What are Holo Cards?
A holo card is a rare card that has a holographic, shiny image at the top of the card instead of regular two-dimensional art. Its rarity is indicated by a ★ next to its card number.
Holo cards have appeared in every set from the original base set released in 1999. The first holo cards gained their shiny quality through the use of a thin layer of foil.
The holo Cobalion card shown here is from the Sword and Shield Chilling Reign set. It clearly shows the light reflected by the straight line textured holographic image.
Over the years there have been different styles of holo cards including starlight, cosmos, tinsel, mirror, crosshatch, straight line, confetti and cracked ice. They have been named for the holographic pattern that features on those cards.
What Are Cosmos Holo Cards?
Sometimes referred to as Galaxy Holo cards, Cosmos Holo cards feature a pattern of stars, circles and dots that resemble planets and stars in space.
This style of holo was used for the 1999 Base Set, the Jungle set and the Fossil set. The Lapras holo card from the Fossil Set clearly shows the reflected light from this distinctive Cosmos design. Some people refer to this early style as Starlight Holo.
From Base 2 the Cosmos Holo pattern changed slightly. The stars were gone, replaced by a pattern of circles and dots. This design continued through to HeartGold SoulSilver Call of Legends and is thought by many to be the best holo pattern.
More recent decks have featured Cosmos Holo cards as promo cards in special decks or blister packs. The holographic reflection on modern cards is more subtle than the earlier versions of the style as can be seen in the Pikachu Sun and Moon Promo card.
With the introduction of art cards in the Black and White expansion series, holo cards became less popular and nowadays are only marginally more valuable than Common and Uncommon cards. However, cards with the Cosmos Holo design continue to be popular among collectors and generally fetch a higher price than their modern-day equivalents.
The most recent Cosmos Holo card (August 2021) is Single Strike Tepig from the Battle Styles set which featured as the promo card in the 2021 Spring Collector’s Chest.