What Are Pokemon Gold Star Cards?

What Are Pokemon Gold Star Cards?

You may have seen lofty prices on Pokemon cards the past few years - and Pokemon Star cards or "Gold Stars" have been no exception.

Gold Star Pokemon feature this Star logo next to the Pokemon's name and began appearing in US releases with 2004's EX Team Rocket Returns.



Gold Star cards have pull rates of approximately 1:72 packs, so basically 1 per every two booster boxes. Now that seems like a fairly easy chase in comparison to some of the steep odds to pull modern alternative arts. For example in 2021's Evolving Skies the pull rates for an Alt Art VMax are around 1:283 packs. What gives? 

Despite being not particularly hard to pull, Gold Stars have a couple fundamental advantages. 

  • Lower Print Runs: After Pokemon burst onto the scene in 1999 - printing soared through Base Set, Jungle, Fossil, Rocket, Gym, and then began to trail off as the craze died down. Heading into Expedition, Skyridge, Aquapolis and eventually the EX Era, print runs were simply lower. 
  • Condition Sensitive: These cards are getting up there in years. They have very low gem rates (for purposes of this article I am using PSA, and gem rates means the percentage of cards submitted that grade out a 10). Appealing to higher-end collectors - collecting all the Gold Stars in high-grade is a legitimate difficult chase (more on this later). For lower-end collectors there is plenty of availability in played condition cards. 
  • Stable Population: There is almost a zero probability of the PSA 10 population of any Gold Star (outside of 2021's promo Greninja) to increase exponentially. The sealed product for this era is scarce, incredibly expensive and basically non-existent in comparison to early-WOTC product. 

From a non-fundemental view these cards have "brand recognition". While not as known as the "1st Edition" base set cards the knowledge and demand for Gold Stars has spiked higher with influential collectors like Steve Aoki showcasing his collection on YouTube

Enough talk - let's take a look at the data!

Full Gold Star Table 

The takeaways? 

  • As of writing this article there are only 17 possible PSA 10 sets of every Gold Star. Torchic is the key blocker card - and its price has exploded. The low pop stars (regardless of the popularity of the Pokemon) are scarce and wildly sought after. 
  • The legendary dogs are vastly more common in PSA 10 and raw than any of the other vintage Gold Stars. 
  • The data shows that almost every vintage gold star and the sets that contain them will be sought after by collectors - these are condition rare, high-demand cards with scarce sealed product. As long as Pokemon is ticking these cards will matter. 
  • Greninja is the only modern Gold Star and will have a massive population in comparison to the other cards on this list once more return from PSA. 


Gold Star Fun Facts

  • Every Gold Star artwork was illustrated by Masakazu Fukuda
  • None of the Gold Stars are secret rares
  • There are 28 gold stars including Greninja, released as a promo in Celebrations ETBs.
  • The Umbreon and Espeon Gold Stars came from "Pokemon Organized Play" packs or POP Series. This wasn't a traditional set - the packs were distributed through Pokemon Organized Play events or similarly affiliated products. 
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