Growing up in the 80s and 90s gave kids a gateway to appreciating international culture, all through the lens of Japanese animation. Anime was at its peak in the 80s and 90s with hit shows like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon. Dragon Ball Z gained a cult following around the world, prompting a card game that took major moments from the series and turned them into cards you could use in one-on-one competitions. Today, a few of these niche cards can sell for thousands of dollars.
Valuable Dragon Ball Z Cards to Hunt Down
|Valuable Dragon Ball Z Cards||Estimated Value|
|SSB Vegeta, Unbridled Power||~$2,000|
|Son Goku, The Awakened Power||~$1,000|
|Bardock, Origin of Legend||~$2,000|
|Gogeta, Fateful Fusion||~$2,000|
Although Dragon Ball Z had been a famous manga and anime for nearly two decades by the time the card game was released in 2000, there wasn't a shortage of avid players clamoring for the newest cards. Over time, the card game has been discontinued, re-released, and modified into an entirely new game. And while the original cards from that initial run still hold a special place in people's hearts, the newer cards hold a special place in their wallets.
SSB Vegeta, Unbridled Power
Released in 2022, the SSB Vegeta, Unbridled Power card from the Realm of the Gods pack is one powerful card. On top of being incredibly powerful, it's also the rarest card in the Realm of the Gods set, making it a very valuable one to add to your collection. In a perfect condition, this foil card has an average value of about $2,033.33, according to TCG Player. Individual listings fluctuate between $1,5000 and $4,000, but the consensus is that this card is one you've got to have.
Son Goku, The Awakened Power
It makes sense that one of the most valuable cards would be one featuring the main character, Son Goku. With a 45,000 power, this Secret Rare card can instantly kill any opponent. And while you can only have one of them in your deck at a time, it only takes one to wipe out the competition. According to TCG Player, the card currently has an average market value of about $1,100, and you can buy your own copies for about $900 on the same site.
Bardock, Origin of the Legend
Like father, like son - Son Goku's father, Bardock, makes an appearance in this valuable card. Another God Rare level card, this one is slightly less powerful than Son Goku's at 40,000 but holds its own on the resell market. Sales of almost perfect cards brokered through TCG Player average out to a market value of about $2,012.49, which isn't something to turn your nose up at.
Gogeta, Fateful Fusion
Son Goku and Vegeta are powerful on their own, but when combined, they make for one nasty opponent. The Fusion Dance is a technique used in the Dragon Ball Z world to join two people together to create a superior being, and this card is the result of one of these fusions. While a regular high-quality version of this card is worth about $2,000, there are a few copies of promotional cards available that're worth double the amount.
How to Identify Rare Dragon Ball Z Cards
Rare cards are worth more because fewer of them are made, and this is especially true for ones from games that are discontinued. Thankfully, Dragon Ball Z CCG has a clearly defined system for ranking their rare cards that anyone can follow.
On the bottom right corner of newer Dragon Ball Z cards, you'll find three different sections. The first represents the set the card belongs to, the second refers to the card's number in the set, and the last refers to rarity.
|Notation to Look For||Rarity||What Does It Mean?|
|C||Common||These are your plain cards that have the highest circulation numbers.|
|UC||Uncommon||Uncommon cards aren't that rare, though slightly fewer are circulated than common ones.|
|R||Rare||Featuring a foiling pattern, any card that's labeled rare is found at the very back of the pack.|
|SR||Super Rare||Featuring gold foiling and some texture, you can find these cards in about 1 out of every 4 decks.|
|SPR||Special Rare*||Special rares have the same information as super rare, but they come with unique artwork.|
|SCR||Secret Rare||These are incredibly rare cards that come in about 1 out of every 6-12 booster packs.|
|PR||Promotional||Promo cards are bonus advertising cards that can come in packs or from winning competitions.|
|ST||Starter Deck||Cards labeled starter deck form a pre-built starter deck for you to use.|
|EX||Expansion||These cards are both foil and non-foil and only appear in expansion packs.|
|FR||Feature Rare||These rares are exclusive to the Clash of Fates set.|
|DR||Destruction Rare||There are 5 of these exclusive 6 Destroyer of Kings set rare cards you can collect.|
|ISR||Infinite Saiyan Rare||There are 5 of these exclusive 7 Assault of Saiyans set rare cards you can collect.|
|DPR||Duo Power Rare||There are 10 of these exclusive Draft Box 4: Dragon Brawl rare cards you can collect.|
|NHR||Noble Hero Rare||There are 5 of these exclusive 8 Malicious Machinations set rare cards you can collect.|
|IVR||Ignoble Villain Rare||There are 5 of these exclusive 8 Malicious Machinations set rare cards you can collect.|
|SPRS||Special Rare Signature||There are 4 of these exclusive 7 Assault of Saiyans set rare cards you can collect.|
|RLR||Reboot Leader Rare||There are 5 of these exclusive 9 Universal Onslaught set rare cards you can collect.|
|IAR||Iconic Attack Rare||There are 5 of these exclusive 9 Universal Onslaught set rare cards you can collect.|
|DAR||Destroyer & Angel Rare||There are 12 of these exclusive Draft Box 5: Divine Multiverse rare cards you can collect.|
|GFR||Giant Force Rare||There are 12 of these exclusive Draft Box 6: Giant Force rare cards you can collect.|
*Interestingly, the first ever God Rare card - SSB Vegeta, Unbridled Power, is only labeled SCR, despite being much rarer than regular Secret Rare cards.
Newer Isn't Always Better
Based on recent sales, old Dragon Ball Z cards from the discontinued series that you might remember from when you were a kid aren't as valuable as the new, rare cards from the reimagined card game. Unlike Pokemon and other collectible trading cards, you want to keep your eyes out for the newest, rarest cards if you're interested in making money off of them. Check for when new decks are getting released, and pick up a few as an investment to see if you can land one of these thousand-dollar ones.
Where Childhood and Adulthood Collide
This growing pop culture shift towards nostalgia-driven products makes things like Dragon Ball Z trading cards a hot commodity. Millennials and Gen Z love to relive their childhoods, and there's no better time for people who have some old or new Dragon Ball Z cards to get them on the market.