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Appraising Pokémon Cards


Whether you’re new to collecting Pokémon cards or you’ve been trying to catch ‘em all since the late 90s, there are a few things you should know about this particular field of collectibles.

For starters, these cards are in the middle of a resurgence. This means the market for them is getting bigger. As with every trading card market, some Pokémon cards are more valuable than others. You’re going to need to know how to identify these cards. Once you do, you’ll need to know how much they’re worth if you plan on selling or trading them. Here’s where we come in.

Each Pokémon card is littered with symbols and markings. Some of these symbols can serve as value indicators. Those indicators are as follows.

1.The folks at Pokémon did collectors everywhere a favor by specially marking their cards with rarity indicators. They are symbols located on the bottom right side of the cards (note the arrows in the image below).

 Interpret these symbols as follows:

  • Circle cards are common, and likely not worth much (if anything at all).

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  • Diamonds mean “uncommon.” Although, these cards aren’t particularly difficult to come across. Most diamond cards aren’t valuable, with the exception of some printed before 1999 and others before 2000; those can be quite valuable.

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  • Stars are rare. Cards with 3 stars, or a star accompanied by a letter are especially rare.

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2. Holographic cards are potentially valuable, and also potentially not valuable. Your best bet when you encounter holographic cards is to check with a collectibles professional for some more information. However, if you see any of the other indicators on this list along with the hologram, you might have a little Pokémon treasure on your hands.

There are three kinds of holographic Pokémon cards. They are:

  • Holo cards (shiny behind the artwork)

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  • Reverse Holo (shiny everywhere AROUND the artwork, but the artwork is not shiny)

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  • Holo border (only borders are holographic)

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3. Pokémon cards come in sets. The number of cards in the set that a given card belongs to is on the bottom right hand corner of that card. Collector numbers are also found at the bottom of the cards. The set number and collector numbers appear together in the form of a fraction. The numerator is the collector number and the denominator is the number of cards in that set. See the Electabuzz below. Look in the bottom right corner and you’ll find “128/127.” This number means that the Electabuzz is the 128th card in a set of 127. How can that be?

No one knows…But when you see a numerator that is higher than the denominator, or a collector number that is higher than a set number, you have a card that’s likely worth at least something

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Here at Sportsamerica Sports Cards, we specialize in the Pokémon collectible market. If you’re looking to add to your deck, check out our selection of Pokémon decks. 

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