CGC Trading Cards’ Favorite Pokémon Base Set Variants

Posted on 10/1/2020

Variants are exciting to spot and popular to collect.

Pokémon TCG is loaded with fun and exciting variants, especially the English Base Set. From phantom Pikachus to wayward Wartortles, varieties abound, and there is no end to the hunt for new ones! Luckily, CGC Trading Cards recognizes all of these variants automatically, free of charge. Here’s a look at some of our graders’ favorite variants.

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1999 “Gray Stamp” 1st Edition Base Set Charizard – Some 1st edition Base Set cards have 1st Edition stamps that are much lighter than the normal black color. CGC will recognize these on a case-by-case basis. Gray stamp cards can carry a small premium.

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1999 1st Edition Base Set “Ghost” Stamp Error Pikachu – Some 1st Edition Pikachus included in the Zap! Theme Deck (specifically those with a gold opening strip) somehow missed a portion of the printing process, leaving only a partial First Edition Stamp. These are very well-known as the “Ghost” Stamp Pikachu and are highly sought after by collectors.

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1999 Base Set Machamp with Cosmos Holofoil – All English Base Set cards were made with the “Galaxy Star” holofoil pattern. However, the Machamps included in the 2-Player CD-ROM Starter Kit actually had the cosmos holofoil pattern that was used on later sets.

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1999 Base Set Shadowless Ninetales with No Damage – Some Shadowless Ninetales were inadvertently printed without the “80” damage for Fire Blast. These are quite uncommon and often bring a very large premium.

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1999 “Black Dot Error” Base Set Charizard – Some Base Set Unlimited Charizards have a small ink error over the “t” in “Nintendo.” Beware of alterations, however, as CGC Trading Cards graders have already caught one example that seems to have been altered with a Sharpie!

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1999 Base Set Wartortle with Evolution Box Error – This is a fun variant! Somehow, a small number of Base Set Wartortle cards feature Wartortle in the Stage 1 Evolution Box instead of Squirtle. Caution: All Portuguese Wartortle cards have this error and are far less valuable than their rarer English counterparts.

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1999-2000 Base Set – The 1999-2000 Base Set was a variant that was issued for the UK market. The cards tend to be a bit lighter in color and carry the 1999-2000 copyright date at the bottom of each card. Fun fact: Some typographical issues found in the other Base Set printings were fixed in this release, including changing Vulpix’s Hit Points from “HP 50” to the correct “50 HP.”


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