Snagging a rare sticker in Counter-Strike is like finding gold dust, but what is it about them that makes them as expensive (if not more) than some of the most sought after skins in the game? In partnership with CS.MONEY, we take a look at the most expensive stickers of all-time.
Alongside some rather pricey weapon cosmetics, there is another corner to Counter-Strike’s broad virtual trading market that garners attention from the most dedicated collectors in the game.
Stickers. Yes, virtual stickers in CS:GO (often used to commemorate certain events or players) occupy a special slice of the market. The cost of a sticker is defined by a number of factors, which we’ll break down before delving into the most expensive ones.
What makes a sticker so special?
Unlike skins, sticker quality is not affected by its wear or ‘float value.’ While all stickers are brand new when you open them, they can be scraped to give the effect of wear and tear if applied to a weapon.
Moreover, certain stickers can increase the price of certain weapon skins greatly. One of the most sought after weapon skin and sticker combinations is the AK-47 Redline with four iBUYPOWER Katowice 2014 Holo stickers. More on that later!
But for now, it's worth noting that the cost of a sticker is therefore defined by other factors, such as rarity and which variant of sticker you have.
There are five rarities of sticker in CS:GO, ranging from High Grade up to Contraband. While they operate as a general guideline, there are exceptions to the rule, as you’ll find out further on. The follow rarities are available:
- Blue (High Grade)
- Purple (Remarkable/Holo)
- Pink (Exotic/Foil)
- Gold (Souvenir Foil)
- Gold (Contraband)
As we explained in our skin guide, there is only one sticker that occupies the ‘Contraband’ status… The Howling Dawn. Valve reworked an originally plagiarized design of a skin and bumped up its rarity to a brand-new classification, which they aptly named Contradband.
Since it occupies this space to itself, the Howling Dawn sticker is one of the top contenders for most expensive skin in Counter-Strike history — especially considering Valve stopped producing any more stock of the sticker following the ordeal.
There are small variants within sticker rarities. For example, some Remarkable stickers will come in a standard glossed form, while others will come in Holo or Foil style — these are typically the most sought after variant.
With most High Grade stickers, there are two variants: one with no backing and one with a paper backing. Scraping both of these variants will elicit different effects on the weapon, which is worth considering when placing them on your weapon of choice.
Ever since the EMS One: Katowice (2014) Major, fans have been able to show their support for their favorite player/team via purchasing sticker capsules (introduced as part of the ‘Arms Deal’ update. Each capsule typically represents a group of teams known as Challengers or a group of teams known Legends, a system that is based on the team’s previous Major success.
It’s worth noting that as a general rule of thumb, stickers from older events have an increased price point than more recent events. And being the first-ever event to distribute these capsules, Katowice (2014) boasts the most expensive capsules available. A Legend capsule will set you back a whopping $1,400 (USD) and a Challenger capsule will cost a jaw-dropping $2,100, per CS.MONEY.
So why are EMS One: Katowice (2014) sticker capsules so expensive in comparison to other events? Well this is mostly thanks to former North American outfit, iBUYPOWER, whose infamous match-fixing scandal versus NetCodeGuides saw four of the five-man roster receive a permanent ban from playing in Valve sponsored Counter-Strike tournaments.
Quite the story, eh? As a result iBUYPOWER Holos have soared in price and this has had a cascading effect on the results of the capsule stickers — with regular High Grade stickers even cost a pretty penny.
Top 20 most expensive CSGO stickers
So now you’re up-to-speed, let’s delve into the 20 most expensive stickers of all-time, thanks to analytics from CS.MONEY. First, the top 20-11.
|Position||Sticker (Variant)||Capsule||Price (USD)|
|20||kennyS (Gold)||Krakow (2017) Challengers Autograph||$685.75|
|19||3DMAX (Holo)||EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers||$693.14|
|17||compLexity (Holo)||EMS Katowice (2014) Legends||$896..75|
|16||iBUYPOWER||EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers||$1,107.75|
|15||Titan||EMS Katowice (2014) Legends||$1,234.35|
|14||mousesports (Holo)||EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers||$1,339.85|
|13||Reason Gaming (Holo)||EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers||$1,363.15|
|12||Ninja in Pyjamas (Holo)||EMS Katowice (2014) Legends||$1,562.15|
|11||Virtus.Pro (Holo)||EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers||$2,268.25|
We've delved into the specifics of the Howling Dawn sticker, so its no surprise to see it among our top 20. But why is Kenny 'kennyS' Schrub's sticker creeping into the most expensive stickers of all-time?
The star-studded French lineup crashed out of the Krakow (2017) Major in 9th-11th place, so performance is nothing do with it. So what is it that makes the French star's autograph so expensive?
Well, alongside being the first Major event to introduce Gold Foils for player autographs, kennyS is considered one of the best AWPers in the modern era of Counter-Strike — making his golden autograph the most sought after player sticker in CS:GO.
Related: Return Of The King: How kennyS rediscovered his CS:GO mojo
10. HellRaisers (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $2,505.63
Coming from the EMS Katowice (2014) Legends capsule, the HellRaisers Holo creeps into the top 10. Complete with flame decals inside the HR of the logo, this Holo provides a good contrast on most weapon skins in the game.
9. LGB Esports (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $2,690.25
Another Holo from the EMS Katowice (2014) Legends capsule, LGB Esports were formed of the core members that would go on to form the Fnatic dynasty. After breezing past their Group Stage matches, they were eliminated to the eventual event winners, Virtus.Pro.
8. Natus Vincere (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $2,816.85
Fresh out of the more expensive EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers capsule, the Natus Vincere roster crashed out in dead last at this Major. Although one silver lining, one of Counter-Strike's most legendary AWPers of all-time, Ladislav 'GuardiaN' Kovács, made his Major debut here.
7. Clan-Mystik (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $2,848.50
Coming in marginally more expensive than the NaVi Holo, the Clan Mystik Holo can be found in the EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers capsule. The French squad were formed of a few recognizable faces, including a certain kennyS.
6. Team Dignitas (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $3,903.50
Found in the EMS Katowice (2014) Legends capsule, the all-Danish roster of Team Dignitas replaced Nicolaj 'Nico' Jensen for René 'cajunb' Borg in time for EMS One and comprised a core who would go on to form the legendary Astralis squad.
5. Team LDLC (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $5,802.50
Team LDLC have a controversial storyline, which could be why their team's Kato 2014 sticker ranks so high. One of the members, Hovik 'KQLY' Tovmassian, was caught cheating and received an indefinite Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) ban after the Major. The team's sticker can be found in the EMS Katowice (2014) Legends capsule.
4. Vox Eminor (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $5,830.50
Pulled from a EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers capsule, the Australian VOX Eminor roster were led by none other than legendary player-turned-caster, Chad 'SPUNJ' Burchill. While the team crashed out in dead last, their sticker remains one of the most sought after in the game.
3. Reason Gaming (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $6,857.50
Another one pulled from the EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers capsule, the Reason Gaming Holo is one that plenty seek to add to their collection. With the orange gradient and joystick outline in the middle of the logo, plenty crave to add this Holo to their collection.
2. Titan (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $10,022.50
The final sticker to come from the EMS Katowice (2014) Legends capsule, the Titan squad at EMS One consisted of Belgian Counter-Strike hotshot, Adil 'ScreaM' Benrlitom. While the team flopped out in 9th-12th place, the sticker gained traction after KQLY was banned while being on the roster following the event (after leaving from Team LDLC).
The star-studded lineup would be subsequently forbidden from attending the next Major (DreamHack Winer 2014), following KQLY's VAC ban.
1. iBUYPOWER (Holo) | Katowice (2014) – $12,660.00
Taking the number one spot is, of course, the iBUYPOWER Holo. Given that most of the more expensive stickers have some kind of narrative associated to them, its no surprise that this one takes top honors.
Exclusively pulled from the more expensive EMS Katowice (2014) Challengers capsule, this sticker is mainly responsible for such a surge in price of all the aforementioned Katowice (2014 stickers). If you're looking to snag one, the capsule will set you back a good chunk of change. Or you could look to buy one outright, that's if you're lucky enough to spot one on the market...
So that's it, that rounds up the most expensive stickers in CS:GO history. While Katowice (2014) stickers dominate the rankings, a couple of rogue stickers managed to creep their way into the top 20.