Best Collectible Pokemon Tins

Latest posts by Tony Bresnen, Pokémon Collector Supreme (see all)

In the summer of 2009, I got back into Pokémon card collecting after a long hiatus. I wanted to start building decks and playing the Pokémon TCG again with a few friends. I was away at college and didn’t have a great place to keep and store cards—no empty binder around.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I went to the local big box store that sold Pokémon cards and saw tins. They were selling tins with Pokémon designs, and better yet, they came with packs and a special holofoil card. It was perfect! Getting new cards and having a place to store those cards and more. My obsession with the best Pokemon collectible tins had begun.

Bottom Line Up Front

There are many options of collectible Pokémon tins available today. The most common is the collector’s series tins which come with one promo card and four Pokémon booster packs. Other options include the lunchbox-style tins (usually five booster packs plus other goodies) and Poké Ball-style tins (usually three booster packs).

Each type has pros and cons, as some are better for display or better for storage. My favorite tins are classic, octagonal-style tins. Though they have been replaced by modern hexagonal-style tins, you can still find them at online stores like Troll and Toad

A Brief History of Tins

Both the design and contents of Pokémon collectible tins have changed over the years. I’ve included information about the history of tins in the Pokémon TCG, which might help you identify the origins of a tin in your collection. I also list potential pros and cons for certain tins if you want to start or add to a collection of these unique products.

Selection of Pokemon Tins

Vintage Tins

Collecting the earliest tins is difficult at best. They are rare and expensive. Sealed vintage tins can be more than several thousand dollars, and even empty tins might cost a few hundred dollars.

But if you are a Ruby & Sapphire fan filled with nostalgia, the artwork of these tins with Sceptile, Blaziken, and Swampert is tempting. Still, there are cheaper modern alternatives that have similar functionality.

Classic Tins

Years later, Pokémon updated its design of collectible tins to an octagonal shape with a windowed front to highlight the included promo card. I call these tins the “classic” design as they didn’t change much from the Diamond & Pearl era through the end of the Sun & Moon era, a period of about 12 years.

All tins of the classic design contained four booster packs in addition to a promo card. Usually, the booster packs were from multiple sets, with at least one of the packs from a set older than the set highlighted by the tin design and promo card.

Modern Tins

Pokémon Collectible Tins

In 2020, Pokémon released the first modern-style tins. Though similar to the classic-style tins, these tins introduced brought about some changes.

The shape of the tins shifted from an octagonal design to a roughly hexagonal design. (Note that in some places outside of the U.S., the octagonal-shaped tins are still being manufactured and sold in stores.) Along with a different shape, these tins also added another booster pack, going from the standard four per tin to five per tin. 

Not-a-tin Tins

As Pokémon card collecting regains popularity, it was enjoyed during the early days, and more products are available to collectors than ever before. Two popular products that have come on the scene more recently are lunchbox-style tins and Poké Ball tins.

Top Tin List

The best collectible tins are the ones that appeal to you! I prefer the classic-style tins released between 2007 and 2019 because of their shape and overall design. However, modern-style tins are now the most widely available option to get at MSRP, especially at big box stores. Head to a store near you today and check out what’s available!

EX Series Collector’s Tin

Pokemon tins (classic)


  • These are the earliest tins released for the Pokémon TCG.
  • The design really takes me back to the early days of Pokémon.
  • The included packs are valuable and highly collectible.


  • The price. Due to their age and rarity, these tins sell for thousands of dollars on average.
  • Newer, cheaper tins have just as much functionality for card storage.
  • Due to its high cost, the contents of the sealed tin (booster cards and cards within) probably are less than the cost of the tin itself.

The 2003 EX Series Collector’s tin came with five booster packs (3 EX Ruby & Sapphire and 2 EX Sandstorm), a poster with a card checklist, and two Pokémon promo cards featuring Pikachu and Meowth (Nintendo Black Star Promos 012 and 013). 

As sales of Pokémon cards began to drop, the Pokémon TCG was changed forever as Wizards of the Coast, the company tasked with producing every Pokémon card through the Skyridge expansion, lost the license to produce and sell the cards. Beginning with the EX Ruby & Sapphire expansion, Nintendo (and later The Pokémon Company International) began producing cards for the Pokémon TCG.

Against this backdrop of change, Pokémon decided to change how cards were marketed and sold. Instead of buying single packs, theme decks, or booster boxes, there was a new choice: collectible tins. From that point forward, Pokémon had another TCG product they could use to entice people back into the game.

Tins were appealing to early collectors as they offered unique promo cards and a place to store cards outside of binders. In the early 2000s, options for card storage were much more limited or difficult to get. These vintage tins were the first in a long line of tins Pokémon continues to make today.

Hidden Fates Tin – Charizard GX (for serious collectors)

Hidden Fates Tin - Charizard GX (for serious collectors)


  • Still available online (either sealed or empty) and occasionally in big box stores or local card shops.
  • Popular Pokémon in the design. Who doesn’t like Charizard??


  • This specific tin can be pricey due to the popularity of the booster packs in the tin and the age of the set/tin.
  • Due to its high cost, the contents of the sealed tin (booster cards and cards within) probably are less than the cost of the tin itself.

Eevee Evolutions Tin – Vaporeon V (cheaper modern alternative)

Eevee Evolutions Tin - Vaporeon V (cheaper modern alternative)


  • Widely available online or in big box stores, this tin contains booster packs from modern sets.
  • Popular Pokémon in the design. Eeveelutions are always popular and collectible.


  • Contains booster packs from four different sets, only one of which is highly regarded.
  • Cheaper to buy the packs included separately, as three of the four sets aren’t popular.

Both of the tins listed above are available to purchase at or a bit above MSRP. In my opinion, collecting classic-style tins is the best option for displaying Pokémon tins. Though this style was largely replaced at the beginning of the Sword & Shield era, you can occasionally find classic style tins at big box stores or local card shops, though they are becoming rarer.

Beginning with the Diamond & Pearl expansion, Pokémon included powerful Lv. X card promos in tins. Torterra, Infernape, and Empoleon Lv. X cards could be seen from outside the tin, so you knew what card you were getting in addition to the four included booster packs.

Pokémon Lv. X cards are similar to the more modern Pokémon-EX, Pokémon GX, and Pokémon V. As the TCG shifted into the Black & White era, Pokémon-EX promo cards were included in tins. Later, Pokémon GX found its way into tins during the Sun & Moon era, and finally Pokémon V during the Sword & Shield era. 

Back in 2007, these tins were one of the few ways to get booster packs from big box stores. The popular Elite Trainer Boxes didn’t exist until well into the Black & White era, so tins were one of the best options for people looking for more than single packs. Since people don’t need that many of them, you can find countless listings on eBay and other third-party sites for these tins. 

V Hereos Tin – Sylveon V (or other V Heroes tins)

V Hereos Tin - Sylveon V (or other V Heroes tins)


  • Widely available online or in big box stores, this tin contains booster packs from modern sets.
  • Popular Pokémon in the design. Eeveelutions are always popular and collectible.


  • Of the five included booster packs, only three come from popular sets.
  • Cheaper to buy the packs included separately.
  • I don’t care for the new hexagon style.

All V Hereos tins (including Sylveon V) can still be found online at MSRP. But I suspect these modern tins will become harder to find in the future, as all eeveelutions are popular with collectors.

All standard collector’s tins during the Sword & Shield era contain Pokémon V. However, other tins contain fewer booster backs and/or a regular holofoil card instead of a Pokémon V promo card.

Modern tins lack the nostalgia of classic-style tins. I also think the hexagonal shape makes them harder to display and store.

However, modern tins are widely available at MSRP for those on a budget. This makes them the easiest tins to collect for sealed collections, displays, or card storage options. I have yet to purchase one as I haven’t found a modern tin that appeals to me. But I’m not opposed to getting one should the right design or promo card come along.

Celebrations Collector Chest

Celebrations Collector Chest


  • Available online or in big box stores; though the Celebrations Collector Tin is now out of print, other lunchbox-style tins are released multiple times yearly.
  • Contains booster backs from the popular Celebrations 25th-anniversary set and other goodies.
  • Can store many cards or other TCG items (dice, damage counters, rule books, etc.)


  • Getting more expensive as fewer are available.
  • Hard to find unless you are willing to buy from a third-party seller online.

Lunchbox tins look like old-school lunchboxes. They are roughly rectangular, with a latch near the handle. These usually come with five booster packs and a mini binder, stickers, a notebook, or other various goodies. They are a bit more expensive than standard collector’s tins and also lack the display window.

celebrations lunchbox

In the past, some came with promo cards, but not all of them included one. These boxes are great for storing things like bulk cards, dice, damage markers, or other TCG-related products.

Love Ball Tin (or other Poké Ball tins)

Love Ball Tin (or other Poké Ball tins)


  • Widely available online or in big box stores. Even if the Love Ball Tin goes out of print, Poké Ball-style tins are usually released multiple times yearly.
  • Fun to collect with other Poké Ball-style tins.


  • Though cheaper than other tins, they only contain three booster packs.
  • Can’t store any significant number of cards or other items inside.
  • Dent and ding easily.

Poké Ball-style tins are shaped and styled like various Poké Balls. Each comes with three booster packs and retails for less than standard collector’s tins. However, due to the shape of the balls and how they are manufactured to hold packs, there isn’t much room for card storage.

Instead, these Poké Balls make great display pieces. All sorts of different Poké Ball tins have been released over the past few years, but I chose a simple display of Poké Balls, great balls, and ultra balls for the top of one of my cabinets. Note that the Poké Balls in my display are hard plastic and not metal. The plastic Poké Balls were released in 2019 for various products. 

Pokeball display

There are lots of possibilities for displaying Poké Balls. You can keep it simple with just the three basic types, or collect ’em all and go for a display that includes rarer Poké Balls. Since these are cheaper than collector’s tins, as long as you can find somewhere to buy Poké Ball-style tins, your only limitation may be the room in your display.

Tracking Down Tins

As with every Pokémon TCG product, there are major sellers you can visit in person or virtually to buy Pokémon tins:

Places to buy Pokémon tins:

There are benefits to choosing any of the three options, but the main argument for any one of them comes down to availability. If you are looking for a particular tin (sealed or empty), online is probably the best bet. Searching for tins online will give you the most options, and usually, big box stores and local card shops also list tins for sale online.

The one downside to buying online is that you cannot inspect the tin in person before you buy it. Occasionally, tins get damaged during shipping. Even though they are metal, it is a soft metal that can dent and ding easier than one would like. Since the online marketplace can be competitive, collector’s tins sometimes go on sale for below MSRP. But always look at the shipping cost, which can be expensive for bulkier items like tins.

Buying tins at local card shops is a good option for viewing tins in person. Local shops may also have a variety of empty tins on hand if that is what you are looking for. The one downside to local shops is that they are not required to follow MSRP, so prices on popular, rare, or out-of-print tins can be higher than you’d expect.

Buying tins from big box stores is probably the easiest way to approach tin collecting. You can find any available tin at MSRP, inspect it for damage, buy it, and display it at home in a short amount of time. The downside to buying from large chain stores is that tins are constantly cycled through as new ones are released. So if you see one that catches your eye, you better buy it before it is gone forever.

Displaying Tins (and Not-a-tin Tins)

How to display tins is up to you. Unlike the cardboard collection boxes, Pokémon produces, tins hold up after being opened, and the metal artwork can shine for years. Tins look nice stacked along the long edge so you can see the artwork.

If you have sealed displays, I recommend displaying the front facing out so you can see the window with the promo card. Displaying them in a prominent spot on a wall shelf or cabinet looks nice, but if your tins are for storage purposes, stacking them and putting them into a storage cube or lower shelf might be a better option.

I’ve never seen a display of multiple lunchbox-style tins before, but having one among a sealed collection of other products would look nice. As I mentioned earlier, there are many options for displaying Poké Balls—sealed collections, displays with figurines or plushies, or Poké Ball-only displays are just a few options. Practice your decorating skills and rearrange as you see fit!


Question: What is the best collectible tin?

Answer: Whatever tin has the promo card, packs, and artwork you enjoy the most! All collector’s tins come with the same basic contents: one promo card and four booster packs. Other metal tin options include lunchbox-style tins and Poké Ball-style tins.

Question: Where can I buy collectible Pokémon tins?

Answer: In most cases, anywhere you buy Pokémon cards. Popular shopping options include online, local card stores, or big box stores. Prices can vary, so be sure to shop around. 

Question: What can I do with collectible Pokémon tins?

Answer: Once you open the tin (if you want to), you have two main options. You can either display the empty tin to showcase the artwork, or you can use the empty tin to store things like bulk cards, dice, damage markers, or other TCG-related products.

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