How to determine the value of your Pokemon cards

Rummage through your garage or game closet and find those old decks because here’s how to find the value of your Pokémon cards.


Pokémon is consistently one of the most popular trading card games in the world. However, most of the fun doesn’t come from tournaments, but rather from trying to track down and collect the rarest Pokémon cards. Pokémon has become as much a collector’s hobby as it is a game, and the hardest-to-find cards can sell for thousands of dollars. The standard process for determining a Pokémon card value consists of identification and price research.

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How to identify the rarest Pokemon cards

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The first step in determining if you have a Pokemon card that could be worth some serious cash is to look at the icon in the lower-right corner. A circle indicates the card is common. A diamond tells you that a card is unusual. Finally, a star or letter “R” means the card is rare and has the greatest potential to have significant value. Some of the rarest Pokémon cards have limited editions or special variations in their designs. Pokémon cards worth examining can have a holographic finish, while reverse holographic cards are holographic, with the exception of the character image above. Ultra-rare cards are the hardest to find, and often contain “ex” or “Prime” in the card’s name.

How a Pokémon card’s condition affects its value

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As with most collectibles, especially trading cards, condition seriously affects how much the rarest Pokémon cards are worth. Mint Pokémon cards have no notable flaws and look like they just pulled out of packs. Cards in near mint condition may have small nicks or chips along the corners and edges, or slight surface scratches. Other card conditions are lightly played, moderately played, heavily played, and damaged. The most damaged cards may have cracks or surface creases that dramatically reduce the Pokémon card’s value. If you’ve spotted a rare card in near mint or mint condition, it may be worth sending it to a large grading company like PSA, who will rate its condition on a scale of 1 to 10. Although expensive, tiering can preserve cards’ health, and many of the record-breaking sales are ultra-rare Pokemon cards in high tiers.

How to find raw Pokemon diamonds

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Even after determining a Pokémon card’s rarity, some limited edition cards may only be worth a few dollars, while others have sold for $10,000 or more. Fortunately, there are many price guides and search engines available to better narrow down the value of a Pokémon card. Static pricing guides can struggle to keep up with rapidly changing demand for specific cards and general market trends. eBay is one of the most popular places to find actual retail prices for even the rarest Pokémon cards. Completed item searches can show sales that are 90 days old. Terapeak is a more powerful search engine that eBay makes available free of charge to anyone who sells at least one item. This research tool tracks Pokémon card sales over the past year. Other search engines like Card Ladder charge subscription fees but offer a massive database of eBay sales dating back to the early 2000s.

How to keep track of your Pokémon collection

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Just because one of your rare Pokémon cards isn’t in high demand right now doesn’t mean it won’t be even more sought after in the years to come. Today, thanks to apps from hobbyists like TCGPlayer, it’s easier than ever to browse through large Pokémon card collections. With phone cameras, you can scan your rarest Pokémon cards, identify them and save them in lists, and even see retail prices for cards you own. Keep in mind that the thrill often lies in the hunt, and it can take a lot of patience before you stumble upon your personal Holy Grail of Pokémon cards.

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