How To Find The Value Of Your Cards
Taking your old cards out of the closet and researching to find their current value is the most common way people are getting back into Pokémon. When trying to figure out a cards value, make sure to follow these steps:
Step 1. Find the year of the card. Check the bottom year of the card.
Step 2. Find the set the card belongs to. If there is no logo on the right side, its Base. Every other set has an indicator.
Step 3. Identify the card with the name and number in the set.
The Pokmon Collecting Craze
Media Factory introduced Pokémon cards to the Japanese Market in 1996. It took three more years until their release in North America. From 1999 to 2003, Wizards of the Coast owned the license for the game. In mid-2003, they handed over the license to Pokémon Company International.
Pokémon cards boasted widespread popularity ever since their initial release. But in mid-2020, at the pandemics height, fans of the franchise used their free time to reengage with their childhood hobby. A massive surge in popularity followed, boosting the value of increasingly rare cards.
Because Wizards of the Coast only produced the cards between 1999 to 2003, these sets are limited. The most valuable of these early cards come from the 1st Edition Base Set, followed by Shadowless and Unlimited sets.
A few factors impact the actual amount of money you can make selling your old Pokémon cards. The most valuable cards are, of course, in pristine condition and come from an exclusive set. It helps if they have received an excellent grade from a professional third-party grading service. On top of that, you must have the business and marketing skills to connect with the right buyers, avoid scammers, and present your products professionally.
Well cover everything you need to know to turn Pokémon card flipping into a side hustle a little later on. First, lets fantasize about your earning potential by gaping at the top five most expensive Pokémon cards to date.
Tamamushi University Magikarp: $66100
Produced as a promotion for magazine publisher Shogakukan’s Celadon University campaign, this Magikarp card was awarded to those who successfully became “Pokemon Professors”. By mailing in the Entrance Test, Professor Test, Super Professor Test, and Hyper Professor Test , 1000 Magikarps were up for grabs.
Though so many were printed, only 91 have been identified by the PSA so far. PSA 10-graded cards fetch a much higher price than any other condition, getting $66,100 at auction.
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How To Tell If Pokmon Cards Are Worth Money
Identifying if your Pokemon cards are worth money is quite important. It will help you determine the value when trading or selling to others to get the most out of it.
The more rare the card is, the higher value it holds. In general, if the year in which the Pokémon cards was made is between 1999 and 2000, as indicated at the bottom of the card, then chances are the card has significantly increased value.
To find out if the Pokemon cards are worth money or not is by simply looking at the bottom right corner of the card, the rarity symbol is next to the card number.
A black circle represents the card is common, while a diamond shape means the card is uncommon, and a black star symbol indicates that the card is rare.
As time passes by, the first edition of Pokemon cards are still extremely valuable in the present day. These cards will be marked with the same stamp that you will see near the bottom left corner of the card.
If there is no stamp there, double check the copyright dates because it may be rarer than you think.
Tamamushi University Magikarp Trophy Promo
- Release Date: 1998
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $66,100
In 1998, Shogakukans Magazines in Japan offered a contest for school students. Fans that took the various tests offered in the publication could send them back to the company to have them graded.
Those studious enough to pass with high scores were then invited to a special conference held in Osaka of that year. Once there, the children got to participate in a unique Pokemon card battle tournament. Winners of the rare contest ultimately received the Magikarp Trophy Pokemon card Promo.
Due to the insane obscurity of how the TCG item was given out, its easily one of the rarest Pokemon cards on our list. It was not very surprising then when the Trophy collectible went up for auction in February 2021 and sold for $66k at PWCC.
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Japanese Super Secret Battle Number One Trainer
Sold in July, 2020 for $90,000
With just seven examples of this card graded by PSA, the 1999 Pokemon Super Secret Battle “No. 1 Trainer” promo card is one of the rarest Pokemon cards in existence.
Held between July and August 1999, the regional Super Secret Battle events gave school kids ranging from third graders to eleventh graders the opportunity to compete for a chance to be crowned champion.
Upon winning, the champion of each regional tournament would receive this item card as a prize.
Designed by Hideki Kazam, the card features a holographic image of Mewtwo on the left and a Pokeball on the right that make it instantly recognizable.
Across the bottom, the card reads The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournaments champion is recognized here, and this honor is praised. This proves that the person who possesses this card participated in the Secret Super Battle Best in Japan Deciding Match.
Are First Edition Pokmon Cards Worth Anything
In the present day, the first edition card is still extremely valuable and was the tenth card in the set. There are currently 80 PSA 10 graded copies of the Mewtwo card, and theyll easily sell within the five-figure range. The most powerful of the original Pokémon, only the cards saw above tend to be as valuable.
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Whether The Pokemon Card Has Been Professionally Graded
You dont need to have your Pokemon cards professionally graded in order to sell them. Often, its not worth the cost of getting them graded, unless you have an extremely rare card in perfect condition.
However, if a card is graded by a company called PSA and gets a good score, it may be worth a lot more than if the card wasnt graded.
The amount a PSA grade will improve the value of the card depends mostly on the score. If PSA gave the card a 9 or a 10, then this can increase the value by 3-4x or even more, depending on the rarity of the card.
On the other hand, if they only gave the card a 6, 7, or 8, then it might be worth only a bit more than an ungraded card.
If a card is PSA graded, it will be encased in plastic with a red PSA sticker at the top specifying the grade.
Pokemon First Edition Hitmonchan
Sold in November, 2020 for $23,100
Packing tremendous punching power, the fighting-type Hitmonchan is another collector favorite who can strike with extreme quickness and precision.
Ken Sugimori delivered an excellent design for this card as Hitmonchan’s boxing gloves, shoulder pads, and five protrusions on the top of its head create an aura of a Pokemon that you don’t want to face.
Hitmonchan cards were some of the most commonly used cards in competitive play, making them tough to find in top condition.
What Condition Is Your Pokemon Cards
At first, take a look at the condition of the card youre considering selling.
Even when it comes to the rarest of Pokémons cards, the condition is everything.
Collectors are much less willing to spend money on a card that has creases, stains, or even rips. While a card in Gem Mint is always the sought-after ideal, lightly played cards still have value and can be sold for a respectable amount of money.
This means that if you were a tidy child that took diligent care of their collection, you may be in luck!
If your cards do show traces of gameplay and handling, you may not have to despair immediately.
Generally speaking, the rarer the card your selling, the more obliging potential buyers will be with regards to its condition, but dont expect life-changing offers of cash for cards in poor condition.
Identify Type And Assess Rarity
The first step to identify Pokemon card value is to check its type and rarity. In other words, how likely the card is to come across from any given booster pack or special event, and if it has any special characteristics, such as card material or Pokemon types.
There are a few indicators of rarity on any given card, though theyre quite subject to change depending on when said card was printed. A marker near the bottom of the card or near its name will indicate rarity: a circle means the card is common, a diamond means its less common, and stars mean its rare. More stars or with combinations of letters or symbols mean extra rare, including if those symbols are in the name or elsewhere on the card. Other characteristics that can up the rarity include: a higher printed number than there should be in a given printed set holographic artwork or reverse holographic, in which everything but the artwork is holographic artwork that takes up the full card artwork wherein the creature doesnt cast a shadow and any shining characteristics, not to be confused with holographic.
While rarity isnt the only factor in appraising value, its certainly a major factor: Some of the highest-selling cards worth tens of thousands of dollars, or considered priceless from lack of supply, are only so because of small rarities like misprints or typos.
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Kangaskhan Family Event Trophy
- Release Date: 1998
- Grading: PSA Gem Mint 10
- Pokemon card value at auction: $150,000
Were now in the top five, and the prices of these most expensive Pokemon cards continue to skyrocket. This 1998 Trophy Pokemon card could only be obtained by participating in a special tournament in Japan. The adorable item features artwork depicting Kangaskhan with its baby in its pouch, surrounded by holo sparkles.
Fittingly, the contest required both a child and their parent to participate alongside each other in TCG battles. According to reports, there are only 11 of these currently in existence that has been graded, making it one of the rarest Trophy Pokemon cards to exist.
In October 2020, two PSA 10s of the collectible went for $150k. With its scarcity, we expect this Pokemon cards value will only continue to go up over the next couple of years.
Gold Star Pop Series 5 Umbreon: $27000
The Japanese version of the Shining Umbreon Pokemon card is pretty highly desired, with its unique coloring and gorgeous frame-piercing artwork making it fittingly beautiful as one of the first shiny Pokemon to appear on a card.
However, its price is so high because of much more than just its looks and popularity. The Shining Umbreon card only saw a very limited release through the Japanese Pokemon Players’ Club for hitting the maximum number of experience points through attending organised play events between 2005 and 2006, making it one of the rarest cards out there. In 2020, PWCC Auctions sold a PSA-10 copy of it for $20,000, showing just how in-demand it is. Notably, this card was reprinted for the first time ever in 2021, as part of the 25th Anniversary Celebrations set. Though that version is worth way, way less, it’s still the third most valuable card in the expansion.
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Ex Deoxys Gold Star Rayquaza Holographic
While first-generation Pokémon typically get all the hype, this Rayquaza card is basically just as rare as the most coveted first edition cards, with only 47 PSA 10-graded copies recorded in circulation. The mascot for 2004s Pokémon Emerald, mint condition copies of this powerful card have been sold for up to $44,400 .
As cute as he is expensive.
Signed Tsunekazu Ishihara Gx Promo Card
This appropriately overpowered card was created to celebrate Pokémon creator Tsunekazu Ishiharas 60th birthday back in 2017. The cards were given out to Pokémon employees by Ishihara himself, and there are estimated to be only 30-60 in existence.
Because Pokémon employees are forbidden from selling this card, serious collectors are frothing to get their hands on one. In fact, one of these cards signed by Ishihara sold at auction for an astounding $247,230 in 2021 despite only being in near-mint condition .
Cue angelic choir in 321
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Pokemon Japanese Base Set Holo No Rarity Symbol Holo Charizard
Sold in November, 2020 for $57,877
The 1996 Japanese “No Rarity” Charizard card is a true piece of hobby history as it marked one of the first appearances of the iconic character.
Most Japanese base set cards will contain a “rarity symbol” in the lower-right corner of the card that varies based on the card type.
Holographic cards in the set feature a star symbol, so if you find one without the rarity symbol, then you know you’re looking at the more rare, first-print “no rarity” Charizards.
The “no rarity” Charizards are much more difficult to find as PSA has graded 3,634 regular base set Charizards compared with only 273 “no rarity” Charizards.
Furthermore, roughly 14% of the regular base Charizards have achieved a PSA 10 grade compared to less than 2% of the “no rarity” Charizards.
What Makes A Pokmon Card Valuable
Pokémon cards are a lot more complex than they appear. Plenty of small details that might seem insignificant could be the difference between a card being worth a few bucks or the down payment on a new house.
While there are a lot of factors that go into how collectors value a Pokémon card, you dont need to be as clever as Professor Oak to understand them.
Heres a basic breakdown for newbies.
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Pokemon Ex Team Rocket Returns Torchic Gold Star
Sold in December, 2020 for $25,400
Released in 2004, the EX Team Rocket Returns set marked the seventh expansion from the EX Series and featured 111 cards in its checklist.
Three of the cards, #107 , #108 , and #109 , are special holographic shiny rare cards noted by the gold star next to their name.
First introduced in the third generation of Pokemon games, Torchic is one of the three starter Pokemon that originate in the Hoenn region.
This orange and yellow chick may look cute and cuddly, but make no mistake, this fire-type Pokemon can shoot fireballs at its enemies that will instantly leave them burnt to a crisp.
How Much Are The Original Pokemon Cards Worth
When we discuss the original, first generation of Pokemon cards, for the sake of this article were going to specifically be talking about cards from 1999-2000.
These sets include:
These are the sets that many collectors grew up with.
It was their first introduction to Pokemon cards, and therefore they hold great nostalgic value.
Because of this, these are often the cards that people getting back into the hobby want to start collecting first. As you can imagine, this drives prices up.
The most popular entry point for new collectors is the original Base Set.
These were the cards flooding school playgrounds in 99, and these are the ones people want to own again.
Dont get me wrong, if you can get 1st Edition or Shadowless variants of these cards, theyre worth A LOT more!
But with 1st Edition Base Set booster boxes selling for north of £250k, they are quite unobtainable for most people at this point.
However! This further enhances the demand/value of the original Base set cards, as people snap them up, fearing the price will also continue to rise.
Its almost a vicious, yet brilliant cycle all at the same time
As an investment piece, old Pokemon cards show great growth potential for the future. But for the keen newbie simply trying to rebuild their old sets, its going to requite a fair amount of capital to get going.
Like with any pokemon card valuations, specific prices are entirely dependent on the four key factors we mentioned earlier .
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Pokmon Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9
A legendary Pokémon on a legendarily rare Pokémon card
Sold for $144,300 in May 2021
Lugia is one of the most iconic and popular Pokémon in the entire series, having starred on the front of early Game Boy game Pokémon Silver and its Nintendo DS remake SoulSilver. A legendary bird Pokémon from Gen II, Lugia is one of the most powerful and hard-to-find Pokémon that players can catch in the video games – so its only fitting that its Pokémon card is also extremely rare.
The Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 Pokémon card is described by auction house PWCC as one of the most difficult Pokémon cards to grade, as the result of a number of errors and misprints that were included in the early runs of the Neo Genesis set for the Pokémon TCG. Later print runs were corrected, but many of the cards from the expansion remain more common in their earlier uncorrected forms.
As of May 2021, PWCC claims that only 41 Gem Mint 10 condition Neo Genesis 1st Edition Holo Lugia #9 cards have ever been graded by PSA, with just three earning the maximum BGS 10 Pristine rating from grading company Beckett Grading Services. The Lugias rarity means that it ranks almost as highly as the legendary first-edition Charizard when it comes to the most valuable Pokémon cards.