Highest CGC Trading Cards-graded Pokémon 1st Edition Base Set Charizard Receives a CGC 9.5

Posted on 11/10/2021

While Pokémon has released more than 700 versions of Charizard, none compares to the first.

While there is some debate as to what makes the list of “Top Ten Most Wanted Pokémon Cards,” you can be sure that at least one Charizard card will always be included. From the beginning, Charizard was the king of Pokémon, and the cards that carry this Pokémon’s image continue to rank among the most sought after by collectors. While more than 700 versions of Charizard cards in 11 different languages have been released during the 25-year history of the Pokémon Trading Card Game, none has challenged the position of the first English Charizard, which appeared in 1999 as part of the 1st Edition Base Set.

CGC® Trading Cards recently graded an amazing example of the Base Set 1st Edition Charizard, and the experts were thrilled to grade the card CGC Gem Mint 9.5, which makes it the highest graded example of this card that CGC Trading Cards has certified to date. The card was also given a 9.5 for Centering, Surface and Corners, and earned a 9 for Edges.

Click images to enlarge.

The famous Flame Pokémon

While not officially included among the “dragon types” in the Pokémon universe, by all appearances, Charizard is a dragon. Described as a “Flame Pokémon,” he’s typically depicted as a large, winged lizard that can fly and breathe fire. The art featured on the 1999 Base Set Charizard, which was created by celebrated Pokémon artist Mitsuhiro Arita, captures him in the act of breathing fire.

To understand the popularity of the 1999 Base Set Charizard, it is important to note two numbers printed on the card. The first is the card’s Hit Points, denoted by the HP in the upper right-hand corner. Charizard’s 120 HP made it the most difficult Pokémon to defeat in the game’s initial character lineup.

The other number to note is the 100 near the bottom right. That number denotes the damage done by Charizard’s Fire Spin attack. Inflicting 100 points of damage allowed Charizard to knock out with one attack nearly every other Pokémon card in the Base Set. To win against a Charizard, one needed a good deal of strategy or a good deal of luck. As a result, everyone wanted the card.

In addition to his leading role in the trading card game, Charizard also appeared as a central character in Pokémon video games, animated series and print adaptations. Those appearances further boosted the character’s popularity, making the Base Set Charizard and the stream of Charizard cards that followed sought after even among those who didn’t play the Pokémon card game.

The unprecedented CGC 9.5 awarded to the 1999 Base Set Charizard, which categorizes it as a “Gem Mint” card, signifies that it has excellent centering and exhibits only negligible handling or manufacturing defects. For more information on CGC’s Grading Scale for trading cards, click here.

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free CGC eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the CGC eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List

Add CGC Card

Create a Set

Join CGC for free to add cards, track your collection and participate in the CGC Trading Cards Registry or CGC Sports Cards Registry.

Join CGC

Already a member? Sign In
Add to CGC Card Registry Example
Add to CGC Card Registry Example