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How To Tell If Your Pokemon Card Is Rare

Look For The Collector Number

How to Tell if your Pokémon Cards are Rare or Expensive!

When you look at the collector number, you will see the card number first, followed by the number of that card that was printed. For instance, you might see 50/55. Special cards are said to have a number higher than the number printed. You might see 56/55. This is a sure sign of a rate card, and it could be worth a few hundred dollars.

When you look at the collector number, check to see if it starts with SH. This is a Shining Pokemon, which is different from the normal version and more rare. You can also find holographic cards. These are more rare.

If you cant find a collector number, then the card is one of the earlier ones. Being old does not necessarily make it more rare, but it is worth finding out. You can check online or go to a pokemon collector to find out what it might be worth.

If you collect pokemon cards, you might want to know when one is rare. You may want to sell it or keep it safe. There are ways to look at your pokemon cards and find out. The key is to gather the information and then look them up to see what they are worth.


If your card has a rare symbol, then you know you have a rare card. If it has special characters after the name, this is another sure sign of rarity. Look for other features that distinguish the card from the others. If you are considering selling some of your cards, you will need to ask an expert or check by looking it up online.

Pokmon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind

An ultra-rare promo card – one of only a dozen ever made

Sold for $65,100 in October 2020

Only 12 Tropical Wind cards were produced as promo cards for the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle, a precursor to the Pokémon World Championships, making it one of the most valuable Pokémon sets around.

The Tropical Mega Battle saw 50 players from around the globe take part in a tournament for the trading card game in Honolulu, Hawaii. The only way to participate was to win a battle in your local region and earn an invite, making it an exclusive event for the best Pokémon trainers in the world – and the cards offered as prizes some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.


This particular Tropical Mega Battle promo card, the 1999 Japanese-language copy of Tropical Wind, has sold at auction for as much as $65,100 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, with the most recent record-breaking sale taking place in October 2020. PSA estimates its value to be as high as $148,482, making the ultra-rare card a contender for one of the most expensive Pokémon cards ever made.

Check The Cards Details

Name of the Pokémon

It may seem too obvious to mention, but, with all the identifying minutiae involved in counterfeit trading cards, its all too easy to overlook perhaps the biggest possible mistake: the actual card name.

Sometimes its simply a spelling error, sometimes the entire name may be totally incorrect. With nearly 900 types of Pokémon on the loose now its harder than ever for the casual punter to tell whats a real Pokémon and whats not and that makes fakers jobs easier.

So, just you make extra sure your Blacephalon is titled Blacephalon, not Barcelonion, eh?

HP and Damage values

Likewise, fake cards may have obviously, absurdly incorrect numbers for the Pokémons HP or attack damage . In that case, its a dead giveaway you have a fake in your hands.


Even if the numbers arent self-evidently out of this world, you can still check the Pokémon TCG database to find the correct stat range for the card, and make sure yours matches up. If that fails, in a pinch, a google search will often turn up an authoritative picture of the authentic card to compare against just make sure youre confident in the photos source.

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Ultra Rare Pokemon Cards

Throughout the evolution of the Pokemon TCG there’s been a number of cards that have been introduced with additional effects to them. All Ultra Rare cards will have a Holographic shine to them but will also have text after the Pokemon’s name to denote it as one of these special types of cards. These cards might also feature special art covering half or even the full card. Pokemon cards will cycle out each of these types of Ultra Rare cards so while I will be listing all of the different Ultra Rare cards most types are no longer in current circulation so it will be impossible to come across one via booster packs. The types of Ultra Rare Pokemon Card Rarity are:

  • Pokemon ex
  • Pokemon Prism Star
  • Pokemon V

How Much Are Old Japanese Pokemon Cards Worth

How to Tell if a Pokemon Card Is Rare and How to Sell It

The Japanese Base Set was released in 1996, a solid three years before the English version.

Commended in the Pokemon community for their quality, old Japanese Pokemon cards are sought after items for any collector.


However, their value is affected by a couple of factors.

Unlike the English version where booster boxes contained 36 packs and roughly 12 holographic cards. Japanese Base set booster boxes contained 60 packs and the pull rates on holos are known to be as high as 50%.

As youd expect, this drives the value down compared to their English counterparts.

However, there is also a well-known printing error with Japanese base set, where they missed off the rarity symbol from the bottom right corner of the cards.

If youre lucky enough to own these cards, then they are extremely valuable and command a premium.


Pokemon then decided to print future vintage Japanese sets like Jungle, Fossil and Team Rocket with a holographic card in every pack.

Although these were fun to open, it also took away some of the excitement, rarity and value.

The main thing that combats this though, as mentioned above is the quality of the cards.

Card centering, print lines, and edge-wear is less common, therefore its easier to obtain a high score when getting Japanese cards graded. The higher the grade, the higher its value of course.

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Find The Set The Card Belongs To

If there is no logo on the right side, its Base. Every other set has an indicator.

When looking into what set a card belongs to, make sure to see if there is any logo on the right side, just underneath and to the right of the illustration. If there is no symbol, the likelihood is that its a Base set card.

There have been error cards that do not have a symbol, so make sure the year matches with the set.

The Best Place To Sell Your Pokemon Cards Online: Ebay

The main marketplace is for sure going to be eBay, Pratte says. Even if youre someone who just stumbled upon your childhood collection, its really easy to take a couple of pictures make a decent listing.

Why eBay? Its home to several high-profile deals, and it also caters to the $20 and $30 transactions. In short, eBay is the perfect meeting ground for nostalgic buyers and sellers and those whove been wheeling and dealing Pokemon cards since the 90s.


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Secret Rare Pokemon Cards

Secret Rare Pokemon Cards are the most difficult to obtain, and the type of card you’re least likely to encounter. Secret Rare Pokemon Cards will also have the same kinds of distinguishing factors as Ultra Rare so its possible to mix them up, in order to verify if your Ultra Rare is a Secret Rare you’ll need to take a look at the cards set number. Just to the left of the Rarity Symbol we were looking at before you’ll see two numbers next to each other in the following format XXX/YYY. This will tell you what number the card you’re looking at is in the set.

For example, in the Forbidden Light set you could pull a Gogoat and it would display 10/131 in the lower right. This tells you it’s card number 10 our of 131 in the set. That second number doesn’t ever include the Secret Rare cards though. While the Gogoat is telling the player there’s 131 possible cards in the Forbidden Light set there’s actually 146 cards in the set. From that same set you can pull the Rainbow Rare Dialga-GX card which will give you the number 138/131.

As soon as you see that the number to the left is above the number to the right that’s your indication that the card in your hands is a Secret Rare.

How Much Are Misprint Error Pokemon Cards Worth

How to Tell the Rarity of a Pokémon Card – Fastest Method

When it comes to valuing Pokemon cards, rarity plays a big role.


If youre lucky enough to own a misprint card, most of the time, it will be worth more than the correctly printed card.

Collectors flock to own low population cards, and if there is a genuine print error, this can mean there are very few in existence, therefore inflating the value.

Misprint cards come in many forms. For example:

  • Symbols missing or the wrong way
  • Incorrect spellings

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The Pokemon On The Card

The final factor that drives price comes down to Pokemon popularity. Its no secret that Charizard is king! But other well-liked Pokemon such as Pikachu, Blastoise and Venusaur also command a premium.


As you can imagine, there are cases where a brand new Charizard from a modern set can be worth more than a 20+ year old 1st Edition Base Set PSA 10 card.

These four factors drive Pokemon card values in different ways, but if they all come together beautifully, its the perfect recipe for an extremely valuable Pokemon card.

Examples Of Valuable Pokemon Cards

The table below includes the values of some of the rarest Pokemon cards in the world, i.e. ones that were acquired as prizes for winning competitions in the late 90s and early 2000s.

These types of cards were never available to the general public, and they make headlines every so often by selling for six figures at auction. The table also includes some cards that were available publicly as part of the original base set prints. According to Pratte, these are the most commonly sold cards among hobbyists. And if you do have a rare card in your collection, its likely to be of this type. Note how the condition drastically changes the value.

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First Edition Cards Are King

Pokémon cards that were released before Nintendo began distributing the trading card game were printed in two sets: first edition and unlimited. You can tell that a card is first edition because of the Edition 1 badge located at the bottom-left of the card illustration.

It is these cards that carry great value, while their non-first edition cards are much less valuable. For instance, an unlimited holographic Charizard from the Base Set perhaps the single most famous Pokémon card in existence sells for about $88 on average. However, a quick look at eBay reveals that first edition Charizards can easily sell for thousands of dollars.

First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard #4

How to tell if a Pokemon card is rare

A very valuable version of a classic fan-favourite

Sold for $369,000 in December 2020

Shiny Charizard has been one of the Pokémon card games most popular cards since it first released in 1999, so theres no surprise that 20-plus years later, it remains one of the most sought-after cards for collectors and fans alike.

While a number of first-edition cards from the Pokémon TCGs early days are worth some money – assuming theyre still in good nick – due to their limited availability and age, this specific version of the holographic Charizard absolutely stands out as one of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards ever released.

A PSA 10 Base Set 1st Edition Charizard just sold at auction with an ending bid of $183,812.00 via . Including the 20% buyer’s premium, the total transaction value exceeds $220k. As of now, this is the highest known sale of the card.

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Wait Arent There Misprints In Pokmon

Yes, misprints – also known as error cards – do happen, but they are generally documented. In these cases, collectors look for a specific misprint of a card. If you think you have a misprint, look it up online and see if anyone else has noticed the same mistake. If you do have a misprint, you could have an even more valuable Pokémon card than you initially thought!

Verify The Pokemon Cards Information

This is the first thing you need to do when authenticating a Pokemon card. By the information, we mean all the cards details.

The information that you should know about the Pokemon card includes:

  • How much HP does this Pokemon have?
  • Whats the correct spelling for the name?
  • What is the rarity of this Pokemon card?
  • What set does this Pokemon card belong to?

When there were only 102 Pokemon cards to collect, you could just memorize everything. Thats what hardcore collectors did to spot fake Pokemon cards. They just knew every card out there.

As were more than 20 years into Pokemon cards now, knowing them all-let alone memorizing them- is much harder than it used to be. This is what Google searches are for!

So, all you have to do is Google the Pokemon card that youre trying to authenticate youll get all the information of the genuine card. Another way to do it is to use the Pokemon Card Database.

You can favorite this page and access it from your phone whenever you need to. Its like a Pokedex for Pokemon card collectors.

If the cards information doesnt check out, you dont have to proceed to step two. The card youre examining is fake.

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Common Uncommon And Rare

First, we need to show you how to find out a cards rarity just by looking at it. This is represented by a symbol located in the bottom right corner of every card. There should be a shape that indicates what rarity the card is.

Common cards are marked with a black circle, uncommon cards have a black diamond, and rare cards always have a black star. This is the basic way to tell the rarity of a card.

Rare cards, for instance, are split into multiple different kinds of rarities. There are the standard rare plain-looking cards, but theres so much more after that.

How To Excavate Fossils

Pokemon TCG: How to tell the rarity of your Pokemon cards!

Fossils are among the different treasures you can find while mining walls in the Grand Underground, so your best chance to get them is to be persistent and mine often. Press the R button while exploring the Grand Underground to use the radar. Once you’ve spotted a glowing wall, interact with it to begin the mining minigame.

You’ll need to play a mining minigame to excavate fossils and other treasures.

The minigame itself is a little reminiscent of Minesweeper. Tapping on different parts of the wall with your hammer or pickax will clear that section out and potentially reveal a treasure underneath. However, each tap will decrease the wall’s structural integrity, so you’ll need to carefully consider which parts of the wall to tap. If you find a treasure, you must reveal it completely before the wall collapses to collect it.

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Pokemon Brilliant Diamond And Shining Pearl: How To Get Fossils

Some Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl need to be revived from fossils found in the Grand Underground.

Cranidos is one of the fossil Pokemon you can get in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

While most wild Pokemon in Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl can be found in tall grass and caves, there are a couple of prehistoric monsters that can only be obtained a special way: reviving them from fossils. These, however, only appear in the Grand Underground, and they can be a bit tricky to get your hands on, so here’s a rundown on how to get fossils and revive them.

St Edition And Unlimited Edition:

The first print run of a set would have a special Edition 1 logo on the left side of the card, just below the card art. An enlarged example of this logo is shown here. The 1st edition print run would typically be very limited, and once sold out, would no longer be available for sale. In fact, the first print runs of a set were officially called Limited Edition.

To meet super-high demand from the public, an Unlimited edition version would then be printed. Unlimited edition cards dont have the Edition 1 logo on the left side. Typically, a 1st edition card will be worth more than an unlimited edition card. Often this price difference can be quite significant.

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Its Not Obvious If My Card Is A Fake

This might sound obvious, but an easy step you can take to verify the card is real is by checking that the card was an actual Pokémon card that was in print at some point. Yes, people do just make up fake cards with unofficial art and sell them online.

You can verify a card with a quick search. The official Pokémon Trading Card Game website has a card database, as does fan site Bulbapedia. Note: the official website doesnt include some special runs of cards, so be sure to look for your card on multiple card directories.

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