Over the years, the Pokémon TCG has featured many different patterns used on their holographic cards. Some patterns lasted for years, while others had short stays, making them markers for their short time in the franchise. In this next installment of A Holographic History of the Pokémon TCG, let's take a look at a style of card that seemed to come and go overnight: Pokémon ☆.
Pronounced "Pokémon Star" and sometimes referred to as "Pokémon Gold Star," these cards used the ☆ symbol after the Pokémon's name. This style of card debuted in November 2004 with EX Team Rocket Returns, a set that featured the Hoenn Starters as ☆ cards. While these were not considered Secret Rares in the set because they were numbered within the set's limits (for example, Mudkip ☆ was 107/109), they were significantly more difficult to obtain than other cards in the set.
Pokémon ☆ were a follow-up of sorts to the Shining Pokémon style of card. They did indeed display the focus species in their Shiny forms, but unlike the Shining style of card, the foil itself was holographic (in the manner of a standard holo rather than foil showing up on the Pokémon itself). The artwork of these cards showed the Pokémon coming out of its border, making for a unique and consistent look across the board.
Due to their rarity and the popularity of Shiny Pokémon, there are ☆ cards that are among the most sought-after and valuable cards in the hobby. Two cards that come to mind are the Rayquaza ☆ from EX Deoxys and the Umbreon ☆ from POP Series. Both of these cards are among the most difficult to obtain. Rayquaza ☆ for example is listed as worth $700 USD on TCGPlayer, but looking at the available sellers, there are only two options: one for $5,500 and one for $25,000 as of this writing. That's great for those interesting in keeping high-value cards, but is a bit of a bummer for completionist collectors like myself.
As far as the Umbreon ☆, the initial print is so rare that it does not even have an available market value. It was reprinted with texture and special holofoil as part of the Celebrations Classic Collection reprint subset, which did not impact the value of the original.