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14 Things to Check to Value Your Pokemon Cards


Logan Paul just bought a PSA 10 first edition Charizard from the world’s biggest Charizard Card collector for $150,000 (source) and now a lot of people are wondering how much their cards are worth. If you’re wondering how much your Pokemon cards are worth you’re in the right place.

How to value Pokemon cards? Pokemon card price values range from $0.05 to over $200,000 and the final price depends on factors such as rarity, condition, shape centring, proxies, type, set, year, print, edition, errors, language, and grading. In the end, a card is worth how much someone is willing to pay for it.

In this article we’re going to cover 14 things that you need to look at if you want to estimate the value of your Pokemon cards, and at the end of this article you will find out how to know exactly how much your cards are selling for today.

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1. Type

There are three types of Pokemon cards. In general within every set you have:

  • Character Cards: Feature Pokémon
  • Trainer Cards
  • Energy Cards

As we all know, energy cards are extremely common and they’re not worth much money. Nobody really wants energy cards because they are so common. Trainer cards are generally worth a little bit more however they are still not as valuable or sought out as actual Pokemon character cards.

2. Rarity

The first thing that you want to have a look at is the symbol at the bottom right of the card. You can find three types of symbols:

  • Circle: Common cards
  • Diamond: Uncommon cards
  • Star: Rare cards

Common cards had thousands of prints and can be found in the majority of packs. Uncommon cards are more rare than common cards but are still widely available. However, rare cards are what collectors are really interested in, especially rare (first edition – more on that later) holographic cards.

3. Condition

Another thing that’s extremely important to take into consideration is the condition of the card. Now there are a lot of things to have a look at and here are a few of those things, from front to back.

Front

Here are some things to look for with regards to condition on the front of the card. The absence or existence of things can either reduce or increase the value of your card:

  • Dents, dings, scratches
  • Grime, dirt
  • Whiting around the edges, bent edges
  • Other signs of heavy play

If you have a holographic card, also be sure to look for scratches in the holo image of the card, lifting of the holographic foil, and sections where the holo part of the card shows through outside of the areas where it should. If you see these things this will reduce the value of the card.

Back

You also want to look at the back of the card. If you don’t see much white spots around your card then your card’s going to be worth more money. If you have a couple white spots, yes it’s still going to be worth something, but of course the less white spots around the card, the better, because that means your card has less play and is in better condition.

Just like on the front, you also want to have a look at the scratches on the back of the card. One way that you can do this is hold your card up to the light and try to shine it in the light to see if you see any dents, scratches, dirt, or grime – anything that could lower the value of your card.

4. Shape

Another thing that you want to be sure of with your card is that the shape is flat. If your Pokemon card is flat, that’s awesome. Sometimes people carried them around in the back of their pocket and they got beaten and bent up. You do not want to have a card that’s all bent up and crooked so just hold your card up and see how flat it is. You want to make sure that it’s a nice and flat card.

5. Centring

Serious collectors always consider centering as another very important criteria when evaluating Pokemon card value. When you look at your card you want to make sure that the image fits well within the yellow box around the card, and that it is well centred on both sides. The same for the Pokemon art if you are looking at a character card.

Some people like to collect misprints, which can increase the value of your card. But in most cases, and especially with regards to the base set Charizard, collectors want well-centered cards.

6. Proxies

Proxies, also known as fakes, fake cards or bootlegged cards are definitely something else you want to have a look out for. Some of the proxies or the fake cards were smaller in size compared to original cards. They were also purple on the back instead of blue. Most often they are thinner than real cards and this is easy to verify by holding the card up to light – if you can see through to the back of the card, it may be fake.

So just have a look at your card and make sure it isn’t actually an official card. If you purchased your card from an authentic card seller, like a local game store back in the day, then you can be more sure it’s real. If you made trade that was too good to be true it in a back-alley, you may want to look into how authentic your card is.

7. Set

Another important thing to look at is this set that you have in hand. In order to determine what set a card is from, have a look at the symbol next to the character box on your card. For example, in the video above are featured a Rocket card, Jungle set card, and a Fossil set card. Cards from different sets can be worth more or less depending on how sought the set is.

8. Year

On of the most popular (and oldest) sets is the English-version original print Pokemon base set from 1999. This set had a couple different print runs, but the one collectors are specifically looking for are the shadowless cards (more on that later in the article). So definitely check the year that your cards came out.

If you have a card from 1999, in some cases, those cards will be worth more to collectors because they are part of the older collection. So check the bottom of the card to see the year it was made.

9. Print – “Shadowless”

Shadowless cards have to do with the original base set from 1999, so skip this section if you do not have a base-set card. To know if you have a base set card, look at the year. If it’s a 1999 card, it could be a base set.

The second thing that you want to have a look at is the symbol. These cards did not have a symbol on them. And then the other thing that you want to look at if you have a base set card so one of the first cards that were printed. You want to see if it’s shadowless or not.

The later print run of these cards had a shadow around the character box (the image of the Pokémon), whereas the very first prints did not. And so the original print, the shadowless cards that do not have a dark area around the character box, are the cards that are worth more money.

And so, the cards that have nos shadow are commonly known as “shadowless” cards. Now of course if you’re going to buy a Charizard from the base set, you definitely want to make sure it doesn’t have a shadow. Shadowless Charizards are worth more money.

10. Edition

Since we’re on the topic of the first cards that came out, let’s have a look at the edition of your card. If you see a “First Edition” symbol on your card, that’s really cool! Those cards are worth more money. First edition cards are cards that are part of the first print run of a series which makes them worth more.

Just keep in mind that if you have a first edition base-set Machamp, sorry to break the news, but everyone does. This card was always printed as a first edition card so although the card is rare, first edition Machamp cards are very common and therefore worth less than if they actually were rare.

11. Errors

The next thing you want to have a look at is to see if your card is an error card. There are so many different really cool errors that you an find on your cards. Here are some examples:

  • HP Error
  • Length / Length Error
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Translation errors

The most famous error card is by far the Red Cheek Pikachu. If you think you may have an error card, definitely watch the video above. We demonstrate these errors, show examples and more!

12. Specials

Now, let’s talk a little bit more about special cards. If you have one of these types of cards, it may be worth more than a regular card due to their specialty. Special cards include:

  • Promo cards
  • Autographed cards
  • Pre-release cards

A lot of promo cards were given out at events, may that be at the movies or at Pokemon tournaments. Some cards are also stamped with “Pre-release” and there’s also autographed cards which are highly collectible. These cards are most often been signed by the artist that created the art on the Pokemon card. Generally their name is at the bottom of the card.

13. Language

Language definitely is a consideration when it comes to evaluating Pokemon card value. If your card is in English, it will probably be worth more than any other language, including Japanese. The reason is collectibility.

Even if your cards are in Japanese they’re not really that sought out by collectors. Although these cards look super cool and definitely have a nostalgic feel to them, most collectors are looking for English cards.

14. Grading

If you are reading this article, your card probably isn’t graded yet. But, armed with the knowledge you now have, you may want to get it officially traded if you think it’s worth it! If you have a first edition, rare, holographic card in mint condition, it could be worth sending it out to get it PSA graded.

The PSA is a “Professional Sports Authenticator and it’s the largest most trusted third party trading card authentication and grading company in the world” (source). The PSA is a great place to get your cards graded but of course that costs money, so you want to be sure that before you send your card off to the PSA to get it officially graded.

If you have a card that is worth grading, you definitely want to have it graded before selling it on eBay for example because in most cases it will sell for more.

How Much is Your Pokemon Card Worth?

Pokemon card price values range from $0.05 to over $200,000 and the final price depends on factors such as rarity, condition, shape centring, proxies, type, set, year, print, edition, errors, language, and grading. In the end, a card is worth how much someone is willing to pay for it.

We just had a look at a number of factors that can come into play to know the value of a Pokemon card, but here are some places where you can find how how much a card similar to yours is selling for today!

eBay

1. Head over to ebay.com and look up the card that you have in your hand. Let’s imagine we have a shadowless Charizard card. Now you may notice that some of the cards that come out in search are already PSA graded. If your card is not yet graded, head over to the PSA Website and try to evaluate where your card would fit in their grading system.

Of course you never know what grade your card would get until you actually get it officially graded. Never say that your card is PSA graded on eBay or other auction sites if it’s not.

2. If you do not have a first edition card, eliminate first edition cards from the search results by adding a “-” or a minus sign to your search. For example, you may want to add some of these terms to your search:

-ed -edition -proxy -1st -PSA -BGS -Booster -Set -SGC

3. The next thing you want to have a look at are cards that recently sold. So head over to “Show Only” at the bottom left-hand of the search on the page, and click on “Sold items”. Now you can see cards that recently sold.

4. This is a great way to know how much your card is actually worth because this is what people really actually paid for that card very recently. Now of course we just had a look at 14 different things that come into play when you want to evaluate the value of your Pokemon card, so when you’re looking at a card on eBay, you definitely want to click on it to view the condition of the card before you compare it to your own card.

Keep in mind that cards are not yet officially graded aren’t worth as much money as cards that are already officially graded by the PSA for example. The reason for that is that it costs money to get it graded, and someone who actually buys this won’t be absolutely sure that the card is in the condition that the seller says it is in. By having a card officially graded by a third party, is a good way for a buyer to know that they’re actually buying a card that is worth the value that they’re paying for it.

Others

eBay is my favorite place to have a look at the value of Pokemon cards, but there’s other places where you could get more information. For example TGC Player is another place where you can find information about the value of Pokemon cards and how much they are selling for at the moment.

You may also want to consider private auctions. For example, Iconic Auctions is where the most expensive Charizard card sale has taken place to date with a total sales price of over $200,000 (source).

Another cool place to find out the value of your Pokemon cards is pokemonprice.com. What I really like about the site is that they show the evolution of the value of PSA graded cards over time.

Is Charizard Really Worth $200,000?

The recent buzz around the original Pokemon cards has a lot of people wondering if the Charizard card is really worth money. The most sought out Pokémon card by collectors is the first edition shadowless base set Charizard in PSA 10 Pristine Mint condition, which recently sold for a total sales price of over $200,000. There are around 50 of these cards in circulation.

But is the card really worth that much money? The price has greatly varied over time. The average sales price for the base set shadowless first edition PSA 10 Charizard card was $20,000 a couple years ago (source), but it sold for $40,000 in private auction 2019 (source), and more recently sold for a world record price of over $200,000 in 2020 (source).

There is one card that is considered one step above the first edition shadowless base set Charizard in PSA 10 Pristine Mint condition. The “Crown Jewel” version of this card is the Beckett Pristine 10, and according to Gary, who is one of the worlds biggest Pokemon Card collectors and holds the only two of thee cards available in the world, it was worth “in the rage of $50.000 to $100,000.” He said that back in 2017 on Pawn Stars (below), the value has greatly increased since then.

The market has definitely been seeing a rising pique in interest and different factors are currently influencing the market. Here are some of them:

  • More and more people are interested in the hobby
  • More high profile YouTubers are collecting: Logan Paul, Piewdiepie…
  • High profile celebrities are collecting: Gary Vee, Justin Bieber, Logic…
  • The 25th Pokemon Anniversary is in 2021

Check out the video below for an example of how I apply these criteria as I evaluate the value of a Charizard card!

Related Questions

Why is the value of Pokemon cards going up?

The value of Pokemon cards are going up for a number of reasons including the fact that more and more people are interested in collecting Pokemon cards, high profile YouTubers and celebrities are collecting the cards (ex. Logan Paul, Gary Vee, Justin Bieber, Logic) and the 25th Pokemon Anniversary is coming up in 2021.

How do I know if my Pokemon cards are worth money?

You can estimate the value of your Pokemon cards based on rarity, condition, shape, centring, proxies, type, set, year, print, edition, errors, language, and grading. To get the most recent sales price of similar condition cards to yours, view recent sales on eBay and other auction sites.

How much do Pokemon cards sell for?

Pokemon cards sell for between $0.05 to over $200,000. How much a card is worth depends on a number of factors including rarity, condition, shape, centring, proxies, type, set, year, print, edition, errors, language, and grading. In the end, the value of a card will depend on how much someone is willing to pay for it.

Why is Charizard card so expensive?

The Charizard card is so expensive because it is the most sought out Pokémon card by collectors. More specifically, the 1999 shadowless base set first edition PSA 10 card which recently sold at a private auction for a total sales price of over $200,000. There are around 50 of these cards in circulation.

Where can I sell my Pokemon cards for money?

You can sell your Pokemon cards in a variety of different places which may include online: eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, auction sites, Pokemon card sites; or offline at private auctions, pawn shops, local video game or card and comic collector stores, or even to friends.

Which Pokemon cards are worth money?

The Pokemon cards that are worth the most money are first edition holographic shadowless base set cards from the 1999 original series. These include Charizard, Blastoise, Alakazam, Venusar and Chansey. They are worth more money once they are graded by a third party like the PSA.

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