PSA Set Registry
Collecting the 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Set
The Dawn of a "Neo" Era
by Kevin Glew
It's the set that introduced the second generation of Pokémon.
And not only does it offer the "rookie cards" of favorites like Lugia, Typhlosion, Feraligatr, and Meganium, the 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition series was also the first to showcase Baby Pokémon cards.
"I think the important thing about Neo Genesis is that it's the first Neo set," said Scott Pratte, a well-known Pokémon trading card expert. "It's that rookie card mentality, and this was the first time that you saw the second-generation Pokémon in a trading card set."
Produced by Wizards of the Coast (WOTC), this offering represented a transition from the first-generation series that included Base, Jungle, Fossil, Base 2, Team Rocket, Gym Heroes, and Gym Challenge to the second generation.
The Neo Genesis 1st Edition series is comprised of 111 cards of which the first 19 are holographic singles. In all, this set offers four different levels of cards (plus Energy cards) that are grouped together throughout the issue (see accompanying chart).
Like the first-generation cards, the 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition singles boast yellow borders with the name and HP at the top above the artwork. The 1st Edition stamp (Edition 1) and the Pokémon's vitals (type, length, weight) ensue, followed by the Trading Card Game information. The Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost information can be found at the bottom.
But if you look closely, you'll notice that there are differences between these cards and the first-generation singles. For example, the HP on the top right is in small black print rather than larger red print. There are also additional graphics below the words Weakness, Resistance, and Retreat Cost at the bottom on the Neo Genesis singles.
The set symbol, which can be found to the lower right of the artwork, is two overlapping stars.
"I like the design. It was a nice subtle change [from the first-generation cards]," said Pratte. "They did a great job of transitioning. The continuity is there, so I think the changes in the design were good."
Zack Browning, who owns the No. 1, 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition set on the PSA Set Registry, says the Pokémon depicted in the artwork of this series are generally tamer than the aggressive looking Pokémon featured in the Team Rocket or Gym issues.
"If you look at some of the [Neo Genesis] artwork, they're much more simplistic in nature," said Browning. "If you look at Lugia, it almost looks like a Pokémon that's just stuck up there with a lot of holofoil around it. The artwork compares well with the Base set."
The card backs flaunt the Pokémon name and branding and have blue borders.
Released on December 16, 2000, the Neo Genesis 1st Edition cards were available in 11-card booster packs that consisted of seven common cards, three uncommon cards, and one rare card. Holographic cards were inserted in approximately one of every three packs.
There were four Neo Genesis 1st Edition pack wrappers each highlighting a different Pokémon, either Lugia, Feraligatr, Meganium, or Typhlosion. There were 36 packs in each booster box. The 1st Edition packs and booster boxes are clearly marked with the "Edition 1" stamp.
Despite being the first, this offering is not the most desirable of the four Neo sets. This is largely because it does not offer the limited-edition Shining Pokémon cards that are included in the last two Neo sets - Neo Revelation and Neo Destiny.
"The latter two Neo sets had Shining cards and those were an entirely new level of rarity; they were the most difficult cards to pull from a pack," said Pratte. "Those enhanced the other sets whereas Neo Genesis and Neo Discovery [the second Neo set] do not have the Shining cards."
Another "unlimited" version of the Neo Genesis cards was manufactured in much higher quantities and is less valuable. The "unlimited" cards do not have the small circular black stamp on the left (that says "Edition 1") below the character box on the front.
Unopened Neo Genesis 1st Edition booster boxes and packs are in high demand and are tough to track down. Although WOTC has never released their production numbers for the Pokémon sets, hobbyists believe the Neo cards were printed in smaller quantities than the first-generation issues.
"When I was putting the holo set together [for the Neo Genesis 1st Edition series], I would say it probably took me a year or a year-and-a-half to obtain the 19 holos in PSA [GEM-MT] 10," said Browning. "This was one of the first sets that prompted me to start getting more involved with social media because the cards were so difficult to acquire."
Pratte has had a similar experience.
"We really don't know what the print run was," he said, "but Neo feels a lot scarcer than the first-generation cards. I think the Neo series in general was printed in smaller quantities than the series before them, but that's just my opinion."
When unopened Neo Genesis 1st Edition booster boxes do surface for sale, they tend to command high prices.
"I think a [Neo Genesis] 1st Edition box would be a great deal at $1,500," said Browning. "I could see these going for $2,000, and that's being fair in my eyes."
This set is also notable because it introduces the aforementioned Baby Pokémon cards. Featuring Pokémon at the lowest stage of evolution, these cards added a new facet to game play. From the collecting perspective, Baby Pokémon are pictured on some desirable cards in the set. The Pichu holo card (#12), for example, is the baby form of the beloved Pikachu.
"As if Pikachu couldn't get any smaller and cuter, now here's the baby Pikachu card," noted Pratte. "There are a lot of people that just like the cuteness of it, so I think that's the appeal of the Baby Pokémon cards."
Dark and Steel type Pokémon were also unveiled in this series. Both were created to balance some of the other Pokémon types in the game.
"There really isn't a premium for the Steel or Dark type cards," said Pratte. "Although when these cards were released, it was exciting to see the different Dark and Steel card layouts."
Pratte adds that Steelix (holo card #15) is probably the most popular Steel-type Pokémon.
"It's pretty much the first associated with that type, and it literally has 'steel' in its name," noted Pratte.
As with the previous Pokémon sets, the most coveted cards in this series are the holographic singles.
"The Neo era holos do better than the Gym series holos," said Pratte. "It's hard to find a Neo Genesis holo card that's not doing well because there aren't as many graded or they're just not as easy to locate."
The Lugia (#9) is the most coveted holo card. Lugia is part-dragon and part-bird, and according to the text on its card bottom, it "spends its time deep at the bottom of the seas because its powers are too strong." Lugia was also the mascot of the Pokémon Silver game and had a starring role in second North American Pokémon movie that was released in 2000.
Both Pratte and Browning hail the Lugia card as the Charizard of the second-generation Pokémon. Of the 389 submitted, there have been 32 PSA 10s and 125 PSA MINT 9s.
The Feraligatr, Meganium, and Typhlosion holo cards are also keys to this series. These Pokémon are featured on two holographic cards each within the set.
"Those were three starters. So, when you played either the Pokémon Gold or Pokémon Silver games back in the day, those were one of the three Pokémon you would start the game with," explained Browning. "So a lot of people hold past memories of those Pokémon."
Of the two Typhlosion cards (#17, #18), #17 is far more difficult to uncover in top condition. Poor left-to-right centering plagues this card.
"Typhlosion (#17) is a notoriously tough card to obtain in high grade," said Pratte. "It's hands down the most difficult card in the set to grade."
Of the 200 evaluated, there have been five PSA 10s.
"The artwork on the card is unreal. It has a vibrant holofoil," said Browning. "It's one of the hardest cards to grade. A recent [PSA 10] copy just sold for $4,730."
The Metal Energy card (#19) is also notable because it was one of the first energy cards to be featured in the holographic format.
"The Metal Energy card is very hard to grade," noted Browning. "Most of the card is holofoil, and what I've noticed is that there are typically a lot of factory scratches. It seems like whenever you get the card, the holo is always scratched in some way."
The market is still evolving for high-grade 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition cards.
"I would say the Neo era is happening as we speak," said Pratte. "People are starting to grade and collect these old sets, but it's still a very new concept."
Browning offers a similar take.
"I could see more people jumping the Gym sets and going straight to Neo," he said. "People generally just start with Base and proceed to Jungle and Fossil because those are the sets that they can relate to. Then people move on to the next generation because once you've gone through Jungle, Base, and Fossil, you pretty much have one copy of every [first-generation] Pokémon. And with Rocket and Gym, you sort of have variations of them. With the Neo, it's totally new; you're collecting these [second-generation] Pokémon for the first time, and the first copy of a Pokémon is generally going to hold more value in the long term than subsequent copies."
So, what is the future for the Neo Genesis 1st Edition set?
"I believe the Neo Genesis set is going to keep growing in desirability," said Browning. "You're seeing this trend of 1st Edition cards just evaporating on eBay. I find that they are becoming less available, but their desirability continues to grow and people want them."
For more information on the 2000 Pokémon Neo Genesis 1st Edition trading card set, please visit https://www.psacard.com/cardfacts/non-sports-cards/2000-nintendo-pokemon-neo-genesis-1st-edition/32682.
Please feel free to contact Kevin Glew at [email protected] if you have any additional information or comments. Please note that the Population Report figures quoted and Set Registry rankings reported are those as of November 2017.