CGC Trading Cards Certifies Four Incredible Pokémon Promo Cards

Posted on 5/15/2023

The cards include a Pokémon Illustrator, a Kangaskhan Parent/Child Tournament Prize, a Tropical Wind and a No. 2 Trainer from the 2002 Summer Battle Road.

CGC Trading Cards® recently certified several rare Pokémon cards from early sets, including another example of Pokémon Illustrator. Each of the four graded rarities represents a critical time in the Pokémon TCG’s competitive history, from early art contests to the 2002 Summer Battle Road competition. Keep reading to learn more about each of these four valuable cards.

CoroCoro Comics Illustration Contest – 1998

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In 1997, CoroCoro Comics — a popular Japanese monthly magazine — partnered with The Pokémon Company to run an official Pokémon-themed art contest. Japanese children could send in their artwork for the chance to receive a cash prize and a special promo card; a card that would eventually become the rarest and most expensive Pokémon card of all time: Pokémon Illustrator.

CoroCoro Comics ran two of these art contests, first in 1997 and again in 1998. In total, 39 children won the contest and received a copy of Pokémon Illustrator. Two additional copies were discovered after the contest ended, bringing the grand total of these promo cards in circulation to just 41. CGC Trading Cards has had the honor of grading seven of them.

The Pokémon Illustrator, Pokémon (1998) Japanese CoroCoro Comics Illustration Contest Promo that was most recently certified received a grade of CGC 9, with sub-grades of 9.5 for Centering, 9 for Surface, 8.5 for Corners and 9.5 for Edges. It is pedigreed to yummycardz and is surpassed in grade by only two examples in the CGC Trading Cards Population Report.

Pokémon Illustrator is the rarest and most expensive Pokémon card of all time. It consistently exceeds expectations when it is offered for sale, such as when a CGC-certified example graded CGC 9.5, dubbed “The Swirllustrator,” realized $672,000 in a Goldin sale. If yummycardz’s Pokémon Illustrator ever comes to auction, it would be expected to demand a similar price.

Kamex (Blastoise) Mega Battle – 1998

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After the success of the Lizardon Mega Battle tournament in the spring of 1998, The Pokémon Company decided to host another round of qualifiers in the summer of the same year for a national event that would be held in the fall. This tournament was dubbed the Kamex (Blastoise) Mega Battle, symbolizing the rivalry between the two starters, Charizard and Blastoise.

During the national tournament, Pokémon TCG players and their families were invited to participate in several side events while they waited for their turn to compete on the big stage. One of these events included the Kangaskhan Parent/Child Tournament — a small side tournament that paired adults and children in 2v2 tag team matches. The top eight teams of this side event went home with a special promo card.

This card was the Kangaskhan Garura Parent/Child Tournament Prize Promo Holo, a special card that was only distributed during this tournament. The tournament winner received two copies — one each for the parent and child — while each of the other seven teams went home with one copy each. There were only 20 of these cards officially distributed, making them incredibly rare. This CGC-certified example received a grade of CGC 9.5 and is the highest-graded example in the CGC Trading Cards Population Report.

Tropical Mega Battle – 1999

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The Tropical Mega Battle Tournament was an international event held in Hawaii in 1999. Japanese and American Pokémon TCG players came together in Hawaii to determine who was the very best in their respective divisions. Matches took place across two days during which tournaments, special events and activities were held.

Tropical Wind was a popular card that nearly every Japanese player included in their deck. The promo card was only available to Japanese players who had reached the final stage in one of the nine regional tournaments in the 1999 Summer Battle Road — the qualifiers for the Tropical Mega Battle Tournament. Only 64 copies of the card were given out as participation prizes in the Summer Battle Road qualifiers, while another 10 copies were distributed through a mail-in contest campaign.

Altogether, only 74 copies are known to exist in circulation, and CGC Trading Cards has graded 10 of them. This Tropical Wind, Pokémon (1999) Japanese Unnumbered Tropical Mega Battle Participation Prize Promo is graded CGC 9.5 with sub-grades of 10 for Centering, 9.5 for Surface, 9 for Corners and 9.5 for Edges. It is one of the highest-graded examples in the CGC Trading Cards Population Report.

Summer Battle Road – 2002

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The 2002 Summer Battle Road tournament circuit was an annual competition hosted during the summer, when Japanese children and high schoolers were on a scheduled school break. Several regional tournaments were hosted in major areas of Japan, such as Kansai and Kanto, to allow players from all over the country to join the festivities.

Players were split into three divisions based on age: “Junior” for elementary school children, “Senior” for junior high and high school and “Master” for ages 16 and up. Players could also enter the tournament if they were chosen as an official representative of an official Pokémon card store in Japan.

The winners of each regional tournament, in each of the three divisions, walked away with a customized trainer card with their name printed on it. These trainer cards were numbered Trainer No. 1-3 and customized for the player’s gender, male or female. This No. 2 Trainer from the Summer Battle Road was awarded to Tomoki Fukunishi, the second-place winner of the Kanto Summer Battle Road Junior Division. It is graded CGC 7, and is the only graded Trainer card from the 2002 Summer Battle Road in the CGC Trading Cards Population Report.

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