When Did Pokemon Cards First Come Out

When Did Pokemon Cards First Come Out

When Did Pokemon Cards First Come Out?

Pokemon cards have become a global phenomenon, captivating both children and adults alike. These collectible trading cards feature various Pokemon characters and have gained immense popularity since their inception. But when did Pokemon cards first come out? Let’s delve into the history of these cards and explore their journey from their humble beginnings to their current status as a cultural phenomenon.

The Birth of Pokemon Cards

The first Pokemon cards were introduced in Japan in 1996 by the Pokemon Company, a collaboration between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures Inc. The concept of Pokemon cards was inspired by the success of the Pokemon video games, which were released a year earlier.

The initial release of Pokemon cards in Japan consisted of a set of 102 cards, known as the “Base Set.” These cards featured iconic Pokemon characters such as Pikachu, Charizard, and Blastoise. Each card had unique artwork and attributes, making them highly collectible.

Expansion to the United States

The popularity of Pokemon cards quickly spread beyond Japan, and in 1998, they made their way to the United States. The Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) was launched in the US by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro. The release of the TCG sparked a trading card frenzy among American children, who were already captivated by the Pokemon video games and animated TV series.

The initial release of Pokemon cards in the US featured a modified version of the Japanese Base Set. The cards were translated into English, and some artwork was altered to appeal to the Western audience. The popularity of the Pokemon TCG skyrocketed, with children and collectors alike scrambling to get their hands on rare and valuable cards.

The Pokemon Card Craze

By the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pokemon cards had become a cultural phenomenon. They were not just a trading card game but also a form of social currency among children. Kids would gather during recess or after school to trade cards, showcasing their collections and engaging in friendly battles.

The Pokemon Card craze reached its peak in 1999 when the first-ever Pokemon World Championships were held in the United States. This event brought together the best Pokemon card players from around the world, further fueling the popularity of the game.

Evolution and Continued Success

Over the years, Pokemon cards have continued to evolve and adapt to the changing times. New sets of cards are released regularly, featuring new Pokemon characters, gameplay mechanics, and artwork. The Pokemon TCG has also introduced various expansions, special editions, and promotional cards to keep collectors engaged and excited.

Today, Pokemon cards are not only a nostalgic collectible but also a thriving market. Rare and valuable cards can fetch exorbitant prices at auctions and online marketplaces. In 2021, a rare Pikachu Illustrator card, considered the holy grail of Pokemon cards, sold for a staggering $233,000.

Key Takeaways

  • Pokemon cards were first introduced in Japan in 1996 and quickly gained popularity.
  • The Pokemon Trading Card Game was launched in the United States in 1998.
  • Pokemon cards became a cultural phenomenon, with children trading and battling cards.
  • The Pokemon TCG continues to evolve with new sets and expansions.
  • Rare and valuable Pokemon cards can be highly sought after and valuable.


Pokemon cards have come a long way since their debut in 1996. From their humble beginnings in Japan to their global popularity today, these collectible trading cards have captured the hearts of millions. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a casual fan, Pokemon cards offer a glimpse into a world filled with imagination, strategy, and nostalgia. So, dust off your old collection or start a new one, and embark on a journey to become a Pokemon Master!

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