What are my old Pokemon Cards Worth? The Pokemon TCG 1999 Unlimited Base Set Collectors Guide
When we think of the Pokemon Cards of our childhood, we are typically referring to the Unlimited Base Set released in 1999. After massive success with the 1st Edition Base Set and Shadowless Base Set, Wizards of the Coast (in charge of Pokemon TCG at the time) was scrambling to meet customer demand for the new hobby. The Unlimited Base Set was the response to just that. Unlike the 1st Edition Base Set (discussed here) and Shadowless Base Set (here) which both had one limited print run, the Unlimited Set was printed to demand and had 8-9 total print runs. This has a large impact on both availability of the cards and how collectible they are.
How do I know if a card is from the Pokemon 1999 Unlimited Base Set?
A card from the Unlimited Base Set has a 'shadowed' look on the right side of the image. So, take a look at the photo on the far left (Blastoise) and on the right hand side of the image you will see a shadowing in the design. Displayed below are pictures of an Unlimited Base Set Card (left), a Shadowless Card (middle), and a Shadowless 1st Edition Card on the right
Print runs and availability
Due to the much larger multiple print runs, typically when we think of the Pokemon Cards of our childhood, we are usually remembering the Unlimited Base Set. The Unlimited Base Set made the game more available for both players and collectors at a lower price point, even today. That is the same reason why when most people open their closets or clean out their garages, they typically find cards from the Unlimited Base Set.
So What are My 1999 Pokemon TCG Unlimited Base Cards Worth?
Given the size of the print-run, Unlimited Base Set Cards are worth less than both their 1st Edition Base Set and Shadowless Base Set counterparts. However, they are still a great item for set collectors and for the nostalgia of the Pokemon Base Set. With the gain in popularity and collecting within the Pokemon TCG, some of these cards are seeing large gains. Top-end rare Holographic cards in mint condition can go for $100-500. While the print run was large in 1999, as the game grows and millennials turn to collecting items from their childhood, we could see this set continue to gain attention.