’s one of the most cheerful cards I’ve ever seen, and I wouldn’t part with one for those $US40 ($56).
Ungraded: $US39.81 ($AU57.84)
PSA 10: $US235.17 ($AU341.68)
Origin Forme Dialga VSTAR #GG68
The peculiar booby prize of Crown Zenith’s gold cards. For whatever reason, the mercurial whims of the Pokémon card market has deigned Dialga to be the least valuable of the four, seeing it valued at less than half the price of the most popular.
What a moment that must be, noticing that millimetre of gold down the side of the pile of cards as you’re going through them, thinking you’ve struck it rich, only to realise you’ve got the iron pyrite of the set.
I’ve no idea why, given the card is utterly stunning. Still though, you wouldn’t sniff at $US68 ($94), with the potential to see it hitting a good $US350 ($486) if graded at a PSA 10.
Ungraded: $US65.25 ($AU94.80)
PSA 10: $US377.24 ($AU548.10)
Origin Forme Palkia VSTAR #GG67
Things don’t fair enormously better for Palkia. Just a couple of bucks higher than Dialga, and just as spectacular, for some reason it doesn’t do as well as the previous card when graded PSA 10. Money, eh? It’s all made up.
Ungraded: $US67.79 ($AU98.49)
PSA 10: $US363.45 ($AU528.07)
Mewtwo VSTAR #GG44
This was always going to be a big one. The Mewtwo VSTAR for Crown Zenith is a big deal, not because it features the far superior Mewtwo, but because of that tiny Charizard in the top right. Yup, Pokémon collectors’ insatiable appetite for the Chard is that big. Oh, and rather importantly, this is a “response” card to that Charizard Ultra Premium Collection promo.
In the initial card, one of the three that made the whole planet go crazy-bonkers for that Zard UPC (until last week when it was reprinted, and is now being sold at discount…), we saw a battle between Charizard and Mewtwo taking place on the side of a cliff. Seen from Charizard’s perspective, the lovely card was packed with tiny details, including a Tangrowth and Diglett getting caught in the explosive crossfire.
This new Crown Zenith card flips the perspective, showing us the exact-same moment but now from behind Mewtwo. Look carefully and you can still see that poor Diglett and Tangrowth. It’s such a splendid idea, and it’s clearly proving very popular, the only card currently able to interrupt the run of gold cards at the top of the price lists. This is over $US100 ($139) fresh out the pack.
Ungraded: $US110.92 ($AU161.16)
PSA 10: $US565.04 ($AU820.96)
Arceus VSTAR #GG70
There’s only one card that can beat Arceus to the top-spot right now, and it’s not a Charizard.
I adore this. That Pokégod so majestically appearing in the centre of the…volcano cave? I’ve no idea what’s going on, just that it reminds me of medieval religious art meets a ‘70s metal album cover.
Declaration of interests: my son pulled this card.
Declaration of infuriation: despite the fact that this single piece of cardboard could fetch over $US100 ($139), and that I pay for all the bloody packs, he refuses to sell it to buy another 20 packs of Crown Zenith to help complete our binder.
Ungraded: $US111.44 ($AU161.91)
PSA 10: $US587.46 ($AU853.54)
Giratina VSTAR #GG69
And here it is: the most valuable card in Crown Zenith by a country mile. And no wonder, because good gravy, just look at it. It’s an actual masterpiece.
All four gold cards in the set are by Akira Egawa, but this one is so strikingly different it’s hard to believe it’s the same person. If it weren’t for the fact that the central figure is a cartoon character, you could easily convince someone this is something created by the impossible offspring of Klimt and Dali.
Ever since the advent of full-art cards in the PTCG, it’s been infuriating that they don’t sell posters of the artworks, and never more-so, surely, than this Giratina. Imagine that in a frame on your wall. What a thing that would be.
It’s reported that a PSA 10 graded card has sold for one thousand bucks, and while prices on this one will likely fall over the months-long life of Crown Zenith, it has the potential to hold a lot of value.
Ungraded: $US145.31 ($AU211.12)
PSA 10: $US1000 ($AU1,452.92)