How much would you be willing to spend on cardboard?
The answer to that question has probably surprised more than one veteran card game collector when they look over their collections.
If you grew up in the early 2000's you've probably heard about Yu-Gi-Oh! at least once – The Trading Card Game (TCG) sensation blew up in the west.
The TV-based anime first aired almost two decades ago and it spawned an entire franchise: videogames, movies, and much more!
Despite its venture into other forms of media, What keeps people coming back to the franchise is the anime-based trading card game.
Even though the original anime ended years ago, the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG is still going strong.
Booster packs and decks are released yearly – and many cards are valued into the thousands of dollars.
There are over 22 billion Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in circulation but there are 14 cards, in particular, you should really know about.
Top 14 Most Expensive Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards
14. 2002 Blue-Eyes White Dragon
If you’ve watched the anime, you'll recognize this card.
This iconic dragon was used multiple times in defining moments of the anime.
What makes this card so interesting (and valuable as well) is not its relation to the anime or the franchise’s many movies. This card was released in 2002 as a promotional item for “Yu-Gi-Oh!: Dark Duel Stories”, a Game Boy Color game.
This card is both iconic and incredibly rare due to the promotional release. It’s now valued at $400 USD dollars – if you can get your hands on it.
13. 2009 Dark End Dragon
Unlike the Blue-Eyed White Dragon, this card doesn’t hold any sentimental value when it comes to its relation to the anime – because it wasn’t born out of the anime. Instead, this card was the product of the Trading Card Game itself.
Back in 2009, a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament was organized with one of the competition’s many prices for top duelists was a card. And you’ve guessed it: it was the Dark End Dragon.
Only the best duelists that participated in the 2009 Shonen Jump Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship received this card.
Because of its exclusivity this card is, it’s valued at over $800 US dollars.
12. Gold Sarcophagus
If rare Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are what piques your interest, it doesn’t get any better than the Gold Sarcophagus card.
There are only 25 of them in the entire world!
It’s incredibly difficult to encounter one of them in second-hand markets, if there are any of them out there at all.
This card was a prize for the top duelists who participated in a tournament that took place back in 2005 and 2006. Only 25 copies were printed and the card has not seen a reprint since.
Only 25 people in the world own this card – and that makes it of rather high value.
If you’re lucky enough to see it for sale, expect to pay at least, $1400 US dollars.
11. Limited Edition Shrink
At first glance, you think that the Shrink card might not be worth much.
If you know your way around the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, you’ve probably come across many copies of the card Shrink. You can look them up right now on eBay or Amazon – it’ll probably be worth less than a US dollar.
So, why is the Shrink card on this list? Well, we’re not talking about any old printing worth a couple of cents. Not at all!
There’s a limited-edition Shrink printing worth $2000 US dollars – and that’s way more than a couple of cents!
10. Minerva the Exalted Lightsworn (Original)
The value of this card is twofold.
It is both a collector’s item and a great card for competitive play. Then again, not all Minerva the Exalted Lightsworn cards are made equal. While this card was reprinted in 2015, many people are after the original printing.
An original, ultra-rare Minerva card is just doesn't have the same feeling as the reprinted versions. The ultra-rare version was a prize for top players of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Championship Series tournament.
Because this card is both rare and strong card depending upon the current meta, you can get it for no less than $2300 US dollars.
9. 2004 Cyber-Stein
Ever wondered which card was the first one given away as a prize in the Shonen Jump tournaments?
Well, wonder no more, you’re looking at it! The best players who participated in the 2004 edition of this tournament received a Cyber-Stein card.
The Cyber-Stein card, just like the Minerva card, is twice as valuable. It’s both a collector’s item and a great card to have in a competition deck.
You’ll have to save quite a bit of money to buy it, though. It’s valued at $3000 US dollars.
8. Skuna, The Leonina Rakan
There’s little confirmed information around this card's printing details.
If not for the internet, many might even doubt its existence in the future. All we know is that it was a prize for the Yu-Gi-Oh! World Championship 2009 tournament.
We don’t even know how many Skuna cards were printed, but the rumored number is only 6. Many people have reported seeing it in online auctions – for, at least, $6000 US dollars.
7. Swords of Revealing Light (Original)
The original version of this card is of incredible value.
It is one of the first cards to ever be released as a promotional card for the anime.
This card even precedes the official release of the Trading Card Game itself!
While there’s no exact number, this card is likely worth well over $6000 US dollars.
6. Armament of the Lethal Lords
Similar to Skuna, not too many people have seen this card up for auction.
It was also a prize card in one of the earlier Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments. Rumors say it was once sold for 1 million dollars – but that’s only online hearsay.
While a million dollars might not be accurate, if you do find it for auction, it could be worth at least $9000 US dollars.
5. 2017 Iron Knight of Revolution
The 2017 edition of this card was only printed 3 times and given out as prizes for a tournament during the same year. Cards this rare are almost never commonly seen in an online auction – but there’s an exception here!
Out of the three cards ever printed, only one was put up for sale. It was sold for $12,999 US dollars.
4. Amatsu-Okami of the Divine Peaks
While this card is not as rare as the final ones on this list, there’s a little bit of secrecy surrounding it.
It was given to the best players of a tournament held in 2018, but nobody knows how many they were. All the players who received it kept it for themselves – all but one.
The one player who sold it got $18,800 US dollars – maybe that will get the others to sell!
3. Lottery Edition Dark Magician Girl
Not only this is one of the most featured and beloved cards in the entire anime series, but it’s also one of the most wanted cards in history. It’s been reprinted countless times – but that’s not what collectors are after.
An ultra-rare Dark Magician Girl card is worth $50,000 US dollars.
How come it costs so much?
Because the only way to obtain the card during its release was to win an exclusive Japanese lottery!
2. Tyler the Great Warrior
This card has no official value assigned to it as it was never sold – but it has a heart-warming story behind it.
Tyler, a young boy suffering from cancer back in 2002, asked as a final wish to be immortalized as a Yu-Gi-Oh! card.
His wish was granted and the card was made!
Fortunately, his story has a happy ending. He made a full recovery and still has his card to this day.
He has received plenty of offers for it, but still refuses to part with it until this day!
1. Tournament Black Luster Soldier
This card is worth $9 million dollars – and the funny thing is, you can’t even use it to play the game!
However, it’s considered the definitive Yu-Gi-Oh! collector item.
It was the first place prize of the very first Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament ever held.
You probably won’t find it for auction, though. There’s only one in existence and it was sold years ago.
We don't expect Yu-Gi-Oh! to be going anywhere anytime soon and as the franchise continues to print more limited edition cards and the those that currently exist will become even rarer, we are sure to see the price of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards continue to rise.
Will the popularity of the Yu-Gi-Oh! continuing to rise both domestically in Japan and in the international market, we are looking forward to seeing what new cards get released by the franchise.
If you are interested in trying to get your hands on any of these rare cards, especially those cards that were only released in Japan, check out our showcase page below or use ZenMarket to search for Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh! cards directly from Japan!
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