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THE Rarest Pokémon TCG Base Set Booster Pack?

We all know the Pokémon TCG Base set is the original and most iconic set of all time, and will most likely remain so. Some of the most attractive characteristics of Base Set, are the sheer volume of errors and unique variations that no other game or hobby can compete with. While most of the secrets about Base Set have been revealed, some findings are less documented than others.

Base Set has four unique variations: 1st Edition, Shadowless, Unlimited (most common) and of course the 1999-2000 Base Set. But it's when we delve deeper into these variations, we find extraordinary gems, which are often overlooked by the casual collector. To begin our discussion on the "least documented" Pokémon TCG booster pack, we must first draw our attention to the Black Triangle Error booster pack.

Black Triangle Error

Most of us have now heard of or seen videos that contain the Base Set Black Triangle Error booster packs. The collecting community were the first to document about the unique packs, but thanks to YouTube personalities, it's meant the error has become mainstream within the hobby.

What is a Black Triangle Error Pack?

For those that haven't heard of this pack, we'll sum up what they are. The Base Set booster packs went through a few variations during its eight print runs. While transitioning from Shadowless to Unlimited, the makers of the English Pokémon TCG, Wizards of the Coast (WOTC), accidentally printed some Unlimited packs with the 1st Edition stamp. Because Base Set was in high demand, and to avoid wastage, WOTC covered the 1st Edition logo with a small black triangle to prevent confusion.

The cards inside (as expected) are Unlimited, and because the packs are much rarer than the cards found inside, it's vital to keep these sealed to ensure they retain their value as a collectable. The packs can be found inside a standard Unlimited Base Set booster box, but it's complete pot luck to be lucky and find Black Triangle Error packs within it. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing unless the box is opened.

There are a variety of Unlimited Base Set Pokémon TCG booster boxes, but one particular box holds the most chance of finding them. The box features include:

1) Charizard artwork with a blue coloured wing

2) Multiple country information on the box

3) Rectangle WOTC logo in white on the shrink-wrap

The Black Triangle Error packs, as stated, are heavily documented, and many collectors have now seen or heard about them. So what is the least documented booster pack?

The 1st Edition (Error) Unlimited Booster Pack

As we mentioned, the black triangle was printed on the Base Set wrapper to hide the 1st Edition logo. However, what many collectors don't know, is some of the 1st Edition error packs were sold to the public before WOTC could conceal it.

According to Rusty of TCA Gaming, the packs "may" be found in the same type of booster boxes as the Black Triangles. However, he admits there is no concrete evidence to suggest this.

Rusty found a seller that had a box of them. The seller auctioned all 36 booster packs separately on eBay, and Rusty purchased 18 for roughly $100 (USD) a pack. TCA Gaming, (formerly known as The Charizard Authority) first made his YouTube audience aware of the packs back in 2013, and later went on to sell them on eBay.

In 2013 I became aware they were for sale, but I didn't pull the trigger on purchasing these error packs, because at the time my priorities were for other items. Plus for all I knew, they may have been more common than anticipated. However, to this day, I wish I'd have purchased one of each artwork (Charizard, Venusaur and Blastoise). And after talking to Rusty, he'd like to have saved some for himself as well.

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, eh!?

(The error packs can be seen from 2.42 minutes in the video)

Curious to know what is inside the packs? Well, an individual was brave enough to open one, only one, to find the Unlimited print. Needless to say, like the Black Triangle Errors, they're best to be kept sealed because the packs are far more valuable than any of the cards found inside.

With only 35 packs known to exist at this moment, this makes them the rarest Pokémon TCG Base Set booster pack of all time. While it's true there might be some lurking in unopened booster boxes; it's unlikely the population will ever overtake the Black Triangle Errors.

Right now, that's all we know about these unique Base Set booster packs. For the sealed collectors now on the hunt for them, may the odds ever be in your favour!

Barney Ludkins