Yu-Gi-Oh!, a manga series that debuted in 1996, gained immense popularity soon after its release. The anime adaptation quickly followed suit, featuring Yugi and his friends engaging in a card game that employed illustrated cards showcasing various fictional monsters, spells, and traps.
The success of the anime spurred Konami to create real-life versions of the cards used in the show. Today, the Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards stand as one of the most profitable card games, generating nearly $10 billion in revenue since their inception.
While some Yu-Gi-Oh! cards hold more value than others, this article brings together some of the rarest and most expensive yu gi oh trading cards from the series, all of which were released to a Western audience and have been sold.
Top 10 Expensive Yu Gi Oh Trading Cards
Table of Contents
No.10 2002 LOB Monster Reborn #118 (1st Edition)
*Sold for $6,600 in May 2021
In March 2002, Monster Reborn made its debut in the TCG’s inaugural set of booster packs, The Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon (LOB), as a highly sought-after Super Rare spell card in the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game.
With Monster Reborn, players can perform a special summon of any monster available in either player’s graveyard, including the opponent’s most powerful monster, making it an extremely potent card.
Due to its power, the card is now listed in the Limited section of the Forbidden and Limited Card List, meaning that players can only include one copy in their deck instead of the usual limit of three per card.
Interestingly, for the first three sets of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, spell cards were referred to as magic cards, which some speculate was to avoid legal issues with Wizards of the Coast’s Magic: The Gathering.
The English version of the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime continued to use the term “magic cards” throughout its run, much longer than the TCG, with the name change only occurring after the release of the second anime series, Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, to Western audiences in 2005.
In May 2021, a first edition PSA Gem Mint 10 2002 LOB Monster Reborn #118 sold on eBay for $6,600. The card’s code, located above the top right of the description box, identifies it as card number 115 from the LOB set, marking it as part of the first batch of cards printed in the set.
No.9 2002 LOB Exodia The Forbidden One #124 (1st Edition)
*Sold for $8,000 in November 2020
Exodia, a powerful creature in the lore of Yu-Gi-Oh!, was divided into five parts, and each part was magically sealed and chained to prevent its immense power from being unleashed upon the world.
In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game, this concept is realized through five distinct Exodia cards: Exodia the Forbidden One, the Right Leg of the Forbidden One, the Left Leg of the Forbidden One, the Right Arm of the Forbidden One, and the Left Arm of the Forbidden One.
If a player successfully holds all five cards at once, they automatically win the duel, regardless of their current standing. This was famously demonstrated by Yugi in the anime’s opening episode when he defeated his rival, Seto Kaiba.
Just like the Monster Reborn card, all five pieces of Exodia are limited cards. Initially released as Ultra Rares in LOB, they were difficult to find, leading to well-maintained versions becoming extremely rare and expensive.
The Exodia, the Forbidden One #124 card, which is the only effect monster among the five and represents the head of the beast, is the most valuable, with a PSA Gem Mint 10 first-edition copy selling for $8,000 in November 2020.
Interestingly, among the other four normal monster cards, the Left Leg of the Forbidden One sells for the most, fetching a price significantly higher than the other limbs. It seems as though Exodia may have a Messi-esque talent for football, with his left leg being far superior to his right.
No.8 2003 Magician's Force (MFC) Dark Magician Girl #000 (1st Edition)
*Sold for $9,100 in November 2020
Dark Magician Girl is one of Yugi’s most beloved cards and is highly regarded by fans worldwide. As a level 6 card, it boasts an impressive 2000 attack and 1700 defense points, significantly aiding Yugi during her anime debut in episode 62.
This episode marked the conclusion of a high-stakes, three-episode duel against the malevolent magician Arkana.
The Dark Magician Girl was initially released in the TCG as part of the North American set, Magician’s Force (MFC), in October 2003. MFC was a 108-card set designed to provide support to Spellcasters.
The rest of the TCG community had to wait until October 2005, when Magician’s Force was one of the booster packs included in the compilation set Master Collection Volume 2, to get their hands on the rare Dark Magician Girl card.
The Dark Magician Girl also gained notoriety due to the various content edits it underwent during its transition from Japan to the West. These edits resulted in several variants of the card artwork.
However, it is the original artwork, the one owned by Yugi in the anime, that is the most valuable. A PSA Gem Mint 10 first-edition 2003 MFC Dark Magician Girl #000 sold for $9,100 in November 2020.
No.7 2002 LOB Red-Eyes B. Dragon #070 (1st Edition)
*Sold for $10,600 in January 2021
The Red-Eyes Black Dragon, with its fierce 2400 attack and 2000 defense points, is one of Yu-Gi-Oh!’s original powerhouses and a fan favorite due to its association with Joey Wheeler, Yugi’s best friend and primary aide in the anime. Known as Katsuya Jonouchi in Japan.
Joey is a lovable rascal with a thick Brooklyn accent in the dub, whose storyline centers around winning the prize money at the Duelist Kingdom tournament to pay for an operation to repair his ill sister’s eyesight.
Joey’s popularity led to the release of the Starter Deck Joey (SDJ) in 2003, which made Red-Eyes Black Dragon widely available as the opening card of the deck.
However, the first release of this card was in Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon, where fortunate pack owners could find it as one of the ten Ultra Rares in the set.
A flawless PSA Gem Mint 10 copy of the level 7 fire-breather sold for almost $10,000 in October 2020, with another first-edition copy of 2002 LOB Red-Eyes B. Dragon #070 fetching over that amount in January 2021.
Therefore, the extremely rare Yu-Gi-Oh! card is currently worth around five digits.
No.6 2008 Shonen Jump Championship Series Doomcaliber Knight #EN006
*Sold for $15,300 in March 2021
In response to the rapid growth of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, Shonen Jump, the English counterpart to Weekly Shonen Jump, established the Shonen Jump Championships.
These were a series of North American tournaments held between 2004 and 2010, with coveted prize cards awarded to the deserving victors.
Over the course of 75 tournaments, seven different card types were distributed, making these particular Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, which can be identified with an SJC code, very rare and expensive. At most tournaments, only two or three cards were given out.
One of the rarest and most sought-after cards is Doomcaliber Knight #EN006, which was the sixth card to be distributed. Only 68 copies of this powerful monster were given away at tournaments held between March 2008 and January 2009.
Doomcaliber Knight has impressive stats with 1900 attack and 1800 defense points, making it one of the best monsters that can be immediately summoned from your hand for levels 1 to 4. It also has a unique quick effect, which allows you to negate and destroy one of your opponent’s monsters.
In March 2021, a PSA Near-Mint 7 2008 Shonen Jump Championship Series Doomcaliber Knight #EN006 sold at auction for over $15,000. It is difficult to imagine what higher-grade versions of this incredibly valuable Yu-Gi-Oh! card could fetch.